tapped to fund the break-in to the Democratic National Committee headquarters (and the subsequent hush money to the burglars) came from his own donors; Trump, by contrast, sought to bankroll his effort to dig up dirt on the Bidens by appropriating nearly $400 million in Congress-mandated foreign aid paid for by taxpayers. And while the Nixon White House hired freelance bumblers to spy on the Democrats, Trump commandeered a cabal of Cabinet officers, diplomats, and Rudy Giuliani–recruited thugs to try to muscle the head of state of a foreign ally into doing his bidding.
His actions worked to Hitler’s advantage, and his “reputation was ruined.” His fitting permanent memorial is Lord Darlington, the fictional English aristocrat whose outreach to the Nazis and ensuing downfall are observed with a certain sorrow and pity by his butler, Stevens, in Kazuo Ishiguro’s classic novel The Remains of the Day.
The Silent Majority
Right after Trump was elected, there were a lot of guys who had this shocking moment. A friend of mine, a member of Congress, went home to a town-hall meeting, and a guy asks him, “Are you going to be with Mr. Trump 100 percent of the time?” And he goes, “Well, look, I support Donald Trump and I want to help him, and we agree on many things. But I represent this district. If there’s something the president wants to do and it’s good for us, we’re absolutely going to do it. If it’s something that’s bad for our district, I’m going to oppose it.”
A few months ago, there was a Republican elected official at a party at my home. He gets there, and there’s a conservative-leaning reporter. And the official absolutely loses his shit with me. He’s like, “Oh my God, I’m so fucked! He’s going to write about it.”
There’s a good degree of it that is just the vulgar nature of Trump — that he’s not of a conservative mien or affect. The belittling of people, the way he goes after people that he perceives are inferior or vulnerable. The comments about John McCain actually affected a lot more Republicans than they let on. But there’s also contempt that Trump doesn’t understand any of this. He doesn’t have any understanding of conservative economics or philosophy, but he is really great at playing the cop.
It’s dropped off since the midterms, but I still talk to somebody at least once a week. I spoke with someone who was at a White House event this spring, and this person stood there, did the whole “stand behind the president,” clap about his great accomplishments — and was literally on the phone with me in the car on the way out.
Of course. And you know what they say? “You’re absolutely right.”