“I start off trusting both”

The Times of London interviewed Trump. It was sad and depressing and scary.

The interview focused on foreign affairs, the type of affair with which Trump has the least familiarity. The interview merely highlighted Trump’s stupidity and shallowness. I don’t think he’s capable of having a sophisticated thought. Perhaps his toupee is strangling his brain. I don’t know. But what I do know is that he never manages to say anything that makes you think he’s a sentient being

Take his response to a question about why he thought “Brexit happened.” Here’s how he begins his response:

People don’t want to have other people coming in and destroying their country and you know in this country we’re gonna go very strong borders from the day I get in. One of the first orders I’m gonna sign – day one – which I will consider to be Monday as opposed to Friday or Saturday. Right? I mean my day one is gonna be Monday because I don’t want to be signing and get it mixed up with lots of celebration, but one of the first orders we’re gonna be signing is gonna be strong borders.

He literally couldn’t finish the first sentence of his response without veering off, like a shopping cart with a busted wheel. And it’s not like he redirected the conversation to a safer topic. Instead, he changed the topic to his confession that he would get confused if he celebrated and signed his name on a document on a single day. Signing your name. And celebrating. In a 24-hour period. Too confusing.

The rest of the interview was equally insightful. For example, he was asked “do you trust the European currency?” You would think a business person has something coherent to say about this topic. But you would be wrong. Very, very wrong:

Well, it’s doing OK. I mean, you know. What do you trust? I trust the dollar, I’m gonna trust the dollar a lot more in four years than I do now, but sure I mean it’s a currency, it’s fine. But I do think keeping it together is not gonna be as easy as a lot of people think. And I think this, if refugees keep pouring into different part of Europe. I think it’s gonna be very hard to keep it together cause people are angry about it.

And that’s it. That’s his entire response. What does any of that even mean? A drunk infant could provide more insight.

He couldn’t even answer simple questions, like “How is being president going to change how you operate?” Think of the millions of ways his life will be different now that he’s president.

Just take a moment.

You’ve now put more thought into how Trump’s life will change than he has. Because this is his response:

Ya know this is a very, very big change — I led a very nice life and ya know successful and good and nice and this is a lot different — but ya know my attitude on that is when you’re president, you’re in the White House which is a very special place — you’re there for a limited period of time — who wants to leave? Like I’ve liked President Obama, he’s been very nice, yeah he’s been nice one on one, but maybe not so nice in other ways — but who wants to leave the White House to go to some other place and be away on a vacation? The White House is very special, there’s so much work to be done, I’m not gonna be leaving much — I mean a lot of work to be done — I’m gonna be in there working, doing what I’m supposed to be doing — but who wants to leave the White House?

???????

It’s like he’s having a stroke in slow motion. He can’t complete a single sentence in which the beginning and end of the sentence concern the same thing.

Apart from generally sounding like an ignorant buffoon, it wouldn’t be a Trump interview if he didn’t say something that was insane. And this interview was no exception. When asked who he trusted more Merkel or Putin, Trump did not say, “obviously the one who didn’t attempt to interfere in our nation’s election,” even though that is the only conceivable correct answer. Instead, he said:

Well, I start off trusting both — but let’s see how long that lasts. It may not last long at all.

In other words, despite the fact that Trump acknowledges that Putin likely attempted to influence the presidential election, he trusts Putin, just like he trusts Merkel. What more does Putin need to do to prove to Trump that he shouldn’t be trusted?

It also wouldn’t be a Trump interview if he didn’t find time to dispute that he had hired prostitutes to urinate on him in a hotel bed:

When I just heard it — I ripped up the mat . . . if I did that in a hotel it’d be the biggest thing — they’d have me on the front page of The New York Post, right? And the other thing, I can’t even, I don’t even want to shake hands with people now I hear about this stuff — ugh.

It seems to me the “it couldn’t have happened because it didn’t appear in the newspaper” defense is not particularly compelling.

Cop: I’m here to question you about a murder.

Fred: I didn’t kill anyone, and I’ll prove it.

Fred dramatically pulls out newspaper and slowly scans each page.

Fred: I’M NOWHERE IN HERE

Cop: My apologies.

It’s going to be a long four years.

-Fred

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Point/counterpoint

Point

Having a “hero” is dumb:

Interviewer: Do you have any models — are there heroes that you steer by — people you look up to from the past?

Trump: Well, I don’t like heroes, I don’t like the concept of heroes, the concept of heroes is never great[.]

Counterpoint

A man who cheated the way to the top is a hero:

Tinkle facial

Only a day has passed since we learned that Donald Trump might, possibly, could have been involved in an incident involving prostitutes, their urine, and a hotel bed. Part of me hopes it’s true. I’d feel a little better knowing that someone, somewhere pissed on Trump. But most of me hopes it’s not true. Nothing would make me feel better than a false, unsubstantiated rumor clinging to Trump’s presidency like dry, crusted urine clings to my underwear. After all, this is a man who loves spreading unsubstantiated rumors more than he loves prostitutes urinating all over him.  (I’m not saying that Trump loves prostitutes urinating all over him.  But many people have said that he does.)

Trump, of course, has responded to these allegations with the typical calm, measured response that has become his forte. Or not. Definitely not.

This point would look slightly less insane if it weren’t partially in all capital letters. But only slightly.

Is there someone out there who believed that Russia had compiled damaging information about Trump for the purposes of blackmail, but then heard that Russia had denied doing so, and thought, “well, I guess that resolves this.” And does Trump really believe his supporters are that stupid? (Oh. Yeah. Got it.)

He used the word “leak” and the phrase “one last shot at me” just to fuck with us, right? Right? If so, hat tip. Respect.

Setting that aside, the Nazi Germany reference is insane, even for Trump.  No one reflects on Nazi Germany and says, “man, those fucking Nazi intelligence agencies really fucked over their leader. So unfair!” Also, in his analogy, isn’t Trump, Hitler?

You did not win the election easily. You won thanks to a pernicious combination of Russian hacking, our outdated electoral college system, voter-suppression tactics, and James Comey. Prick. (I do appreciate, though, the use of irony quotation marks around “movement.”)

Finally, I don’t get his claim that these stories somehow “belittle” him or his victory.  Even if the most sordid allegations are true, I can’t imagine anyone’s opinion of him changing. This is a person who was literally caught on tape bragging about sexual assault. If people are not bothered by a rapist, they will not be bothered by a sexual deviant who likes the occasional tinkle facial.

-Fred

Whining

Yesterday, Trump did what Trump does better than anything not involving sexual assault:  whine. Among his targets were the media and—I wish I were fucking kidding—Meryl Streep. He will almost certainly continue his whining tomorrow. I’d like to help him stop that. And thanks to the Google machine, I have access to thousands of articles with advice for people like me trying to help people like him. The most authoritative article—or, at least, the first one that came up when I searched “how to deal with a whiny toddler”—is this gem from parents.com:

Whine? Not! Four Ways to Deal with Whining Children by Caroline Schaefer

Okay, great. Four ways. Caroline, what’s the first?

Step 1: React

[H]elp your child understand that her whining voice is very hard to listen to. You can say, “I can’t understand you when you whine. If you want to tell me how you feel, then I need you to use your regular voice.” Don’t assume she knows what it means to whine. Demonstrate how it sounds by whining back at her[.]. Also, take stock of whether she may be whining because she’s tired or hungry. 

Okay. Let’s react.

As of this writing, a full five minutes after I sent the above tweet, I’ve received no response. Disappointing.

Maybe if I stick with react, but go at it from a different angle.

Crickets. Caroline. Not impressed so far.

Perhaps the second way will be more useful.

Step 2: Relate

Try to get to the bottom of your kid’s bellyaching. Is he whining because he’s trying to control a situation? . . . Is he simply venting? Just as you like to gripe to your partner about a bad day at work or a stressful exchange with another mom, 3- and 4-year-olds need to express themselves too. You might start by saying, “I know you really want to have an extra balloon, but each child gets only one at the party,” Dr. Hackney advises. This will validate his feelings and also give him a reason why you’re rejecting his request.

Validate his feelings and then gently explain to him why he is wrong. Okay.

That one got away from me at the end there. That’s my bad Donald. That’s my bad Caroline.

Step 3: Rephrase

Whenever I take Avery along to the drugstore, she pleads at the top of her lungs when she sees the seductive selection of candy at the checkout aisle. To keep her quiet (and to avoid the cashier’s scowls), I usually give in to her squeals for chocolate within a nano-second. Dr. Hackney suggests a better strategy, which will keep both me and the dentist happy: “Ask her to use her nice voice and to say please, and demonstrate exactly what to say and how to say it. Once she does that, you can then respond to her request with a yes or a reasoned no.”

Okay, I can do this one.

I feel like I made some progress. Again, no response five minutes after I tweeted. But I think I at least planted the seed. I feel good about this one.

Last way!

Step 4: Reward

When your preschooler does ask you for something in a calm, sweet way (“Can I please have a cookie?”), it’s a perfect opportunity to recognize and reinforce his good behavior. “Don’t be afraid to gush! You can say, ‘Wow, what a lovely way to ask. That sounded so nice,’ ” says Dr. Hackney. Even if you refuse his request (“We are going to save our appetite for dinner and skip the cookie now”), pointing out how well he used his good voice will make him less likely to resort to whining next time. You’ll be relieved you’ve silenced the din, and he’ll have learned how to make himself heard.

Find a nice thing he has said and reward him. Got it.

Nailed it. Thanks Caroline.

-Fred

Point/counterpoint

Point

Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame is an expert worthy of our respect on the issue of media bias:

Counterpoint

Julian Assange should get the death penalty:

Point/counterpoint

Point

The media falsely claimed Donald Trump thought he was going to lose the election:

Counterpoint

Donald Trump thought he was going to lose the election on election night:

I went to see my wife. I say, ‘Baby, I tell you what. We’re not going to win tonight[.]’

“I know things that other people don’t know.”

Per CNN:

President-elect Donald Trump claims to have inside information on Russia’s meddling in the United States’ election — and promises to reveal it “Tuesday or Wednesday.”

Like Natalie Imbruglia, I’m torn. On one (tiny) hand, if anyone knows anything about Russian meddling in the U.S. election, it’s Trump. Co-conspirators usually know something. On the other (even more tiny) hand, he’s a charlatan who once claimed that his investigators sent to determine where Obama was born had uncovered something “very interesting,” which was shorthand for “nothing.” My guess is that Trump just reveals vague insinuation that he picked up from Infowars.

At some point—not today, not tomorrow, and maybe not next year—most of Trump’s supporters will realize that he’s completely full of shit. (Some already have.) I just hope that point comes before nuclear armageddon does.

At a New Year’s Eve party at his Mar-A-Lago estate, a tuxedoed Trump maintained that another culprit aside from Russia could have been behind the election intrusion.  “It could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don’t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation,” he said.

I appreciate his optimism that he thinks he knows things that other people don’t know. I do.  I just doubt that it’s true. I also doubt his commitment to the principle that you can’t be “sure of [a] situation” until you know the facts. This is a man who likes conspiracy theories more than a chapped ass likes three-ply toilet paper. For example:

Millions of illegal votes? Proven. Global warming a Chinese conspiracy? Yes. Obama born in Kenya? Obvy. The Russian government interfering with the presidential election? WAIT UNTIL THE FACTS ARE FULLY DEVELOPED.

-Fred