The Susan Rice, Samantha Power and Michael Cohen autobiographies underscore the difference between Obama and Trump

Over the last week, while on vacation, I happened to read the autobiographies of Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and Michael D. Cohen.

  • Susan Rice, as most people know, was on Joe Biden’s short list for Vice-President.  A national security “Wunderkind,” she was a high-ranking national security official in the Clinton administration at a very young age, and was eventually the American Ambassador to the United Nations and the National Security Advisor in the Obama administration.
  • The Irish-born Samantha Power first became a war-correspondent and then wrote the Pulitzer-prize winning book “A Problem from Hell.”  She succeeded Susan rice as the American Ambassador to the United Nations under Obama.
  • Michael (Dean) Cohen, an attorney who made his millions trading in NYC taxi medallions, and who became Donald Trump’s “fixer” for about a decade before Trump threw him under the bus for helping to arrange the payoffs for Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels while Trump was running for President.

One of the things the Rice and Power autobiographies reminded me of is what a good human being Barack Obama was (and still is).  Regardless of what you think of his Presidency – and I think he was a good but not necessarily great President – the man is clearly a good human being. A very good human being. One can see that in all the little ways that his relationship to both Rice and Power grew, and how he supported them, and how they came to be important members of his administration.

And then we have Donald Trump.

Cohen’s book is interesting primarily for the detail he provides in illustrating how Trump operates, and what he was asked to do on Trump’s behalf.[1] One of the stories that I found telling was a story about the Doral Golf Club, which Trump acquired in February 2012 by purchasing it out of bankruptcy.[2] In any case, to save money, Trump directed the contractors repainting the Doral hotel to use the cheapest paint possible, which the contractors strongly advised against. When (sure enough) the paint did not stand up to the high volume use at the Doral Hotel, Trump demanded that Cohen “fix it” without ever acknowledging that he himself at been at fault for the choice of the paint. Cohen eventually browbeat the executives at Benjamin Moore, the manufacturer of the paint, for so long that the company provided enough paint to repaint the hotel for free.[3]

As Cohen makes patently clear, it is not that Trump couldn’t afford to pay his contractors, it’s that he could get away with not paying them. That was simply his way of doing business.[4]

By now it’s obvious that there are two groups that generally support Donald Trump:

  1. Traditional Republicans who like what he has achieved in lowering taxes, eliminating regulations, appointing conservative judges, and extricating the United States from international agreements, and who are willing to hold their nose to vote for him in order to achieve these policy results.
  2. Trump enthusiasts who support him because he is the “fuck you” President who gives it to the “libtards,” where (as one journalist recently wrote) the cruelty is the point.

For the Trump enthusiasts, it doesn’t matter what he does. They will support him until the end because “he hates the same people that they hate.” For traditional Republicans and the “how bad can he be” crowd,” some inroads have already been made and will likely continue to be made. At least so long as Trump does things like call the enlisted military “suckers” and “losers” and admits (to people like Bob Woodward on the record) that he straight out lied about how dangerous the coronavirus really is.[5]

I’ve said repeatedly and will continue to say that once Trump is out of office – it will either be in 2021 or 2025 – there will be an enormous reckoning for the Republican party. They are effectively losing an entire generation of voters. But the amount of damage Trump could do in the meantime is immeasurable. So it had better be now, this November, and 2021.

[1] Some Trump supporters don’t believe Cohen because he perjured himself before Congress on Trump’s behalf. I should point out, however, that once he chose to cooperate in the Mueller investigation, the attorneys there reported that everything that Cohen told them checked out, and they made a note of this in their report.

[2] Yes, my friends, this was an occasion where, instead of making something bankrupt, Trump actually purchased something which was already bankrupt.

[3] And yet, Trump still stiffed the paint contractors even though he had advised against the choice of paint. Eventually, a court in Miami ordered the Trump National Doral Miami to be foreclosed unless the Trump Organization paid $32,800 to a Miami paint supply company.

[4] I personally know the principals of an architectural provider that was stiffed by the Trump organization for the very same reason, which is that they could. This group chose not to sue Trump, as the costs of litigation were likely to outweigh the reward.

[5] Just a few days ago Trump’s CDC was outed for falsifying public health data in order to help the President’s re-election chances.

About a1skeptic

A disturbed citizen and skeptic. I should stop reading the newspaper. Or watching TV. I should turn off NPR and disconnect from the Internet. We’d all be better off.
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