The king of chaos


Chris Hayes put together a must-watch mashup of how Donald Trump used his patented Trump University flim-flam to win the White House. Watch it here

The lawsuit against Trump University ended yesterday in a settlement for his victims:

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel ruled in favor of a $25 million settlement between President Trump and customers of his defunct Trump University, NBC reports. Trump and his lawyers reached a settlement shortly after the election; Trump did not admit to wrongdoing in the case, but nevertheless agreed to settle.

“This never was a university,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos last June. “The fraud started with the name of the organization. You can’t just go around saying this is the George Stephanopoulos Law Firm/Hospital/University without actually qualifying and registering, so it was really a fraud from beginning to end.”

One wonders how the rest of us can collect damages as victims of what was never a presidency. The sort of glitz and bamboozlement that worked for Trump in his business dealings is failing him horribly on the world stage. Leaders of world powers are not so easily bamboozled, Trump being the exception that proves the misrule. Trump’s poll numbers in his first 100 days have sunk lower than Obama’s lowest, and Obama is the president Trump seems most eager to best.

At Axios, Mike Allen writes:

President Trump brought his chaos-and-loyalty theory of management into the White House, relying on competing factions, balanced by trusted family members, with himself perched atop as the gut-instinct
decider. He now realizes this approach has flopped, and feels baffled and paralyzed by how to fix it, numerous friends and advisers tell us.


The chaos dimension has created far more chaos than anticipated. Come nightfall, Trump is often on the phone with billionaire, decades-long friends, commiserating and critiquing his own staff. His most important advisers are often working the phone themselves, trashing colleagues and either spreading or beating down rumors of turmoil and imminent changes.

This has created a toxic culture of intense suspicion and insecurity. The drama is worse than what you read.

Neal Gabler admits he, like many others, got Trump wrong. While Trump may dsiplay the style of fascist leaders and have the temperament, he lacks the skills:

It’s not Trump’s ability to marshal the forces of repression that should terrify us. It’s his inability to marshal forces to conduct even the most basic governance. Trump really is a presidential Joker. He knows how to wreak havoc, but he doesn’t seem to know how to do, or seem to want to do, much else.

The threat from Trump isn’t fascism, Gabler believes, but anarchy. From an anarchist leading anarchists, in fact. Exhibit A: the Republican insurance plan that was doomed to fail:

Just think about it for a moment. The Republican replacement was really a non-insurance bill, by which I mean it flew in the face of the most fundamental principle of insurance — the healthy pay for those who aren’t. It is the sort of community of interest that is anathema to conservatives who believe it is every man for himself.

The upshot is that you cannot have “conservative” insurance. It isn’t tenable. When you have freedom of choice with every person getting to choose whether to be insured or not, and with those who are insured getting to choose what they want to have covered, you do not have a viable insurance system. You have anarchy. Anarchy was built right into the Republican plan.

Built in because it was never a plan at all. Like Trump, Republicans never had any interest in one. But huge tax cuts for the already rich is a hill they will die on.

When you come down to it, Republicans are really anarchists dedicated to undermining government in the furtherance of an economic state of nature where the rich rule. What we saw these past few weeks was not the failure of Republicanism, as so many pronounced on Friday, but its logical and inevitable conclusion. Republicans are great at opposing things, destroying things, obstructing things, undoing things. They are really, really terrible at creating things because they have no desire to do so.

The rich ruling explains Trump’s fascination with Vladimir Putin as much as theories about Trump’s Russian business connections. Putin is the total package. Money plus the authoritarian muscle Trump lacked. For his royalist legions — more Tory than T-party — Trump is the king they secretly long for. It’s all the same to them if he is a mad king.

Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner have tried to sell the Trump White House’s serial failures as the normal glitches experienced in any tech startup. It’s a sign of Trump’s entrepreneurial derring-do.

Yesterday, Trump walked out of an executive order signing ceremony without signing the executive orders.

(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)

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