Tapes? Who said anything about tapes? (The Trump/Nixon Tapes Part 6)

Trump - Nixon Ghost2[What follows is a transcript of President Donald Trump speaking into the Oval Office recording device originally used by President Richard Nixon. This series of recordings encompasses the president’s communication to his inner circle.]

To: The Trump Circle of Trust (TCT)

cc: Sen. Chuck Grassley

Okay, everyone let’s be clear. Officially, I am not taping myself talking to you. That’s not happening, okay? Also, I’m not taping each and every conversation I have with each of you. That’s also not happening. Are we clear? I don’t know what you’ve been reading in the fake news or my Twitter feed, but I’m not saying that I have tapes.

I mean okay, sure, there’s a console by my bed at Mar-a-Lago that allows me to listen in on phone conversations anywhere at the resort. But let’s be honest here. Who among us wouldn’t want to listen in on some of these guests? Have you seen the parade of trophy wives? Va va va voom, am I right? But I didn’t record them. I don’t think we even have the technology to tape phone calls, have we? Someone over at the CIA should get on that. Just be sure and tell them it was my idea. People don’t give me enough credit for the things I make up.

Now, about the Comey firing. I don’t get it. Why is that such a big deal? I mean do I have the power to fire him or don’t I? I do, right? And Democrats have been wanting me to fire him, right? Since day freaking one. They say he took the election away from Hillary with that letter. So why are they so mad that I took action? And who cares what the reason was? Hey, I’m an active president with a lot of plates spinning. You can’t expect normal people to keep up with me, much less the people dumb enough to want to work in my communications office. I could replace you all with Sheila from the Steno pool. At least she records what I’m saying accurately and can repeat it back to me. There’s an idea:

Sheila? How’s your transcribing arm? Good? Cause you might be getting called up to the majors.

So I fired a guy that I am legally allowed to fire and I don’t even have to have a reason. So why is everyone trying to make a federal case out of it? I mean, not that I’m projecting here, but he was a grandstander and a showboat. Normally, I like showboats. There’s a great one down in Nashville that makes a well-done steak like you wouldn’t believe.

Anyhoo, firing Comey should have been no big deal. It’s not like he was all that popular with the FBI. For one thing, he’s too tall. I don’t trust really tall people. It’s like they’re lording it over me. I’m the lord around here. I mean, have you seen the size of my television? That’s a presidential TV.

I mean how many times did we change our story yesterday? Sheila? You got a rundown? Uh-huh. So, first, it was on the recommendations from Sessions and Rosenstein. Then I told Lester Holt it was my idea to do it before I even met with them. That’s not bad. That can be chalked up to miscommunica . . . what? Oh. Then Mike Pence said it had nothing to do with the Russia investigation and I told Lester Holt that I was thinking about the Russia investigation. Again, no bigly deal. Pence was out of the loop. What? Then Kelly Ann went on CNN and said it had “zero” to do with the Russia investigation. Okay, first of all, who let Kelly Ann out of her office? Then what, Sheila? Spicey said it was all based on Rosenstein? Nobody believes what Sean Spicer has to say. Did he yell that out from behind the bushes? What about that other girl? The six that Huckabee sent over? She said I’d already made the decision after watching Comey testify, right? That’s close enough. The dishonest media doesn’t believe anything my people say anyway. They’re obsessed with catching them in lies. You’d think my communications staff was making a game of lying to the press.

Look, you and I and whoever is taping this all know that the Trump Russia story is a hoax right? Didn’t Comey tell me three times that I’m not under investigation? Didn’t Chuck Grassley say the Trump Russia story was a hoax? So, me firing Comey doesn’t change that. It just moves it along so we can stop talking about fake news Russia and go back to talking about the real scandal — Obama taping my conversations. Why is nobody talking about that story?

You know who should be mad about recorded conversations? Me. Who had their private locker-room talk recorded and then broadcast all over the world? Me. That was between me, Billy Bush, and the sound crew who wired us for mics shortly before we had that private conversation.

It’s not like I even like Russians anyway. Oooh, While I’m thinking about it, Jared? Send Eric a muffin basket with Vodka and rat poison. Write “Snitches get stitches on the card.” He’ll know what I’m talking about. What was I talking about? Sheila? The Russians! Right. Talk about a bunch of liars. I agreed to meet with the Russian foreign minister and that ambassador who everyone who worked on my campaign met with and forgot about. I didn’t want any press there, of course, because they’re all obsessed with Russians for some reason.  They bring a photographer and tell me it’s just for Putin’s scrapbook. I meet the guy, his name was Tass or something like that. So the ambassador gives me a fancy Russian pen and some extra batteries for it and tells me to keep it with me as a sign of friendship.

“Okay,” I say. “If you’re sure nobody is going to see me playing grabass with the Russians in the Oval Office, then fine. Take your pictures.” Next thing I know, they’ve posted them on the wire services! I was all like “Tass! I thought we were comrades!” It turns out the Russian media is just as dishonest as the American media. You know what? I’ll say it. The Russian media is the enemy of the American people.

Oh, and what about Tom Arnold! He says he has a tape of my private racist and sexist comments I made while on the set of “The Apprentice.” How is that fair? Just because I’m on a TV set and wearing a microphone doesn’t mean you should record the terrible things I say and do! When the director says “cut,” that’s me time.  Steve Harvey knows what I’m talking about.

It’s like everything you do in the White House is on tape somewhere. People seriously need to stop taping me. That’s my job. I tape you. I think there’s a Yakov Smirnov joke in there somewhere. Sheila? Call Yakov Smirnov and tell him I have an exclusive joke for him. Must credit Trump!

This whole week has me goddamned steamed.

Okay, I’m about out of tape and these reel-to-reel jobs are a disaster to change. Speaking of which, my Tivo is about 98 percent full. Someone get on there and change the tapes so I don’t miss “Morning Joe.”

They’re Coming To Take Me Away Ha Ha Ho Ho Hee Hee (The Trump/Nixon Tapes Part 5)

Trump Jackson Screwball[What follows is a transcript of President Donald Trump speaking into the Oval Office recording device originally used by President Richard Nixon. This series of recordings encompasses the president’s communication to his inner circle.]

To: The Trump Circle of Trust (TCT)

cc: Speaker Paul Ryan

I swear. You people are going to put me in the looney bin. Why is everyone talking like I’m crazy? Morning Joe? George Will? The Washington Post? CNBC? NPR? They’re all talking about how I’m losing it. Like I got a screw loose! Can you believe it? I mean, I expect that sort of thing from Keith Olberman, but Terry Gross? What did I ever do to her?

This is completely unfair. So I occasionally have trouble getting the words out. Or I confuse names. Or I repeat simple phrases over and over again. Or I talk about dead people as if they’re still alive. Or I forget how government works. Or I’m afraid of stairs. Or I compliment dictators and strongmen around the world.

Speaking of which, I heard Kim Jong-un’s dad has a hell of a golf swing. Maybe I should invite him out to Mar-a-Lago for 18 holes and we can work this whole nuclear thing out. Sheila? Get me Kim Jong-il on the phone. What? Dead? When? Does Kim-Jong-un know? He’s a smart cookie. I bet he does know. Any word on how his golf game is? If he’s anything like his old man, it’s tremendous.

Someone might have mentioned that Andrew Jackson died 16 years before the Civil War started. Or that the Civil War is one of the most researched questions historians have written about. Am I the only 70-year-old white man who hasn’t watched a thousand documentaries about the Civil War? To see my Twitter mentions, you’d think so. Don’t worry, though. I fixed it.

I genuinely believe Andrew Jackson saw the Civil War coming and was really mad about it. Look at a $20 bill. Doesn’t he seem angry? Someone ask Steve Mnuchin if we can put me on some money. I’m thinking we bring back the $20 gold coin and put my face on one side and me standing at the 14th hole at Trump National on the other. Just make sure it shows the plaque memorializing that “River of Blood” Civil War battle that the fake news people at the failing Golf Digest say never happened.

How about that health care bill, huh? Great job everybody. We twisted arms and prodded those squishy moderates then all of a sudden we got us an Obamacare replacement that does everything I promised it would do. It covers everybody. What was that, Shiela? 27 million? Really? Well, it protects people with pre-existing conditions. What? No? Are you sure? I’m pretty sure I saw Paul say it would protect pre-existing conditions. It will jack up their premiums? But I promised it would lower premiums. I said it would cost a tiny fraction of what Obamacare costs. I remember it clearly because that was a huge applause line. Ugh, am I going to have to read this bill? Shiela? Get someone in here to read this bill for me.

[tape pauses for 8 minutes]

Enough! Enough! Get out! Who knew health care could be so boring? Am I right? Shiela? Tell Paul, I’ll take his word for it. Man, I thought I was going to die listening to that. Good thing I’ve got great health insurance. Whew. I’ll tell ya, that was brutal. I did catch something about Medicaid in there. I assume we’re keeping my promise to not cut Medicaid, right? I really gave ole’ Huckabee the business on Twitter that time he copied me.

Wait, what was that, Shiela? You were mumbling something. Block grants to the states? What’s that? Oh. Well, that doesn’t sound too bad. I mean what’s $880 billion? It’s not like that’s serious money. It’s probably mostly fraud and waste, right? What? What’s a “special-needs kid?” Oh, come on. Really? What about vets? Them too? So who gets the $880 billion? Tax cuts for billionaires? And they voted for that? Wow. Unbelievable. I’m sure everyone else is okay with it, though. What? Well, yeah, I’ll sign it. I promised, didn’t I?

Man, I’m bushed. I hope I don’t say something to undercut our entire argument when I meet with the Australian prime minister tonight. You know how I get when I haven’t had my well-done steak with ketchup.

Okay. Now that we’re finished with repeal and replace can we move on to something else? I am so tired of pretending I care about health care. I need to get out of Washington for a few days. Maybe I’ll go visit Melania in New York. That’s the one place in the country where I know they love me. New York is my town. What’s that, Shiela? Mike Pence has another executive order for me to sign? I sure do sign a lot of these things for someone who used to really hate the idea of presidents signing executive orders.

What’s this one about? Religious Freedom? Is it the one where we let Christians discriminate against gay people or the one where we let churches fundraise for politicians? Both? Ask Mike if he can combine them into one, I don’t want to sign two of them. I’ve only got so much left in in the old tank today and I’m trying to make a tee time at Trump National. Oh, has Ivanka signed off on this? Well, at least no one can get mad about this one, right?

Shiela? Tell Steve Mnuchin that when he’s done with his weekly meeting with Ivanka that I need to see her. I want to give her a hug and tell her it’s going to be okay. Everybody puts fake quotes in their book nowadays. Nobody cares except a bunch of nerds that are going to find something to complain about no matter what you write. Shiela? Get the State Department on the phone. They’re not doing anything important. Maybe they can help goose her book sales a bit.

You know, I’m getting a little sick of the attitudes around here. Maybe some of you need a little refresher course in who is in charge. Shiela? What can I do to punish a bunch of federal employees that requires virtually no effort on my part?

Okay, I’m off the New York. Good job on the . . . uh . . . health care thing . . . and stuff. Just terrific. Really. I’m sure that’s going to be a huge, huge, part of my legacy.

 

Trump and Ryan Celebrate Bullying Their Own Party Into Supporting A Bad Bill That Will Never Become Law

trump-and-paul-ryanThe House voted 217 to 213 to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA). This cynical divisive act of cowardice served one (and only one) purpose — to give Donald Trump a legislative “victory.” But what did they win, exactly? I can guarantee you that, even as Trump talks about how great this plan is, he has no idea what the bill does. None. He just knows it must be a good plan because it passed.

During the campaign, Trump promised universal coverage at “a tiny fraction of the cost” and “it will be so easy.” It was only after he was elected that he realized how complicated health care is. By most estimates, it counts for a sixth of our economy and House Republicans passed it without knowing what was in it.

I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t Nancy Pelosi, when she was the speaker, say they had to pass Obamacare to find out what was in it? No. That’s one of the enduring myths of Obamacare — a quote, truncated and removed from its context then used as a bludgeon. The Affordable Care Act took 18 months to develop. There were hours and hours of hearings and debates. President Obama toured the country promoting it and taking ownership of it. During that year and a half, we lost Sen. Ted Kennedy and had to endure a special election. Democrats (though they controlled both houses) negotiated away popular provisions such as the public option to garner bipartisan support, incorporating demand after demand from Republicans only to have them vote no anyway. So no, the ACA wasn’t “rammed through” like so many Republicans claim.

The bill that passed the House yesterday was debated for six hours. No amendments were allowed. No hearings were held. There was no score from the Congressional Budget Office letting us know how much it would cost or what the impact would be on the people. The previous version (the one that didn’t make it to a floor vote) was going to kick 27 million people off their health insurance. It was polling at 17 percent. Somehow, I doubt this version will be any better and, when the CBO score comes out in a week or so, we’re likely to find that it is much worse.

Why did they have to rush this? What was the hurry? One reason is that the Trump administration needed some legislative victory to tout. The president just held a 100-day rally in a town he once referred to as a “war zone” and all he could say was that he nominated a Supreme Court justice (which was McConnell more than Trump) and he signed a bunch of executive orders, which were themselves broken campaign promises. The evidence of this assertion is that after voting on the bill, House Republicans got on buses and rode to the White House for a Trump victory celebration. What were they celebrating? Paul Ryan and Donald Trump had bullied their own party into supporting bad legislation? That’s a win?

Trump said Obamacare is “dead” well, “essentially dead.” He described the Republican bill as “something that is very, very, incredibly well-crafted.” I can guarantee you with all certainty that he has no idea what is in that bill. Most of the Republicans who voted for it hadn’t read it.

Now, I can break down for you all the terrible things in this bill, such as how it declares being a woman a pre-existing condition, screws over special-needs kids, cuts Medicaid funds that help the poor to fund a tax cut for the wealthy, and offers states a waiver to allow insurance companies to jack up rates on pre-existing conditions and old people. But what’s the point? This bill will never become law. The Senate is going to start from scratch. That’s the thing that really bothers me about this. The AHCA will be DOA in the Senate. So all the arm twisting and bullying to get the votes they needed in the House was just so Trump could have his Rose Garden photo op:

It was a sea of white men all celebrating killing health care for at least 27 million people and passing a tax cut for people making more than $250,000 a year. They are so proud and happy. But most of them don’t even know what they voted for because what they really voted for was for Paul Ryan to keep his leadership post. Aside from Trump’s photo op, that was the priority here. Because if Ryan failed to pass a bill on this third try, then his speakership was going to be over. In fact, the entire House leadership team would have been kicked out.

Think about that. If you were a rank-and-file member, that conversation had to go something like:

“We need you to support this bill.”

“Can I read it?”

“We don’t have draft language yet.”

“What about a CBO score?”

“Nope.”

“Is it popular with the public?”

“Polling nationally at about 17 percent.”

“This bill sounds awful.”

“Don’t worry. You and your staff will get an exemption from whatever is in it.”

“Why should I vote for it?”

“If it fails again, the entire House leadership will be fired and you might have to take one of the posts.”

“Oh hell no!”

The American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Hospitals Association, the AARP, insurance companies, and editorial boards across the country all oppose this bill. Perhaps the president has succeeded in uniting this country afterall.

Next week (or maybe the week after) the CBO is going to tell everyone exactly what the Republicans passed yesterday. Your congressman needs to hear from you. One of the easiest ways to make that happen is to use ResistBot to send faxes and letters to your representatives for free (though they would appreciate donations). I use it three or four times a week to let my congressman, Dr. Phil Roe, know that his district isn’t as safe as he believes. If we can’t make these people feel uneasy about something as egregious as this dumpster fire of a bill, then we’ve lost already. Next year will be the midterms and every member of congress needs to be held accountable for what they did yesterday. I’ll do my part. I’m counting on you to do yours.