'You Treat Me Like a Baby,' Whines an Infantile Donald Trump Before Firing Manafort
A new book is shedding some light on the inner workings of Donald Trump's presidential campaign. And it isn't pretty. Journalist Joshua Green's account of the Trump campaign focuses heavily on his relationship with campaign advisor, and Breitbart News boss, Steve Bannon. Bannon was later hired to serve Trump in the White House as his strategic advisor. The book's title, Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency, says a lot about the nature of Bannon's odious influence.
The publisher's description of the book's contents evokes an unprecedented incursion of far-right fringe politics into the mainstream of the Republican Party. It casts Bannon as "a bomb-throwing pugilist who’d never run a campaign and was despised by Democrats and Republicans alike." Here's more:
"From the reporter who was there at the very beginning comes the revealing inside story of the partnership between Steve Bannon and Donald Trump—the key to understanding the rise of the alt-right, the fall of Hillary Clinton, and the hidden forces that drove the greatest upset in American political history."
Excerpts from the book are already beginning to leak into the media. They tell us something about the volatile, profane character of Trump, and his hair-trigger temperament. That’s something he shares with Bannon who, at one point, lambasted House Speaker Paul Ryan as "a limp-d**k motherf**ker." But some of the most hostile rhetoric was reserved for Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.
According to Green, there were episodes when Trump would fly off the handle due to some negative press. On one occasion a story revealed the turmoil behind the campaign's closed doors. "How can anybody allow," Trump yelled at Manafort, "an article that says your campaign is all f----- up?" On another occasion, Trump was upset at reports that some of his team were frustrated that they could not get him to listen. They told reporters that they had to book interviews on television in order to get the TV-obsessed candidate's attention. This led to an outburst by Trump aimed directly at Manafort:
"Am I like a baby to you? I sit there like a little baby and watch TV and you talk to me? Am I a f---ing baby, Paul?"
Ironically, Trump's tantrum was proving the accuracy of the criticism he was complaining about. It wasn't long after that that Manafort was fired. And even that was an ordeal reminiscent of a soap opera. Trump's son-in-law and consigliere, Jared Kushner, informed Manafort that he was "going to have to go." Manafort was resistant, complaining that a resignation would make it "look like I'm guilty." But Kushner persisted and told Manafort that a press release would be going out in minutes announcing his resignation.
The book promises to be as exciting and erratic as the characters it profiles. It would make a great cinematic thriller. Unfortunately, the plot does not make for a great presidency. It certainly doesn't do anything to make America great again. But it does underscore the danger of putting a paranoid narcissist with no experience in the White House. And it reinforces the dire necessity of removing Trump from office before he does even more damage.