Our President Ripped His Chief of Staff for Interrupting His Televised Spin Session With a Cough

Jack Holmes
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From Esquire

"Nobody's ever been treated badly like me. When I'm treated so badly-"

"You know that every president says that."

" I-I disagree. Look, it's been acknowledged. Although they do say Abraham Lincoln was treated really badly. I must say that's the one. If you can believe it, Abraham Lincoln was treated supposedly very badly. But nobody's been treated badly like me."

That's the current President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, discussing how he's been more unjustly treated than any of his predecessors. Except maybe Lincoln, who was shot in the head explicitly because he defeated the slave power in the Civil War. (It is unclear whether Trump is fully convinced-"supposedly"-of what happened to the 16th president.) But what's an assassination when "the Amazon (lobbyist) Washington Post" says "dishonest" things about you? Luckily, it will soon go out of business. At least according to our large, adult president, who has plenty of time to rant and rave about The Fake News Media, and float the idea he might just have to stay in office for more than two terms. You know, because he may be indicted by one of the many state and federal prosecutors' offices who are currently investigating him whenever he leaves office.

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Speaking of, the folks in Congress are quite interested in having a look at this president's tax returns, because he is blatantly monetizing his office in an arrangement that creates conflicts of interest. As Trump rakes in money from the Saudis and a cast of other foreign actors, every decision he makes is thrown into doubt. Is he making this choice in the interests of the American people and the Constitution he swore to protect? Or is he making it because somebody put money in his pocket through his hotels?

The Democrats also want to have a look at Trump's financial background because The New York Times already found he participated in suspect tax schemes over decades, some of which rose to the level of outright fraud, and also he lost a billion dollars in 10 years. Where did he get the cash to keep his operation going after his companies filed for bankruptcy six times, or when he reportedly told then-wife Marla Maples that a homeless man they passed on the street was "worth $900 million more than me"? Again, now that he's making major geopolitical decisions, it might be worth finding out who he's tangled up with.

Anyway, in the same interview where Trump offered he may or may not have it worse than ol' Honest Abe, George Stephanopoulos asked him about turning this stuff over to Congress. It did not go well.

We've really become numb to the fact that the United States president will, unprompted, launch into a salvo about how his "financial statement" is "much much bigger, much much better than anybody." What would you do if your grandpa talked like this? Then it was time to un-promise that the "statement" will be released, just like Trump promised throughout the election that he would release his tax returns, as every major-party candidate since Watergate had done.

We never saw those, and now Trump has sued to block Deutsche Bank-the only financial institution that would lend him money for a long period-and Capital One from handing House Democrats his banking records. His lawyers are essentially arguing that Congress has no oversight power over the Executive Branch, a shockingly anti-Constitutional position. (A federal judge ruled against him, so Trump has filed an appeal.) Meanwhile, his Treasury Secretary is blatantly disregarding the plain text of federal law, refusing to turn over the tax returns-again, in outright defiance of the Constitution's separation of powers. It's almost like there's something in the financial records and the tax returns that the president doesn't want people to see. But don't worry: they're bigger than anybody's. You're gonna love 'em.

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But then there was The Cough. Trump kept on ranting about how it's a "fantastic financial statement," trying to dodge Stephanopoulos's reminders that he could just release it and show everyone how fantastic it all is. Much like the tax returns, if everything is above-board, then why not just release the info to show everyone you have no conflicts or entanglements and are working the interests of the American people? But no. Trump was treading water, beginning to feel his nose dip below, so he lashed out at Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney for coughing during the Spin Cycle.

"Let's do that over," Trump said, and then: "You want to do that a little differently again?"

Presumably, he wanted another chance to punch his way out of the jam. Stephanopoulos was fairly weak in reminding Trump that every other president since Nixon has turned over their tax returns for the express purpose of assuaging concerns about corruption and conflicts of interest. President Obama made quite a lot of money while in office, but we know where it came from because he was transparent about it. You might have a problem with his raking in cash from book deals, but at least you know. Ivanka Trump and the Son-in-Law-in-Chief made up to $138 million in 2018, including $4 million from the Trump International Hotel in D.C.-now a haven for lobbyists and foreign actors looking to curry influence with the regime-alone. How much do you think the president is making? And wouldn't you like to be sure it's not impacting his decision-making?

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