Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie in Let Trump Be Trump: The Inside Story of His Rise to the Presidency (2017) documents what Homi Bhabha writes: "The narrative of the West unravels in its telling." Lewandowski and Bossie's tale of "the Boss" and his errant behavior reminds of the short story, The Hair Cut by Ring Lardner. The narrator thinks the bully and his bullying behavior in the tale makes him a hero; but the customer listening knows that the bully is a villain. Listening to Let Trump Be Trump on CD, I had to grit my teeth.
I was glad to find out that I was right about Donald Trump being very superstitious--surrounding himself with gold for "good luck." Lewandowski and Bossie write that you might not know it from looking at him, but Donald Trump is one of the most superstitious men that most people have ever met. Sometimes, he'll throw salt over his shoulder before he eats. He called Fox and Friends every Monday morning during the primaries because he didn't want to change a winning routine. And he belies that some people, usually ones with low energy, carry bad luck and need to be avoided at all cost.
If you worked for Mr. Trump, you knew there were certain rules. We were never allowed to celebrate before a win was certain, and we always had to take our losses with grace. Anything else and you'd invite in some bad juju. It's the reason that come election night we didn't have a victory speech--or a concession speech--written ahead of time.
"Don't jinx me," Mr. Trump would say.
Who knows? Maybe it's adhering to all these little rules and rituals that kept Donald J. Trump in such good standing with the universe all these years. Like Midas, he's turned everything he's touched into gold: real estate, hotels, publishing, television, and now politics, [and avoidance of the Emolument Clause]. Still sometimes it astounds us both--the way it baffled the media and half the American electorate for so long--that Donald Trump and this ragtag band of outsiders, misfits, and political neophytes was able to pull off the biggest electoral upset in American political history. Then again, as the boss always reminded us, we had the best candidate to ever put his name on a ballot.
HAS TRUMP'S LUCK RUN OUT KARMA?
Lewandowski and Bossie write that by the second general election debate, held on October 9, 2016 at Washington University in St. Louis, the polls had us down six to seven points on average, and Nate Silver, another real genius, had Hillary with an 86 percent chance of winning the election. Unfortunately for us, those polls had been taken before the release of the Access Hollywood tape.
We arrived in St. Louis early the afternoon before the debate against Hillary. Though the boss had brought up the idea in his tweets and press interviews when he said he was going to invite Jennifer flowers to sit next to Mark Cuban at the debate, pulling the trigger on the scheme in St. Louis was all Steve Bannon's doing.
Dave [Bossie] knew the Clinton scandals better than anyone. After serving as the chief congressional investigator in the '90s, looking into campaign-finance abuses by Bill Clinton, he had become an expert on the voluminous lies and misdeed of the Clinton family. At Citizens United, he chronicled them in books and movies thinking it important to inform American voters about the danger that Bill and Hillary posed to American politics. His documentary Hillary: The Movie, produced in 2008, the film which his famed Citizens United Supreme Court case had arisen, was the latest volume on her. By the time he met Donald Trump, his head was practically an encyclopedia of Clinton scandals, though he felt that his days of tapping into it were behind him. It's an odd feeling to have expended so much film and ink on one person, only to see her keep smashing her way back into the limelight.
Still, no one was more certain than Dave that Hillary's Achilles' heel was her husband's past.
The ballroom was set with one long table covered with a green tablecloth, behind which sat four middle-aged women: Juanita Broaddrick, who claimed Bill Clinton raped her in 1978; Kathleen Willey, who accused then-President Clinton of sexually assaulting her in the White House; and Paula Jones, the plaintiff in the 1994 sexual harassment case against Clinton during which Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky was uncovered. Clinton settled the case with Jones for $850,000. The fourth woman was Kathy Shelton. When Shelton was twelve, she told police that a forty-one-year-old man named Tom Taylor had raped her. Hillary Clinton, then Hillary Rodham, was appointed the man's attorney and defended him in court. Ms. Shelton believed that Hillary went out of her way to besmirch her character, calling her "emotionally unstable" and characterizing her as having a tendency to fantasize about older men.
All it took to get these women there were a few phone calls and plane tickets. We put the women in one of the SUVs in the motorcade and drove to the event. Steve [Bannon] told Dave [Bossie] to call George Gigicos to tell the debate commission that they were going to seat Kathy, Paula, Juanita, and Kathleen in the VIP (family) box, which would have been right near Bill Clinton and directly in Hillary's line of sight.
Frank Fahrenkopf and Mike McCurry protested.
"I will get security and yank them out of there," Fahrenkopf said.
"How about if Mr. Trump just walks them to the seats on national TV?" Dave said to George.
In the end, Fahrenkopf and McCurry got their way, and the women sat in the front row of the audience seating. The tone was set. One photograph from that night captured Bill Clinton facing forward and looking sideways at the women.
Staff from both camps greeted that the candidates would not shake hands at the start. The mood was ugly on both Hillary's and the boss's part. Mrs. Clinton did bring up the Access Hollywood tape, she had to, but her assessment of it was timid.
This opened the door for the boss to go on a full frontal attack on Bill Clinton. "What he did to women, there's never been anybody in the history of politics in this nation who's been so abusive to women," Trump began. What followed was a greatest hits reel of Clinton's transgressions and the cost of them, including losing his license to practice law, an $850,000 fine, and being impeached.
"I will tell you that when Hillary brings up a point like that," the boss said, "she talks about words that I said eleven years ago, I think it's disgraceful."
Game, set match.
In hour one of Here & Now's March 26, 2018 full broadcast, Washington Post reporter Emma Brown joins us to discuss the adult film actress known as Stormy Daniels saying in her "60 Minutes" interview Sunday night she was threatened if she didn't stay silent about her alleged affair with Donald Trump. Also, in a time of deep divisions, changes are being proposed at one federal agency that aims to heal those divisions and broker compromise. We talk with the former director of the Department of Justice's Community Relations Service about its future, and ways to find common ground. And The Atlantic's Derek Thompson tells us about the latest privacy controversy to envelop Facebook: users discovering that the company has been collecting text message and phone call data from their Android devices. You can read and hear more at hereandnow.org, follow us on Twitter and join the conversation on Facebook and Tumblr.
This program aired on March 26, 2018. http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2018/03/26/march-26-2018-hn-one
This image released by CBS News shows Stormy Daniels, left, during an interview with Anderson Cooper which will air on Sunday, March 25, 2018, on "60 Minutes." (CBS News/60 Minutes via AP)
With Anthony Brooks
Adult film star Stormy Daniels talks to 60 Minutes about her alleged affair with President Trump before he was in office. We're looking at why it matters.
This show airs Monday at 10 a.m. EST.
David Folkenflik, NPR media correspondent. (@davidfolkenflik)
Meredith Blake, staff writer at the Los Angeles Times. (@MeredithBlake)
Stephen Spaulding, chief of strategy and external affairs, Common Cause. (@steveespaulding)
From The Reading List:
Los Angeles Times: How Stormy Daniels' candor and humor in her '60 Minutes' interview ... — "After weeks of frenzied speculation, Stormy Daniels finally made landfall Sunday on "60 Minutes." And if the adult film star's interview with Anderson Cooper appeared to be less catastrophic than some had hoped (or feared) — it was more a nasty squall than a Category 5 hurricane — the full extent of the damage might not be known for some time."
CNN: After Stormy's Big Interview, Trump Faces The Storm Alone -- "A primetime dish by Stormy Daniels about her alleged affair with Donald Trump is a reminder that there are some things even a president can't control."
New Yorker: What We Learned From Stormy Daniels On 60 Minutes -- "As Stephanie Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels, told the story to Anderson Cooper on “60 Minutes” on Sunday night, she was heading into a fitness class in Las Vegas one day in 2011, with her infant daughter in tow—'taking, you know, the seats facing backwards in the back seat, diaper bag, you know, getting all the stuff out'—when a man she didn’t know walked up to her. Clifford said that she remembered the man saying, 'Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.'"
What did we learn from Stormy Daniels’ 60 Minutes interview last night? The porn star says she spanked the man who would be president before having sex with him. But there were also more serious charges of a cover-up and a threat. Then there’s Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who paid her off to stay quiet who’s already attracted the attention of special counsel Robert Mueller.
This hour, On Point: Stormy Daniels versus Donald Trump.
This program aired on March 26, 2018. http://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2018/03/26/stormy-daniels-speaks-out