“No man can climb out beyond the limitations of his own character”
– John, Viscount Morley
Character counts most, especially in leaders.
I started collecting memorable quotes in my early teens. The above quote is one of my favorite quotes, because it goes to the heart of human character. Along with collecting quotes, watching people and trying to figure out what makes them tick (how they operate) is another life-long hobby, of sorts. Often, even as a child, I would point out something someone said or did that made me distrust that person. My mother had a very trusting nature and wanted to believe in the best in people. I, on the other hand, prefer to assess what people say and do, to get to the heart of their character.
President Donald J. Trump is not a hapless, naive victim and the darkening clouds around his presidency aren’t just angry #Resist partisans out to do him in. The darkening clouds are caused by how Trump operates.
Even if Comey is a disgruntled former employee, a grandstander, acted totally inappropriately in leaking his memos or going along with Lynch on using Clinton talking points language and his July 5, 2016 public statement exonerating Hillary Clinton, that still leaves us with Trump asking Comey to publicly clear his name several times and having 9 private conversations with Comey – all of them about the Russian influence matter.
There are Republicans and Trump supporters hitting the media with a barrage about this being a partisan “witch-hunt”, which it most assuredly is, but it’s also just like with the Clintons, that Trump acted in ways that give every appearance of being very corrupt. Democrats have been willing to sacrifice every shred of honor to go out and spin and do damage control for the Clintons for decades. It now appears that many Republicans are willing to do the same thing for President Trump and partisan political purposes.
The Republican Party allowed its party to be hijacked by Trump and his strong-armed, tough-talking thugs, turning this election into some “do or die” civil war, where Trump was the “GOP Insurgent”, who was America’s last hope. How low Republicans and conservatives will sink to prop up Trump remains to be seen.
All along, I have refused to support Trump, because I believe he is just like the Clintons – amoral and thoroughly corrupt. I noted early in his presidency how corrupt it was for the president to personally be making business deals using the Office of the President as leverage. He not only made deals, he publicly disparaged some companies, using the Office of the President to damage private businesses. Back during the primary, in August of 2015, I wrote:
“The first Republican debate ended with no clear winner emerging. Sure, there were plenty of gotcha questions, but Donald Trump didn’t answer any questions in detail, except the one explaining his support for Democrats in the past. His followers will latch onto his bombastic, red meat, xenophobic rhetoric, missing that Trump personifies exactly what these supporters hate about Washington. He eloquently described buying politicians and peddling influence. He represents the worst part of big money greasing palms in DC. I would have asked him why he wanted Hillary Clinton at his wedding, since he said his big donations compelled her to attend.
Nothing Trump said demonstrated he studied the issues and did some research prior to this debate. His performance reminded me of Sarah Palin, who reveled in throwing out the same sort of red meat rhetoric, devoid of any substantive details. If he doesn’t bother to read up on and research the complex issues facing America for this debate, one can only wonder how he would handle them as President. It speaks to a narcissism that echoes the current occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, another “I am the greatest” ego.”
Shortly after this LB blog post, in August 2015, there was the Trump/Kelly debate dust-up:
“Last week I bought one of Trump’s books, as I mentioned before, and I read it. Assuredly, Trump offered many interesting insights into, as the book’s title stated, “TRUMP: How to Get Rich”. The pride he takes in his children comes across and he offers some worthwhile advice on investing and negotiating, but trying to get to the character of who exactly is Donald Trump, well, he’s a man who has chapters in his book like “Be Strategically Dramatic”, “Sometimes You Still Have To Screw Them”, and “Sometimes You Have To Hold a Grudge”, replete with examples from his life and his guiding principles. Here are some quotes (page 138):
“When somebody hurts you, just go after them as viciously and as violently as you can. Like it says in the Bible, an eye for an eye.”
Be paranoid. I know this observation doesn’t make any of us sound very good, but let’s face the fact that it’s possible that even your best friend wants to steal your spouse and your money.”
The chapter on holding a grudge is even more interesting, because Trump relates how for years he had donated huge amounts of money to NY governor, Mario Cuomo and when he called Cuomo to ask for a favor from Cuomo’s son, Andrew, who was running the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Mario Cuomo refused to do the favor (which Trump doesn’t explain in detail other than to say it was an appropriate favor involving attention to a detail). Trump blew up and for any who are confused with Trump’s vendetta against Megyn Kelly on Twitter, calling her a bimbo last night or his refusing to entertain a question by Jorge Ramos from Univision this evening, well, this chapter on holding a grudge (page 142) explains it. Trump called in a political favor believing it was owed to him, because he donated a lot of money to Mario Cuomo (crony capitalism is what most people call this greasing of palms). Here is how Trump describes the phone call:
“I did the only thing that felt right to me. I began screaming. “You son of a bitch! For years I’ve helped you and never asked for a thing, and when I finally need something, and a totally proper thing at that, you aren’t there for me. You’re no good. You’re one of the most disloyal people I’ve known and as far as I’m concerned, you can go to hell.”
My screaming was so loud that two or three people came in from adjoining offices and asked who I was screaming at. I told them it was Mario Cuomo., a total stiff, a lousy governor, and a disloyal former friend. Now whenever I see Mario at dinner, I refuse to acknowledge him, talk to him, or even look at him.”
When you hear Trump whining about being treated unfairly, here’s what I believe he means: If you agree with him, fawn over him and puff up his ego, that’s treating him fairly. If you disagree or criticize him, I believe, he will wage an all out campaign to destroy you. So, I keep wondering how his character will play in the long, arduous rough and tumble of presidential politics, where being ripped apart by opposition research, pundits and reporters only escalates as the campaign wears on”
The most disturbing aspects of Trump’s retaliation against Kelly were his supporters running hit pieces about her, digging up her Howard Stern interview to cast her as a “slut” and he called Roger Ailes to try and get her booted as a debate moderator. Trump encouraged his followers not to watch FOX News. Later, Trump refused to show up for a FOX debate, set-up a vet fundraiser, to try and upstage the debate and then months later, controversy arose with how the funds raised in that vet fundraiser were handled.
Kelly was a private citizen and it worried me how Trump would use the power of the presidency, when he was willing to use his power as a celebrity and leading GOP presidential candidate to try to harm not only her job, but to rally his followers to attack her.
Preet Bharara, a former federal prosecutor, may be friends with Chuck Schumer, may be angry Trump fired him, but this morning he stated that President Trump called him 3 times in one month, 2 times before inauguration and 1 time after inauguration. Bharara said he refused to take the third call, when Trump was president and reported the contacts to the chief of staff to the Attorney General. These phone calls left an electronic trail and that Bharara reported these calls to the chief of staff to the Attorney General can be corroborated. Do I believe Bharara? Absolutely. Bharara felt like President Trump was trying to cultivate a relationship. The interesting thing to find out is if Trump called other federal prosecutors around the country, where he didn’t have “personal business interests”.
Bharara is well-known for his fight against public corruption.
Trump is known for bragging about buying politicians.
Yesterday, some of the most ardent Trump pundits were out in full-force trying to smear Robert Mueller too and this scorched earth character assassination is the same thing the Clintons and Democrats have engaged in to bury Clinton scandals. It is corrupt, immoral and extremely damaging to the country, because it corrupts American culture.
Whether Republicans are willing to give Mueller the Starr treatment remains to be seen.
Will Republicans make propping up President Donald J. Trump, the “GOP Insurgent” and extremely corrupt crony capitalist, the hill they die on?