Afraid? Who, Us? We’re Not Afraid!

h/t Flazingo Photos
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Politico has an interesting piece up about whether Trump administration staffers, especially at the senior level, will face any difficulties in life after January 20, 2021. Will they have trouble getting a new job? Will they be treated like Alan Dershowitz in the Hamptons at Martha’s Vineyard, and find themselves off the best invitation lists for the Villager’s Dinner Parties?

On the one hand, these Trump folks make a good point: the fact that more than 70 million people voted for Trump indicates that this was not a top-to-bottom repudiation of Trump and everything he stood for. The fact that so many of the folks eyeing the 2024 GOP presidential nomination are embracing Trump and his quixotic challenges to the election result suggests that these staffers won’t have a shortage of people looking to hire someone who has Been Inside The White House, even if it’s Trump’s White House.

But there’s one thing that suggests they are still worried. There’s one thing that suggests that they are looking over their shoulders. There’s one thing that suggests that they are not as comfortable as their brave words declare them to be.

Here’s a hint:

“. . . said a White House official . . .”

“. . . some current and former Trump officials . . .”

“. . . One top official at the White House . . .”

“. . . Many top Trump advisers now say . . .”

“. . . said one of the president’s closest advisers.”

“. . . Interviews with numerous current and former Trump officials reveal . . .

” . . . Most Trump officials feel . . .”

“. . . as one Trump official called them . . .”

“. . . said an administration official. . . .”

“. . . said a senior administration official . . .”

” . . . said a Trump adviser . . .”

” . . . said a Senate GOP aide . . .”

” . . . said a former senior administration official . . .”

To Politico’s credit, they did manage to quote one person by name in this story:  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

But back to those Trump staffers. For folks who are quite sure they will land on their feet, they are mighty nervous about putting their name next to their words. Maybe it’s because of this:

“None of the Trump officials interviewed for this story seriously believed that Trump would prevail in the election, and it was taken as a given that they would all soon be looking for work outside the administration.”

These unnamed Trump officials may not fear repudiation by the DC social circles for having been complicit in locking children in cages and taking them away from their parents, never to be reunited. They may not fear for their next job, despite enabling the feeble and fatal Trump administration response to the coronavirus pandemic. They may not fear poverty, because they’ve got their book deal lined up already.

But their unanimous unwillingness to allow their names to be used says they are afraid of something. Or should I say “someone”?

It’s Donald John Trump, and he’s not going away.

*That* is what worries these people. It’s one thing to say “Look at the Dubya folks – they did just fine as their Iraq War stuff and market crash faded into history.” But as long as Trump doesn’t fade away, neither will their enabling of his policies. And deep down, they know that Trump is not going to quietly ride off into the sunset. Ever.

Be afraid, Unnamed Senior Administration Officials. Be very afraid.

[The post has been edited to correct the object of Alan Dershewitz’s unrequited feelings. While it is possible the residents of the Hamptons may have just as much disdain for Mr. Dershewitz as the residents of Martha’s Vineyard, that is not a matter of public record. We regret the error of not giving the residents of Martha’s Vineyard their due.]

52 replies
  1. e.a.f. says:

    Now they find out who their real friends are. Many of these people were invited to events only because they worked at the W.H. Many will find work, but others, perhaps not so much. How are other former employees doing? Keith Spicer, Dancing yikes.

    Being afraid of Donnie, he might not be going anywhere and keep up his twitter account and bad mouth any one and every one he doesn’t agree with, but sometimes that can back fire. As time goes by and if things improve in the U.S.A. Donnie may become irrelevant, yesterday’s man. Donnie might find he has legal problems and won’t have time to tweet or twit. Its true Donnie likes to be in the lime light, but what if no one wants to listen or interview him? At his age he could have a “jammer” and be done and then they’re all home free.

    • P J Evans says:

      When Biden is sworn in Trmp becomes an ordinary citizen again, and his Twitter account will be subject to all the rules again.

      • Mauimom says:

        “Trump becomes an ordinary citizen again,”

        And the phony prohibition on “indicting a sitting president” evaporates.

      • bmaz says:

        At that point, can we PLEASE give up the conceit that removing a letter from his formal name means jack shit, and is some kind of profound statement? tRump! Trmp! Drumpf! Whatever.

        Why do smart people think this is meaningful? For the love of all things holy, please STOP this crap. I beg you.

        But then I have begged you and others before. And if it is anybody but you, I will seriously start bouncing people for this jackassinery. It is childish and asinine. It makes you look silly, and it makes this blog look like childish idiots. STOP.

        This is tiring beyond belief.

        • P J Evans says:

          If he’d been a better president – or even a bad president, but a better person, I’d respect him.

          (I’m worn out: I spent all morning at the hospital, with paperwork and getting the IV port out of my shoulder, three years (literally) after it went in.)

          • bmaz says:

            And I thought about that several times today, not just because of your original advisory, but also the other friends here who also remembered. I very much do hope that went well. (And that you retained a souvenir!)

            But this question is about whether you can minimally respect our simple wishes and asks, and this one is blindingly simple.

            • P J Evans says:

              We discussed the souvenir – it would certainly have been possible – but it would have meant another trip over to the hospital, and I decided against it. (It goes to the path lab first.) But they showed it to me. Taller than I thought, and has “legs” with points that can take sutures. Biggest problem is that my skin doesn’t like the adhesive on the dressing, but that’s coming off today.
              And I got to ride an electric bus. Quiet. Push-buttons instead of pull-cords that are hard to get to work.

              • bmaz says:

                Sounds like quite the device, guess the legs for sutures make sense to secure it, but yikes! Hope everything heals well. The electric bus sounds cool.

                • P J Evans says:

                  It’s minor surgery – they do it in radiology. Local anesthetic (that was the ouchy part). While waiting for the doc (he had something else to do first), we were discussing places to get good burgers.

        • CHETAN R MURTHY says:

          bmaz, Many (like me) are simply unwilling to use his name, and wish to always and only use slurs to refer to him. The worse the slur, the better. My hatred for him is so complete that I don’t grant him status as another human being, and I view him as an enemy of all humanity. It isn’t surprising, then, that I neither accord him respect for any office, nor the decency that one accords other human beings. And I don’t say what is in my heart regarding him, only because I don’t want a visit from Covid-infected Secret Service agents for running my mouth.

          • bmaz says:

            That is perfectly fine, just not here. You write well and clearly have the skill to express yourself without the slurs, as you did exactly that in this comment. Thank you for that.

            • ducktree says:

              bmaz ~ I admire and support your stance regarding mocking or mangling proper names, whether of government officials or us little people. It was part of my own experience during elementary and middle school.

              That being said I hope and fervently pray that, after January 20, 2021, it gets exceedingly “hard on the street for a Trump.”

              May all the future hustle and flow overwhelm and capsize his planned escapade.

    • Hika says:

      “How are other former employees doing? Keith Spicer, Dancing yikes.”
      I love that you called him Keith when his name is Sean. The fact that you got it wrong reinforces your point and Peterr’s argument.

      • graham firchlis says:

        Trump appointed Spicer to the Naval Academy Board of Visitors, an oversight body where he sits with numerous members of Congress and !!!! Ronnie Jackson MD. A reputation rehab job, through Dec 2021. He has a paying gig on NewsmaxTV with his own show, a VRWC propaganda spew, and pocketed big bucks from his vapid book. Also he recently bought a house for IIRC $800K. No worries for Sean Spicer. He’ll keep on dancing, and be well paid for it.

        • e.a.f. says:

          thank you for the information. Spicer has done well. A house for $800K. OMG in Vancouver a house will run you $2.5M and that was 550K over asking. Although $800K does purchase a new middle class home in Nanaimo. Of we don’t have to worry about health care.

        • P J Evans says:

          Here in L.A., that would get you one of the new “homes” in Porter Ranch. Or a decent small condo in Woodland Hills. Nothing in SF, though, and certainly nothing in BH.

          • graham firchlis says:

            Spicer didn’t buy in those places. He bought in Middletown RI, a largely bluecollar whiteflight enclave (90% white) where Zillow puts the median sales price at $480K. Spicer’s $800K 4br/3ba/2st/sf detached bay views home at 78 Tuckerman Ave. is in a decidedly upscale setting, walking distance from Mike Flynn’s at 63 Tuckerman. Very comfortable.

  2. Teddy says:

    They want to ride the grift train as long as they are able: if this means Donnie Jr, or Ivanka, in 2024, they’ll be right there to help. If the Orange Oval Occupant convinces himself, and his cult, that he’s viable for 2024, they’ll be there. And it’s not like any of them had Really Important Jobs before they came aboard: Kayleigh worked at Fox, the Carlton/Cammish/Cassidy level of aides probably came directly from their dad-funded Heritage Foundation internships, and Mark Meadows, he of the no-mask talk-with-everyone superspreader event, headed up the Freedom Caucus from his safe North Carolina House seat that’s been taken over by an ambitious, squeaky-clean Hitler-HQ admirer Madison Cawthorn.

    And will COVID be protected as a disability under ADA, or will employers be newly able to discriminate against those who suffered with it, since they cannot offer any reasonably priced health insurance to employees under notACA? Because everyone at this White House will have had COVID by the time the Bidens move in.

    • FL Resister says:

      To the best of my knowledge, the Covid count related to the White House is up to 39 with the addition of Meadows, Carson, and Bossie.
      That we should listen to the Trump administration about anything is ridiculous at this point. He’s blown off any rational plan to protect the people of this country and was actually cited by an ER doctor on cable news tonight as being partially responsible for the currently full hospitals in Michigan.

      Does Trump continue to be the maestro of chaos, putting everyone he can into conflict because he thinks this proves his power? Speaking for the person on the street, the grocery clerk and those of us who work to keep our household going, we’re not impressed.

      The election is over, Biden won by over 7 million votes in the popular count with the margin in the disputed states many times over Trump’s margin in 2016. The longer this obstruction of a proper transition to a Biden administration and Republican pipe dream of a 2nd term continues, the likelier Warnock and Osoff are elected to the Senate which would be a tremendous victory.

      • Chris.EL says:

        Story in wapo today about Trump ran with photo close-up of Trump talking:
        “Ahead of Veterans Day event, Trump lashes out at an election official, news organizations”

        The way his mouth forms has always bugged me but the color of the inside of his mouth seems funny; it’s kind of a bright red, like it’s stained by a colored candy, Red Vines ?

        Or sucking all day on Cokes through a straw.

        Maybe that’s why he can’t drink from a glass without using two hands: he’s used to sucking on a straw.

        This guy is unhinged and dangerous!

  3. Tony el Tigre says:

    I would like to take this opportunity to ask, do others agree with me that Politico leans Right? Not hard but noticeably.

    • BobCon says:

      Ryan Lizza was fired by the New Yorker for “improper sexual conduct” — I think letting him write an article complaining about “cancel culture” is a really bad editorial decision.

  4. Blueride27 says:

    People not named Trump or Stephen Miller can change. Should they be allowed to work in the government again? No.
    I’m sure the rest will trickle back to the original source. (Fox news)

    • Ewan says:

      Oliver North has been a regular contributor on Fox News, and no one blinks anymore when he is introduced as an expert, a former official, or whatever.
      Bolton is also introduced as some sort of an authority of something, despite his infamous past.
      They will be fine, unfortunately.

  5. Ern says:

    My greatest hope is that the current and former employees at the White House will start spilling the beans immediately after the inauguration. He will no longer have the bully pulpit to scare off criticism that he had before. And NDAs don’t cover illegal acts. I’m guessing they probably don’t even cover official government acts.

    There should be no letting up on prosecutions. Isn’t that where we screwed up with Iran Contra?

    God, I hope that Duestsch Bank finally throws him under the bus. That would be final.

    • Ewan says:

      I must say, I am very interested to know what Deutsche Bank will do on January 20th at 12:01.I would think they have a duty to their shareholders to sue Donald J Trump for fraud, as his loan application does not match his IRS declaration — if Michael Cohen is to be believed (a big if). Then, Donald as a choice: did he lie to the IRS, or did he lie to Deutsche Bank? Prison, or personal bankruptcy?

      The worrisome thing, of course, is that he will have (state) secrets to sell, to whoever wants to settle his debts.

  6. Zinsky says:

    At the risk of running afoul of Godwin’s Law, after WWII, no one in Germany would cop to having been a member of the Nazi Party. I suspect that may be a good analog for analyzing what may happen to Trumpers in a Biden world. Without the support of Rupert Murdoch’s worldwide propaganda network and all of the free media time that he got from the other networks during his two presidential campaigns and entropic presidency, it remains to be seen whether Trump himself can generate and/or sustain the 24/7 media attention he thrives on like oxygen.

    • punaise says:

      In that vein, recall the scene towards the end of Inglorious Basterds where Brad Pitt’s character incises a swastika “brand” onto the forehead of Christophe Waltz’s perfectly evil character, who was on his way to Scott-free postwar stateside assimilation I think.

    • Hika says:

      I like your term “entropic presidency.” It was also at times ectopic and often anencephalic, but the tendency to chaos was paradoxically a constant feature.

  7. OldTulsaDude says:

    OT, but I do not think it is too early to form a “Never Again” Coalition to make certain that something like Donald Trump cannot happen again.

  8. Peterr says:

    The Politico evening Transition Playbook has this little nugget:

    THE PURGE, 2020 EDITION: A number of current and former Trump officials started whispering on Monday morning to DANIEL LIPPMAN and GABBY ORR that JOHN McENTEE, the director of the Presidential Personnel Office, was telling agency White House liaisons that if they catch any Trump political appointees looking for new jobs, they should fire them immediately. Several White House liaisons at agencies said they were unaware of such an edict, and a White House spokesperson said they don’t comment on personnel.

    Sounds like McEntee is afraid, too.

    Loyalty über Alles.

    • BobCon says:

      If they think a firing threat has any serious teeth at this point, they’re really dumb.

      Job opportunities are going to be scarce for the typical political appointee. The US Chamber of Commerce has signalled that they are backing off a hard right realignment, and corporate government affairs offices are going to be shedding Republicans, not hiring them.

      If a political appointee isn’t looking hard now, waiting until late January will really hurt their chances. The market is already flooded with GOP campaign staff looking for some kind of job with interest groups and lobbying firms. Pressuring people to stay for the sake of appearances is going to make enemies.

      • Peterr says:

        Some of the low-level political appointees are probably still paying off student loans, and are unlikely to have a book deal already lined up. For folks like these, a threat to lose your last three paychecks like this is indeed a serious matter.

        • Raven Eye says:

          Indeed. We tend to focus on the high profile people in the Plum Book positions, but often forget about all the folks (often younger) who fill non-competitive positions. I’ve known a couple who had to find a real job after an administration change. It sometimes takes them a little time to realize that their new co-workers might not be impressed.

        • BobCon says:

          I suspect the way this works out is anyone enforcing this runs the risk of being ratted out for their own job seeking, or something earlier.

          At least, the smart lower level politicals will have kept records and copies of files.

          At any rate, a prohibition just pushes this stuff further underground and makes what is undoubtably a toxic atmosphere in a lot of places even worse.

  9. graham firchlis says:

    Not to worry, this crowd will be just fine. The Wingnut Welfare Machine will absorb the senior members, as always, until another chance at destruction from within arises. Republican operatives and candidates at all levels are salivating over the 2022 midterms, and staffing up has already begun. The non-presidential 2020 results were very positive for Republicans in spite of the drag Trump became, and they’ll not have to defend him next time. Midterms are always hard for the incumbent president, and a sharp turnaround in Covid or the economy isn’t a given. House and Senate control will be in play, big money will be spent, lots of jobs will come with it.

  10. Pete T says:

    Perhaps I have missed a critique of Trump’s potential “fortunes” between 2021-20204 on his way to reclaiming the WH in 2024, but aren’t there a few issues that warrant resolution in NY State and Manhattan?

    And if not at the federal level assuming self pardon does not work and Biden doesn’t get cold feet – a bit like Obama – and let bygones be bygones?

    What are the odds that Trump, children, and Trump Organization do/don’t fall prey to civil ruinous monetary and/or criminal convictions at any jurisdictional level?

    Gee – I might sound a bit vengeful.


    • Frank Probst says:

      There’s really only one person on that list whose welfare worries me, and that’s Barron Trump’s. That poor kid had horrible parents (but by all accounts, loving grandparents on Melania’s side) BEFORE the Trump Presidency. Now, in addition to all of the shit he has to have been putting up with from his classmates for his asshole father, he also has to deal with shit for getting coronavirus via his asshole father (either directly or indirectly), and shit for the fact that his asshole father just became a one-termer. I hope Melania has had the sense to ensure that he has a sizable trust fund and not, as has been reported, a bigger stake in the Trump Organization, which may be worthless by the time he turns 18.

      He’s very likely going to be caught in the tug-of-war between staying in DC with Melania or his grandparents (at least until the end of the school year in the summer of 2021) and moving to New York/Florida/a country with no extradition treaty immediately after January 20. Frankly, I hope Melania is smart enough to keep him in DC until he finishes high school.

      The other thing I worry about with him (and he may not even qualify for this, so it might not be an issue) is Secret Service protection. Trump is petty/stupid enough to refuse/decline Secret Service protection in favor of his own private security. I haven’t seen this mentioned elsewhere yet, but it’s not clear to me how such a decision–if it happens–will affect other family members.

      • e.a..f. says:

        agree. the boy is a teenager and its a difficult stage. Having your father be Donald Trump can’t make it any easier. From what I can recall Trump wasn’t that interested in his other children until they were grown. It is doubtful he will even care where the child is or what happens to him.

        • Chris.EL says:

          Months ago, similar thoughts occurred to me; specifically, the formation of his personality in the pressure of the white house and his parents’ and older siblings’ personalities too.

          Let’s hope he makes fast friends with Mary Trump; do you think dad would allow that. I’m sure kids at school are well instructed in how to treat the president’s son.

          • FL Resister says:

            Aren’t Barron Trump and the precocious daughter of George and Kellyanne Conway around the same age? They may find that they have more in common than being children of famous parents.

  11. Mister Sterling says:

    Being afraid of Donald J. Trump is one of the stupidest fucking fears in the world. He’s easy to defeat in the courtroom. He’s easy to defeat on the debate stage. He doesn’t know who to call to destroy someone. His personal attorney is too drunk and incompetent to destroy anyone. I don’t doubt that they are afraid of Donald J. Trump. But that is ridiculous.

    • P J Evans says:

      Haven’t noticed the victims? Children with missing parents, children still caged, people still being deported (especially if their testimony can convict someone), white supremacists still being allowed to run free….

  12. punaise says:

    OT, not sure where to plop this, perhaps of interest:

    Maggie Haberman and the New York Times will never get over themselves

    …predictable, enervating proof that the paper remains the dominion of clueless assholes who abhor the idea of journalistic evolution. There are profit motives behind this, of course. Wiedemann says the paper’s subscription rate grew TENFOLD after Trump got elected. But more important, there remains the paper’s unofficial collective insistence that The Times Knows Best. And no one embodies those two qualities more than Trump correspondent Maggie Haberman

    • ducktree says:

      Subscriptions grew 10 fold because DJT immediately started flinging his “enemy of the people” poo, and the 4th Estate needed some love!
      Even I renewed my LAT dead tree subscription!

      • bmaz says:

        In fairness, the LAT has really started to turn back around after Soon liberated them from Tribune Co. hell.

      • punaise says:

        I actually subscribe to the dead tree SF Chronicle, have for pretty much ever. Grew up on Herb Caen and Art Hoppe at the breakfast table. Now it’s basically click-bait SF Gate plus a few columnists. At least they have good sportswriters (Scott Ostler, Bruce Jenkins, Ann Killion…). Willie Brown (on politics), not so much – although like a stopped clock he is occasionally right.

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