Yesterday’s septuagenarian smackdown was just a prelude to the crazy that was March 22, 2018. Mark the day, it was when it became obvious that the president* has decided to entrust his political and legal fate as well as our national security to his gut impulses.
For the better part of the last month, Donald Trump has been winging it. His standoff with his chief of staff, John Kelly, appears to be resolved for the time being, with Trump having decided to return to the seat-of-the-pants decision-making that he believes won him the presidency. That doesn’t mean he has fully given up the idea of firing Kelly, though. One outside adviser to the White House said Trump has recently mulled the concept of creating a new West Wing structure without a chief of staff, one that would instead have four co-equal principals reporting directly to him. Trump seems to be loving his new freedom. “He was fucking excited and jubilant,” said one Trump friend who spoke to him in recent days. “He was like, everything’s great and these fuckers in the media are beside themselves.”
Everything’s great? Who knew? I certainly didn’t. This is what happens when the dumbest guy in the room thinks he the smartest.
All presidents live inside a bubble but for Trumpy to think everything’s great as the Mueller probe closes in, Stephanie/Stormy is slated to appear on 60 Minutes on Sunday, and he maniacally fires people is crazy even for him. The March madness mantra at the White House is let Trump be Trump.
John Dowd is out as Trump’s personal lawyer to be replaced by a married pair of Fox News contributors and the possible return of Marc Kasowitz. It’s the legal equivalent of going to the mattresses and preparing for a PR war against the Special Counsel and his crack team. In contrast, Trump’s team is full of crackpots. Believe me.
I’ll miss mocking Dowdy, which is why I’m posting this Separated at Birth-style tweet:
There’s nothing funny about Thursday’s other big news. The McMaster baiting finally ended and he was fired. His replacement is the war monger’s war monger, John Bolton. Trump purportedly decided not to give Bolton a job before this because he didn’t like his mustache. I am not making any of this up. I wish I were, but March madness is in the air.
The Bolton appointment is a reminder of how bad the Bush Junior administration was. Bolton and his mustache came to public prominence during the Beavis-Duce years. He was unconfirmable as UN ambassador and was given a recess appointment. At the UN, he alienated friends, poured gasoline on fires, and made Dick Cheney look like a peacenik.
Bolton has inverted the Churchillian aphorism to “better war, war, war than jaw, jaw, jaw.” He makes John McCain look like George McGovern.
Long-time readers know that I’m usually a glass half full kind of guy. The Bolton appointment makes that well-nigh impossible. Bolton never met a war that he didn’t like or a treaty that he didn’t want to tear up. The Iran nuclear deal is dead and war with Iran is more than just Bibi Netanyahu’s wet dream. It’s a possibility.
The Trump presidency* seems to have reached its Hitler in the bunker moment. It’s March madness on the Potomac writ large. The ascendancy of Bolton and Pompeo means that the country is fucked unless Trump decides to ignore their advice in the same way he’s ignored the so-called national security “grown-ups.” That means we’re subject to the whims of the Kaiser of Chaos, which is not a place any of us wants to be.
The last word goes to the usually calm national security/foreign policy writer Fred Kaplan: