Generals & Billionaires
Monday December 5, 2016
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It appears as if the President-elect is going to continue to be Donald J. Trump. From the Tweets he cranks out commenting on what he's seen on TV - often while he's watching what's on TV - to the random phone calls with foreign leaders, to his picks for major Cabinet positions.
On the latter, it seems to me that a pattern has emerged: The President-elect wants people who have been as successful in their professional careers as he has been in his.
When Trump said of Sen. John McCain in July 2015 at an event in Iowa:
"He's not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."
Putting aside the fact that we believed that was going to be the end of the Trump campaign, we now better understand what he meant. He can't accept - much less honor - failure.
Trump is astonishingly successful. He likes to associate himself with people he considers his peers - others who have been astonishingly successful. In business? A Billionaire. In the military? A flag officer. I assume there will be high-level appointees who are successful: writers - Pulitzer Prize winners; academics - Nobel Laureates; show business people - Emmy, Grammy, and Oscar winners (but not Tony awards. The cast and audience at "Hamilton" was mean to VP-elect Mike Pence).
Donald Trump's end-running the State Department by making and accepting calls from heads of state? Same thing. He will soon be their peer.
There have been rumors since the earliest days of the Trump campaign that once Trump got it in his head that someone was "low energy," their days in Trump Tower were numbered, usually in single digits.
The press will wring its collective hands at the announcement of just about every appointment - unless they are of and from Washington and, thus, known to the national press corp.
Trump's business interests have been problematic from the moment he announced his candidacy. As he has said time and time again, selling huge buildings and expensive golf course around the world isn't like calling your broker and selling off some stock.
Nevertheless, when he announced that his lawyers were working on a way to back away from running the Trump Organization and that he and his children would hold a press conference on December 15 to explain how they were going to do it.
Every news cycle since that has demanded details right now about how it is going to work. On top of that, tax experts have weighed in on how he might owe not millions, but billions of dollars in capital gains taxes if this isn't handled exactly right.
As we all know, the ethics laws that apply everyone from Cabinet officers to Deputy Junior Assistant Subordinated Secretary in the Department of Lawns and Gardens, do not apply to the President or Vice President of the United States.
So, Trump doesn't actually have to do anything but it is clear that every person who pays $2,000 for a ticket to a fundraiser and waits in line for an hour to get their photo taken with President Trump will be accused have done it to curry favor with the Trump Administration.
That's why anyone pays $2,000 for a ticket to a fundraiser but the business tentacles of a former Community Organizer do not have the reach of a billionaire developer.
I am in no position to pass judgement on the appointments the President-elect has made thus are or will - if the reporting is correct - he will make on Tuesday, but there is a certain dream-like quality to some of them.
Generals and Billionaires. Could be a new lyric for "Lookin' Out My Back Door"
Tambourines and elephants are playing in the band
Won't you take a ride on the flyin' spoon?
Doo, doo doo
Wond'rous apparition, provided by magician
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Of course, a link to Creedence Clearwater Revival's video of "Out My Back Door," also a link to that awful statement by Trump about Sen. John McCain and a graphic showing the current state of play in senior government picks.
Doo doo doo lookin' out my back door
The Mullfoto is another entry in the license plate gallery of Mullfotos.
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