Sunday, June 23, 2019

Take a look at your optimism!

Verdon and Fosse, April 2018, screengrab from NBC via.

The Todd-Trump conversation broke down irretrievably over Todd's attempt to ask a pretty interesting question on a passage from the Mueller Report (I:117), as to whether Junior, who "declined to be voluntarily interviewed" by the Mueller team, might have involuntarily testified to the grand jury, as an immediately following redaction hints, maybe:

TODD: So did you not read the Mueller report?
TRUMP: Let me tell you, I read much of it.
TODD: The unredacted version or no?
TRUMP [unable to risk revealing that he doesn't know what the correct answer is supposed to be]: I read -- No I didn't.
TRUMP: I didn't. But let me just tell you --
TODD: So if he was subpoenaed --
TRUMP [more unwilling still to entertain the subject of Junior]: You know what I read? I read the --
TODD [desperately trying to get Trump to realize how odd it would be if your son got a grand jury summons in your conspiracy case and you didn't know] : -- if he was subpoenaed you wouldn't know?
TRUMP: -- I read, I read the conclusion.
TODD [acquiescing helplessly]: Ok.
Let the record show, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that if Trump read the Conclusion (shown below in its entirety, II:182), he seems to have skipped most of the good parts:

People have been ragging on poor Chuck all day over all the lies he allowed Trump to tell him, but it's not entirely fair; Trump's technique for wearing him down with inapposite nonsense is just brutal, as in that example. Here's another one, after Chuck's been trying to get him to say whether he intends to fire Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell:
TRUMP [won't answer, but has to register his complaint that Yellen and Powell have mistreated him in comparison to the way Yellen treated Obama, insufficiently attentive to his political needs as he sees them] I think the economy's so strong we're going to pull through it. But I'm not happy with his actions. No, I don't think he's done a good job. I think this, if he didn't raise rates Obama had very low rates. So Obama was playing with funny money. I wasn't. I'm playing with the real stuff.
TODD: Let me ask you this.
TRUMP: Wait, wait. Obama had somebody [chairing the Fed] that kept the rates very low. I had somebody that raised the rates very rapidly. Too much. He made a mistake. That's been proven. [then realizing that all this whining makes him sound unsuccessful] And yet my economy is phenomenal. We have now the best economy, maybe in the history of our country. One -- just to finish off, when I took over, this country, the economy was ready to collapse. You take a look at the numbers. It was ready to collapse. And if I didn't win --
TODD: I just showed you the numbers. It was not ready to collapse.
TRUMP: No no, no, that’s -- You showed me unemployment numbers.
TODD: That was unemployment. It was not ready --
TRUMP: Excuse me.
TODD: -- to collapse.
TRUMP: Excuse me. Take a look at your GDP, take a look at your jobs, take a look at your optimism.
TRUMP: Take a look at all of the charts. When I took over from election day on, I mean, you show me one chart which, where I did --
TODD [reminding him that he already showed him one]: It was the unemployment rate. 
TRUMP: -- well in that too, but I'm not --
TODD [resigned]: Ok.
TRUMP: -- talking about that. Take a look at some of the optimism charts and everything else. It went from 57 to 92. Nobody's ever seen anything that --
TODD: You're right. You're right.
TRUMP: -- right after I won.
TODD [too beaten down to even make him say "consumer confidence"]: The optimism, you're right.
TRUMP [suggesting "of course I'm right, I'm a businessman", meaning a conman whose success is dependent on the audience's faith]: Well, optimism is a big part of success in business. Okay.

The optimism, he's wrong, like, totally. The rise "from 57 to 92" was part of the immense return of confidence of the Obama years. The number plunged, though not drastically, on Trump's inauguration, then largely resumed the Obama rise but at a slower pace through late 2018 when it began to decline again, on its inevitable road to the 2020 recession.
And just one more—
TODD: By the way, why is the economy doing so well if Obamacare is still law of the land? You had said in 2011 --
TRUMP: We are managing --
TODD: -- "Obamacare's going to destroy the economy." Obamacare's still here and --
TRUMP: Because I've managed it great.
TODD: -- the economy's great.
TRUMP [no, not just the economy; "Obamacare's great since I'm in charge of it"]: I had a choice. I could have let it implode and killed it or I could have managed it --
TODD [referring to the Texas v. Azar suit in which the Trump administration is siding against its own HHS secretary]: You're still trying to kill it.
TRUMP [clearly unaware, at least tactically]: No, no.
TODD [didn't even hear this idiotic denial]: Why are you still trying to kill it with the getting rid of preexisting -- If you -- This lawsuit that the Department of Justice joined, it could get rid of --
TRUMP: I am in favor --
TODD: -- coverage of preexisting conditions.
TRUMP: I am in favor of preexisting conditions. [aren't we all? I certainly agree that there should always be conditions existing before other conditions obtain] I am fighting --
TODD: So get rid -- so drop the lawsuit.
TRUMP: We will --
TODD [getting a little unclear on the facts, which is that the suit aims to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act, and DOJ doesn't have the option of choosing which bits it would like to support]: So drop your aspect of the lawsuit.
TRUMP [not seeing the relevance]: It has nothing to do with it. The lawsuit is one thing. We are going to put in a bill, total preexisting conditions. And the Republicans are in favor of preexisting conditions.
TODD: Mr. President, you had full Republican control and they couldn't pass anything.
TRUMP: Chuck, are you ready?
TODD: What makes you think you're going to get it done this time?
TRUMP [it's McCain being dead, and nothing to do with the House of Representatives being in Democratic hands now]: We had a negative vote from John McCain. It was a surprising vote. [besides, that was successful too] But I got rid of the worst part of Obamacare which was the individual mandate.
TODD [defeated again]: Ok.
TRUMP [so much better at Obamacare than Obama was, even though he doesn't even like it]: We will always protect pre-existing conditions. And the reason Obamacare continues is my decision. [he's so great even he is surprised] Wait, I made a big decision.

What's Chuck supposed to do with this? I'm starting to think E. Jean Carroll may have provided the best description of his technique when she says you think it's hilarious until you realize he's got it halfway in or all the way and you're not sure which.

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