Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Trump Game of Thrones

The first sign of this Machiavellian bullshit came during the early days of Donald John Trump's presidential campaign, months before he was nominated. From the very beginning the entire organization and crew seemed imbued with an aura which reeked of George R. R. Martin's blood drenched soap opera, "Game of Thrones."

At this point those early, formative, days of the new realm feel so long ago it's easy to forget that before there was Kellyanne Conway, Stephen Bannon, Stephen Miller, and even the wildly corrupt Paul Manafort, there was Corey Lewandowski.

Lewandowski signed on when Trump's entire campaign staff consisted of three, or four people. His arrival impressed the boss enough he was instantly named campaign manager. He quickly proved his worth by becoming a take no shit sort of guy--a Trumpian bully who personally manhandled members of the media and protesters alike. Trump credited him with orchestrating the primary win in New Hampshire, a victory which should have alerted us the orange guy's candidacy wasn't a joke and we should stop laughing. Despite the stunning victory, within a scant couple of months, Lewandowski was embroiled in a power struggle with Paul Manafort who had been hired in March that year. By June 2016 he was no longer associated with the Trump campaign. Manafort had won over the candidate's ear and Corey Lewandowski was nothing more than a C list panelist on cable news.

Of course, as Paul Manafort should have known, getting the job of Trump's campaign commander was much easier than keeping it. Especially with the likes of Stephen Bannon and Kellyanne Conway around. All those ties to the Russians, which seemed to be to his advantage were--thanks in large part to the media--turned to liabilities. In August, two months after his ascent to the campaign chair, he was out the door. His fall was so complete that not long ago, during Sean Spicer's daily song and dance, the press secretary referred to Manafort's presence and input during the campaign as, "brief and minor."

Michael Flynn, on the other hand, stayed throughout the campaign and the transition despite his kid, Mike Flynn Jr. The younger Flynn was so monstrous he was fired from the transition team because of his increasingly virulent and bizarre conspiracy theory social media posts. Think about it. Just how bat shit crazy do you have to be in order for Don Trump to think your tweets are out of bounds?

Flynn the elder was jettisoned from the administration after twenty plus days on the job. Lying to Mike Pence was simply a cheap excuse to fire him. It is now obvious people on the inside considered Flynn a dangerous loose cannon and his Russian connections questionable, or worse. At least that is what we are led to believe by administration sources. After Steve Bannon was removed from the NSC principals committee yesterday, administration sources claimed Bannon's main reason for being there was to, "guide and keep watch," over Michael Flynn. In other words spy on the National Security Advisor for the president. Now that Flynn is gone there is no reason, those same sources say, for Bannon to stay on the committee. Besides, according to them, he rarely went to the meetings anyway.

As always with this bunch it gets more complicated. Today there are reports which assert the administration is lying when it says Bannon's removal from the NSC committee isn't a demotion. At least one media source contends the president's chief political strategist initially demanded to remain a member of the group and went so far as to threaten to leave the White House if he wasn't allowed to. One school of thought--and it's only a rumor, although one which makes sense in this twisted world--is that Trump has become both wary and jealous of Bannon's influence and wants to reign him in. The story goes all those jokes about, "President Bannon" in the left wing media have bruised the great and fragile ego, gotten under El Don's notoriously thin skin.

The other working theory is Trump's son in law, Jared Kushner is the one who thinks Bannon has far too much juice and pulled the strings to get him off the committee. Whichever the case it would seem the White House is beginning to resemble a 21st century version of Elsinore.    

There is more that stretches out in far flung tangents. In early January, before the inauguration, Erik Prince, the founder and former CEO of Blackwater U.S.A. set up a meeting between himself and a few selected Russians in the Seychelles. At the meeting he presented himself as an, "unofficial," representative of the Trump administration. Prince's sister is Betsy DeVos who, at the time, was the nominee to become Secretary of Education. She ended up with the job thanks to a tie breaker vote by the vice president.

Finally, word is circulating there is a move within the White House to push Kellyanne Conway out the door. Given her lack of media credibility it is easy to speculate she might have become expendable in some eyes as soon as Ivanka Trump  became her dad's, "assistant," with an office in the west wing.

Yes, right now it appears the cranks in charge are far more interested in ridding themselves of internal enemies and increasing their power rather than running the nation. I suppose that's what we get for electing a man whose concept of governing comes directly from a television reality show.

For those of you wondering, that noise you hear is any number of presidents, republican and democrat, spinning in their graves.

Ladies and gentlemen, for obvious reasons, the bar is now open.


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