The fight is on. Iowa only made things more interesting tonight by refusing to coronate anyone or to hand New Hampshire a template. On the right, Ted Cruz officially won Iowa, Marco Rubio unofficially won, and Donald Trump is still a force in the race. Meanwhile, John Kasich and Chris Christie have been sitting on the bench in New Hampshire ready to pounce. And on the left, a dead heat between the Democratic candidates means that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are still going to have to duke it out going forward.
They will get their chance this Wednesday, February 3, when CNN hosts a New Hampshire town hall for the two Democrats. And then on February 6 in Manchester, the Republicans will hold their eighth debate on ABC. The Atlantic’s politics staff will be covering and live-blogging both events as well as the primary itself.
So join us as we wade even deeper into election season. It probably can’t get any weirder. (Right?)
Next on the schedule: the New Hampshire primary on February 9. Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Chris Christie skipped tonight’s theatrics in the heartland, in favor of continuing their campaigns in New Hampshire. During a speech earlier this evening, Marco Rubio suggested he is heading there overnight, and Carly Fiorina tweeted about 30 minutes ago that she was boarding a plane to the Granite State. For Kasich and Christie in particular, that primary could be a make-or-break contest for their campaigns. Christie told the state’s voters earlier today that “for the next eight days, you are the most powerful people in the world.”
A final tech update: Another declaration of victory tonight comes from Microsoft, which says that the outages on the GOP reporting website was the result of the two parties’ overwhelmed servers—and not its own technology. “The mobile apps for both parties have been working without issue,” the company says.
Summing up the night for Republicans: a huge win for Ted Cruz, a significant loss for Donald Trump, a heartening finish for Marco Rubio, and a devastating loss for Jeb Bush, who should get out of the race.
How close is the Democratic race? Clinton leads right now, 603-600. Yahoo Newsis reporting that in at least two precincts, when voters deadlocked, officials had to resort to the designated tie-breaker method—a coin flip. Hillary Clinton won both tosses. The delegate shares in which the results are reported are complicated, but it's entirely plausible that if those two coin flips had been won by Bernie Sanders, he’d have a 602-601 lead right now.
It’s well known that Republican Party leaders do not want Ted Cruz to win the nomination. But it’s still notable that the statement from Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tonight didn’t even congratulate Cruz or mention the Republican results in Iowa; Priebus spoke only of Democrats and what he called “an unmitigated disaster” for their party.
Clinton: “Here’s what I want you to know: It is rare that we have the opportunity we do now to have a real contest of ideas. To really think hard about what the Democratic Party stands for and what we want the future of out country to look like.” The thing is, just a couple months ago, she was hoping that this would be a contest about her vision of the Democratic Party versus whoever the Republicans would put up. Now she has got the tough task of running against Bernie Sanders first instead. She looks like she might pull off a tight win in Iowa, but she starts far behind him in New Hampshire.
It’s a remarkable night in Iowa. Who would have looked at the Republican horserace a few years ago and picked a couple of candidates with Hispanic roots—Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio—to win and show? But there’s also history on the Democratic side of the aisle tonight. Bernie Sanders isn’t the first Jewish candidate for president. He has been preceded by others, most recently Joe Lieberman. But by splitting the delegates from Iowa tonight, win or lose, he has already become the most successful Jewish candidate for the highest office in the United States. Mazal tov!
Was it the “full Grassley” that sealed it for Cruz? Or a “victory for the grassroots”? It sure wasn’t the media or the Washington establishment or the lobbyists, according to Cruz, who is also quick to point out that his win was the largest in Republican Iowa primary history. Iowa has proclaimed to the world: “Morning is coming.”
Marco Rubio’s surprisingly strong finish tonight has cheered many Republicans, displeased by the choice between Trump and Cruz. But my colleague Peter Beinart warns that, far from a triumph of the establishment, Rubio’s success is a testament to how deeply Donald Trump has reshaped the race: “Trump may have lost in Iowa but Trumpism won. The fact that the moderate in the GOP race is now peddling a version of The Donald’s message testifies to how profound his effect has been. And it’s not likely to dissipate anytime soon.”
Just talked to some Trump supporters at his party in West Des Moines. A woman named Dianne Beilstein told me she had no doubt he would still win the nomination. “Iowans are so conservative, and Donald Trump is flashy,” she said. “He’s from New York—some people here don’t relate to that.”
Candidate speeches are quickly rolling in now. The latest, from Rand Paul, was sunny. A smiling Paul told his backers that “tonight is the beginning”—he’s not dropping out tonight, or anytime soon, it seems. Paul has maintained for weeks now that his campaign is just as viable as those of the top-polling candidates, and Iowa hasn't changed his mind.
Martin O’Malley announces he’s out, as anticipated: “The people have made their choice tonight. ... I am suspending this presidential bid. But I am not [ending] this fight.” He struck a characteristically impassioned tone: “Thank you for allowing me to make this offering out of love.”
Even just a month ago, it would have been surprising to hear a Republican candidate acknowledge that anyone other than Hillary could be the Democratic nominee—she has always been their perfect and inevitable foil. But tonight, both Marco Rubio and Trump talked about taking down “Hillary or Bernie” in the general election.
The fact that Rubio can deliver this as a victory speech is proof of the genius of his campaign’s “3-2-1” spin—the idea that he would place third in Iowa, second in New Hampshire, and win South Carolina. That spin took such firm hold that he’s just acting like third really is a win.
What’s left to watch for tonight? Sure, there’s the Democratic result, but as I scroll through Twitter, the real question for many people seems to be: When will Donald Trump tweet? As he slides to a second-place finish, the Donald’s famed feed is eerily silent.
Marco Rubio’s intro here was almost identical to the first words Barack Obama uttered upon winning the Iowa caucuses in 2008. “They said this day would never come,” Obama said then. Of course, he actually won the caucus that year...
Rubio’s speech is already somewhat surreal: He’s speaking like he has won, even though he placed third. There are shades, perhaps, of Bill Clinton declaring himself “the Comeback Kid” in 1992—after a second-place finish in New Hampshire!
As they have leading up to the Iowa caucuses, the governors in the race are seeing single digits tonight. Jeb Bush stands at 3 percent, Kasich is at 2 percent, and Christie is at 2 percent. It has been a difficult race for governors, who have been drowned out by the outsiders or senators. In the past, governors in pursuit of the Oval Office have fared well. As I noted last year, after Jimmy Carter, three of the next four presidents were likewise onetime governors. But in 2012, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney lost to Obama.
And tonight, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has suspended his campaign.
Andrea Mitchell reports that the Clinton campaign is now “declaring victory.” This isn’t usually how it works, but this is important in light of what happened on the GOP side in 2012: The vote may be so close that nobody emerges the clear winner, and Clinton wants her name to be the headline winner, even if the results aren’t certified. In 2012, Mitt Romney had “won” on caucus night by seven votes, but officially, Rick Santorum ended up winning by 34 votes. With 84 percent of precincts reporting, Clinton is barely ahead: 50.0 percent to 49.3 percent. But because the Iowa Democratic vote is merely an allocation of delegates, it is, for all intents and purposes, a tie.
It’s amazing how quickly the narrative is crystallizing that Trump is over. Don’t get me wrong: This is bad news for Trump, whose brand is based on winning. This was Trump’s first big test, and he failed it. But the road to Iowa is paved with failed predictions that Trump was donezo, finished, over, toast. It might be wise to avoid definitive judgments about what his showing means down the road—as tempting and clear as it seems now
As I saw on the debate circuit in college, Ted Cruz is not one to be underestimated. He won Iowa; think that’s as far as he’ll get, like Santorum last cycle? No way. I’d bet a lot of machine-gun bacon that there’s a big, well-organized plan for what’s next.
The GOP establishment has got to be pretty excited about Marco Rubio's unexpected surge in Iowa tonight, based on early returns. Meanwhile, what does Trump say and do if he loses? Remember, this is a candidate whose pitch is all about how he'll give Americans so much winning that they won't even be able to handle all that winning.
The Trump schadenfreude at this moment is suffocating, from all sides. Republicans, Democrats, and nonaligned pundits alike are crowing at Trump’s failure to deliver on his promise and inability to get voters to the caucuses. On one level, this is the natural pile-on whenever a front-runner gets taken down, but I think there’s also an element of the political class striking back: Trump made them (us) all seem like chumps, and his slippage now seems like a sort of vindication for the old conventional wisdom. But keep in mind: At the moment, Trump is still a solid second, and he heads to New Hampshire with a yuuuge lead in the polls—even if faltering in Iowa takes a bite out of that.
My colleague Clare Foran raised a good point earlier about O’Malley’s significance tonight. Ahead of today’s contest, he suggested he wouldn’t tell supporters which candidate they should back instead of him once he dropped out. “Many” of his backers planned to just go home if his candidacy isn’t viable, O’Malley told Politico.
What’s the state of the race at this hour? First, on the Republican side, everything’s coming up Cruz. Despite early assumptions that strong turnout would be good for Donald Trump, Ted Cruz is soaring, with a lead of several thousand votes and around 28 percent of the vote so far. Trump is second at 25 percent, with Marco Rubio at 22—a solid finish that’s raising eyebrows—and Ben Carson at 10 percent. No one else has more than 5 percent. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton retains an edge, but it has gotten extremely close, with just a couple of percentage points separating them: 51-49. Martin O’Malley is currently at 0 percent, and reportedly will suspend his campaign tonight.
Far from the Iowa precincts, there’s another contest underway tonight: the National Magazine Awards, affectionately known as the “Ellies.” If the Ellies are the magazine industry’s version of the Oscars, then Magazine of the Year is the equivalent of Best Picture. We’re still waiting to see who will win the Iowa caucuses, but we’re delighted to announce that The Atlantic has been named Magazine of the Year.
Tonight, one has to wonder—as many political scientists have since cable television’s rise—how useful the horserace-style coverage of poll results actually is to viewers. Anyone keeping an eye on CNN, for example, has probably noticed that each time a correspondent has reported early poll results, Jake Tapper has chimed in to remind viewers that most of these early results are essentially meaningless.
Some good news for Marco Rubio: Politico reports that Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina will endorse the GOP candidate on Tuesday. That could give Rubio a leg up in South Carolina, where Scott wields political clout. In the meantime, Rubio is trailing Cruz and Trump in early returns out of Iowa. CNN has him at 19 percent compared with 27 percent for Trump and 30 percent for Cruz
Marco Rubio’s campaign desperately wants to beat expectations tonight, as do his many allies in the GOP establishment who believe he is now the party’s best chance in the general election. But what is a good night for Rubio? Does it have to be second place, displacing either Trump or Cruz? Or could it be just a strong third, perhaps topping the 20 percent threshold that he has struggled to reach in polls? Well, right now he’s at 18.9 percent (with 17 percent reporting)—right on that bubble.
If you’re wondering which channel to watch right now, take note: Talking-head commentary isn’t your only option. CSPAN’s three channels are streaming precinct meetings in Iowa. Original-flavor CSPAN and CSPAN2 are showing a Republican caucus in Boone County, and CSPAN2 is showing a Democratic caucus in Polk County, in a Des Moines high school. It’s cool to be able to see the caucusing in action, in real life. (Or as close to IRL as most Americans will get.)
There’s a lot of pressure on Microsoft and InterKnowlogy, the companies that built a new reporting platform for the Iowa Democratic and Republican parties. With help from the companies, the parties trained hundreds of precincts on how to report results through a smartphone app, which would then be reported in real time on the party and news websites. So far, the public Democratic site has held up, but less than an hour after the caucuses began, the Republican site at iagopcaucuses.com began having intermittent outages, with viewers getting messages that the services were unavailable.
Another question looming over the Iowa caucuses tonight is who evangelicals will coalesce behind. Thus far, reports indicate that evangelicals are breaking between Trump and Cruz. A poll earlier this month found that, nationally, 37 percent of white evangelical Republican supporters back Trump compared with Cruz, who stood at 20 percent.
But as my colleague Jonathan Merritt noted earlier today, the split is not unordinary. As he put it: “Many in the media have flat-out missed it, but there is a growing divide between ordinary evangelicals and evangelical leaders.” How that will culminate tonight remains to be seen.
Surprising no one, it’s already looking like a tough night for Martin O’Malley. CNN is reporting early results showing the Democratic presidential long shot is registering 0 percent compared with Hillary Clinton’s 53 percent and Bernie Sanders’s 47 percent . If O’Malley doesn’t get traction that could actually make him more relevant due to the way the caucuses work. As my colleague Nora Kelly explained, if a Democratic candidate fails to reach a certain threshold of support at a caucus, their fans will have the option to defect to a Democratic rival. Fearing that this might benefit Sanders, Clinton’s campaign has trained Iowa caucus leaders to push supporters over to O’Malley in instances where it might strategically choke off support for Sanders.
Because the Democratic caucuses count people standing in various corners of a room instead of secret ballots, the results are coming in a bit quicker on their side. With 17 percent reporting, Clinton has a 53 percent to 47 percent lead. It probably also helps that they have three candidates rather than the crowd running on the GOP side.
Donald Trump in his closing remarks: “We’re not going to be losing anymore… We can’t be defending the world anymore. South Korea, we defend. Germany, we defend. Japan, we defend. Saudi Arabia, we defend."
On the Republican side, 54 percent of caucus-goers have caucused before, while 45 percent have not, according to early entrance polls from CNN. Among the more experienced attendees, 25 percent prefer Senator Ted Cruz. Though that’s only by a small margin.) Trump clocks in at 23 percent support and Marco Rubio, who’s hoping for a third-place finish is at 22 percent. Among the novices, Trump commands a strong lead, at 33 percent, with Rubio next at 21 percent. It’s helpful to remember that like their exit-poll brethren, entrance polls aren’t a sure thing.
I wonder how many Ben Carson voters will wind up supporting Donald Trump. On one hand, he’s the other outsider in the race. On the other hand, fans of Dr. Carson’s soft-spokenness and relative humility could hardly find a more starkly different temperament and affect as the New York billionaire.Ben Carson in final remarks to his supporters: “We Americans must be proud of who we are. We cannot give away our values for the sake of political correctness.”
The early-entrance polls are in, providing insight on Iowa caucus goers. The numbers are still fluid, but so far, on the Democratic side, 60 percent of respondents backing Hillary Clinton say they’ve attended a caucus before, whereas 58 percent of Bernie Sanders’s supporters say they have not. This is what’s unnerving for the Clinton campaign. The race between Clinton and Sanders has tightened in recent weeks, and Sanders appears to have persuaded voters, who traditionally don’t caucus, to come out tonight.
The education split on the GOP side is, well, yuuuge: 18 percent have postgraduate degrees; 18 percent are high school or less. The former rank Cruz, Rubio, and then Trump—but The Donald has 42 percent of the latter.
One thing to watch tonight will be the vote-counting itself: Republicans were embarrassed in 2012 when the man who claimed victory on caucus night, Mitt Romney, turned out to have lost the contest to Rick Santorum by 34 votes when the results were certified days later. This year, both parties have partnered with Microsoft on a new vote-reporting app, with the promise of faster, more accurate results. But as we saw on Election Night 2012 with the Romney campaign’s infamous ORCA program, election software has a bit of a checkered history, and there have already been rumblings by the Sanders campaign about turning such an important function over to a corporation that might have ulterior motives. I wrote in more detail about the new technology last month.
In strange, early-evening news, Ben Carson is reportedly planning to leave Iowa before we know tonight’s results. He'll be traveling to his home in Florida, where he’ll stay for “some R&R,” reports CNN’s Chris Moody. He is expected to emerge on Thursday, when he’ll be attending the National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton in D.C. It’s fitting that Carson, whose unorthodox and disorganized campaign has sagged since its autumn high, is returning to the breakfast this week. That’s where he rose to national prominence in 2013 for knocking political correctness—now a primary buzzword—and the Obama administration in a speech in front of the president. Perhaps he’s hoping a good showing at the breakfast could mean more to his campaign than stumping in New Hampshire? Moody reports he's planning to stick it out in the race “no matter” the results.
CNN is reporting “unusually high” turnout at GOP caucus sites, but no entrance polls have been submitted yet. If that turns out to be the case, it would speak to Donald Trump’s ability to mobilize first-time voters. In the last election cycle, more than 121,000 Iowans voted in the Republican caucuses, according to The Washington Post. Caucus-goers are typically more active in their respective parties. High turnout would be significant for Trump. But it’s equally important for Bernie Sanders who has also worked to appeal to nontraditional voters.
After an incumbent president and a milquetoast challenger last time around, America deserves 2016: an anti-establishmentarian, at times vaudevillian, pundit-confounding race for the ages.
It started in March with Ted Cruz, who was the first to announce his candidacy and who called on “courageous conservatives” to join him. But it was dozens of conservative competitors who joined him, making the Republican field so unwieldy that “undercard” is now part of America’s political lexicon. Hillary Clinton announced with a video that made her seem downright warm and Jeb Bush announced with a speech that deftly deployed his fluent Spanish—tactics both have since abandoned. And then there’s Donald Trump, who literally hired a crowd to populate his announcement speech, cheer for his xenophobia, and pretend to support his candidacy. How far the nation has come.
Tonight, the good people of Iowa will take Americans one step closer to detangling the dizzying array of contenders: Huckabee, Santorum, Bush, Rubio, Paul, Fiorina, Christie, Kasich, Carson, O’Malley, Sanders, Clinton. (The sheer volume of ads these Iowans have consumed astonishes the mind.) To make the night even more exciting, The Atlantic has a brand-new, shiny toy: a delegate tracker—to help you sort through all the rural, urban, educated, not educated, and evangelical votes—powered by live caucus results.
Epic yet intimate, the director's new war film is boldly experimental and visually stunning.
What is Dunkirk?
The answer is more complicated than one might imagine. Director Christopher Nolan’s latest is a war film, of course, yet one in which the enemy scarcely makes an appearance. It is a $150 million epic, yet also as lean and spare as a haiku, three brief, almost wordless strands of narrative woven together in a mere 106 minutes of running time. It is classic in its themes—honor, duty, the horror of war—yet simultaneously Nolan’s most radical experiment since Memento. And for all these reasons, it is a masterpiece.
The historical moment captured by the film ascended long ago to the level of martial lore: In May 1940, in the early days of World War II, some 400,000 British and Allied troops were flanked and entrapped by Germany on the beaches of Dunkirk in northern France. Although the Channel was narrow enough that the men could almost see across to England, the waters were too shallow for warships to approach the beaches. So a flotilla of some 700 civilian craft—the “Little Ships of Dunkirk”—made their way from Ramsgate in England to assist in the rescue.
Many point to unromantic 20-somethings and women’s entry into the workforce, but an overlooked factor is the trouble young men have in finding steady, well-paid jobs.
TOKYO—Japan’s population is shrinking. For the first time since the government started keeping track more than a century ago, there were fewer than 1 million births last year, as the country’s population fell by more than 300,000 people. The blame has long been put on Japan’s young people, who are accused of not having enough sex, and on women, who, the narrative goes, put their careers before thoughts of getting married and having a family.
But there’s another, simpler explanation for the country’s low birth rate, one that has implications for the U.S.: Japan’s birth rate may be falling because there are fewer good opportunities for young people, and especially men, in the country’s economy. In a country where men are still widely expected to be breadwinners and support families, a lack of good jobs may be creating a class of men who don’t marry and have children because they—and their potential partners—know they can’t afford to.
The White House is threatening the special counsel and trying to dig up dirt on him, and the prospect that the president will try to fire him now seems very real.
The idea that Donald Trump might fire—or try to fire—Special Counsel Robert Mueller has bubbled up enough times to seem possible, but still improbable. For one thing (as Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer, among others, can attest) press reports that this president might fire someone are frequently wrong. For another, it seemed that even Trump was prudent enough to avoid making the mistake that ended Richard Nixon’s presidency.
Yet Trump has a knack for making the wildly implausible suddenly imminent. In the last 36 hours, the idea of Mueller being fired—and the political crisis it would likely set off—has become distinctly real. In an interview with The New York Times, Trump all but said he would fire Mueller if his investigation went into places Trump didn’t like. Since then, several reports have suggested that Trump’s defense strategy, as investigations probe deeper into his life and administration, is to attack Mueller and attempt to discredit him. Increasingly, the operative question seems not to be whether Trump will try to fire Mueller, but when he will do so and what will push him over the edge.
A new report from The Washington Post claims the attorney general had two “substantive” discussions with Sergey Kislyak about Trump’s stance on issues important to Russia.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed matters related to the Trump campaign with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador to the United States, while the 2016 U.S. presidential race was ongoing, current and former U.S. officials toldThe Washington Post on Friday.
The revelations, based on intelligence intercepts of Kislyak’s communications, contradict Sessions’s sworn testimony before the Senate; first that he had no contacts with Russian officials during the campaign, and later his amended testimony that the contacts he had were not campaign-related.
John Q. Barrett, a law professor at St. Johns University and a former associate counsel in the office of the special prosecutor during the Iran-Contra affair, said the nature of the evidence made a perjury prosecution against Sessions unlikely because Kislyak would probably not agree to be a U.S. government witness, and because of the difficulty of using intelligence intercepts as evidence in court.
On Flower Boy the rapper suggests he’s not straight—and struggles with a stigma he helped propagate.
Tyler, the Creator became famous, in part, for being hateful. When his rap collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (“Odd Future” is fine) caught buzz around 2010, it was because of their delirious energy and Eminem-like love of mayhem. But it was their threats against women and “faggots,” delivered in song and on social media, that elevated them from subculture phenomenon to become essay prompt and political flashpoint. The likes of GLAAD and the band Tegan and Sara declared Tyler poisonous and asked the music industry to stop supporting him. Theresa May, back when she was home secretary of the U.K., took the extraordinary step of banning him from her country because his lyrics “encourage violence and intolerance of homosexuality.”
Where the insurgency is concerned, Trump and Obama have plenty in common.
This week, the Trump administration reportedly cancelled a long-running covert program to support vetted Syrian rebels in the war against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. While this move has provoked a small outcry among Assad’s opponents, the development itself is far from surprising. Furthermore, it is incorrect, as some have insisted, to viewthe cancellation as a gratuitous concession to Russia—a decision like this, which aligns with years of deliberate U.S. strategy and Trump’s own stated goals, cannot be considered a concession. It is almost certainly true that Trump hopes this decision will make Russia more cooperative on ceasefires between the regime and the insurgency. But if that does not happen or if it fails to pacify Syria—a likely outcome—this would not alter an already-dismal strategic situation for the Syrian opposition, one that may well be acceptable to the United States.
If Trump were right to blame all of his problems on messaging, perhaps the smooth-talking businessman could solve them. But he’s not.
Watching Anthony Scaramucci’s formal introduction as White House communications director on Friday, it was clear why President Trump wanted him for the gig.
Even though he’s never worked as a spokesman for anyone other than himself (and a great spokesman he was, bringing wide renown to an underachieving hedge fund), Scaramucci looked at home behind the lectern in the White House Briefing Room. Moreover, he was everything that Sean Spicer—the long-suffering press secretary who announced his resignation today—was not.
Where Spicer was nervous, tentative, and likely to stumble over his words, Scaramucci was smooth, relaxed, and confident. Where Spicer’s suits were often ill-fitting, Scaramucci was sharply tailored. Where Spicer was a career cog in the Republican machine, Scaramucci is a swaggering New Yorker who speaks in the same clunky business pidgin as the president and can drop names nearly as prodigiously too. (Goldman Sachs, Yankees president Randy Levine, and Harvard Law School were a few of Scaramucci’s mentions during his brief spell at the mic.) Where Spicer’s professions of praise for the president always seemed mousy, pleading, perhaps a little browbeaten, Scaramucci brought the sincere sycophancy that comes from truly adoring Donald Trump. When did Spicer ever say he “loves” the president?
The choice of the former hedge funder and ardent Trump loyalist reflected longstanding dissatisfaction with Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
The Scaramucci revolution was televised.
After months of chatter that his job was on the chopping block, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer finally exited stage right on Friday after financier, donor and TV talking head Anthony Scaramucci was given the job of White House communications director, which had been vacant since the departure of Mike Dubke in May. Spicer resigned in opposition to the move.
The incident brought simmering conflicts inside the White House to a boil and pitted top advisers against each other in a last-minute effort on the part of some of them to stymie the appointment of Scaramucci, known as “The Mooch,” who had refashioned himself as an ardent Trump supporter during the campaign and had been left in limbo during the early days of the administration after not getting a promised job.
The transcript of the president’s conversation with The New York Times throws his shortcomings into greater relief than ever before.
“Now Donald Trump has finally done it” is a sentence many people have said or written, but which has never yet proven true. As Trump gained momentum during the campaign season, errors that on their own would have stopped or badly damaged previous candidates bounced right off.
These ranged from mocking John McCain as a loser (because “I like people who weren’t captured”), to being stumped by the term “nuclear triad” (the weapons of mass destruction that he as U.S. president now controls), to “when you’re a star ... you can grab ‘em by the pussy” (my onetime employer Jimmy Carter had to spend days in the 1976 campaign explaining away his admission to Playboy that he had sometimes felt “lust in the heart”), to being labelled by an in-party opponent a “pathological liar,” “utterly amoral,” and “a narcissist at a level I don't think this country's ever seen” (the words of his now-supporter Ted Cruz). I kept my list of 152 such moments in the Time Capsule series as the campaign went on.
Like many current presidential advisers, the new White House communications director and former Wall Street financier made a quick pivot from Trump basher to Trump loyalist.
Like many of Donald Trump’s closest non-family advisers, Anthony Scaramucci traveled a circuitous route into the inner orbit of the mercurial president.
The Wall Street financier and former Obama donor once called then-candidate Trump “a hack politician,” a big-mouthed “bully,” and “an inherited money dude from Queens County” and backed two other Republican presidential contenders, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush, before embracing Trump as the party’s nominee.
Nearly two years later, Scaramucci, 52, is one of Trump’s most aggressive television surrogates and, as of Friday morning, the White House communications director.
In truth, the smooth-talking Long Island native—nicknamed “the Mooch”—made the transition from Trump basher to Trump loyalist quicker than many Republicans. After a 90-minute meeting with the candidate at Trump Tower in June 2016, Scaramucci was fully onboard and soon praised Trump as “a results-oriented entrepreneur capable of delivering bipartisan solutions to common-sense problems.” The soon-to-be GOP nominee, Scaramucci added, was “the only candidate giving an honest assessment of our country’s ideological decay.”