Friday, October 14, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: From Here to Apocalypse

I'm struggling for a way to say this without minimizing all the revelations that have come before.  But this one has a personal resonance.

The Daily Beast quotes multiple sources from The Apprentice/Celebrity Apprentice set that Trump repeatedly mocked deaf actor Marlee Matlin and called her "retarded" during the weeks she was a guest on the show.  Some of his insulting behavior was while she was present.

Marlee Matlin won the Academy Award for Best Actress for the film Children of a Lesser God.  She is the only deaf performer to win a best acting Oscar.  She won an Emmy for best guest actress in a comedy, and another for best guest actress in a drama.  She had a recurring role as a crack political consultant in The West Wing.

Matlin was no stranger to abuse, including sexual abuse.  People magazine also published the charges by actor Richard Hatch, another Apprentice guest, that Trump made frequent sexual comments to her, among others.  Matlin herself has made no accusations, at least not yet.  But at the moment I'm writing this, only The Daily Beast and Taegan Goddard's Political Wire have posted anything on this.

There were three significant speeches on Thursday, if you count Trump's rant on the international conspiracy against, well, him.  The first was the Michelle Obama speech which I include and quote from in this post below.  The second was President Barack Obama in Ohio.  While the First Lady went directly after Trump for his vileness towards women, the President made a significant move: he went after Republicans, and had the Ohio Dem senatorial candidate Ted Strickland at his side.

It must have been a cathartic speech.  From the WPost account:

"But so the problem is not that all Republicans think the way this guy does. The problem is, is that they’ve been riding this tiger for a long time,” Obama said, referring to those who questioned whether he was born in the United States, those who called him “the antichrist” and subscribers to other conspiracy theories. “They’ve been feeding their base all kinds of crazy for years, primarily for political expedience.”

"Riding the tiger" refers to the folk saying that President Kennedy capsulized in his Inaugural: Those who try to ride the back of the tiger may wind up inside.  And in this case winding up inside means riding Trump to ruin:

“People like Ted’s opponent, they just stood by while this happened,” Obama said, referring to Portman. "And Donald Trump, as he’s prone to do, he didn’t build the building himself, but he just slapped his name on it and took credit for it."

“And if your only organizing principle has been to block progress and block what we've tried to do to help the American people every step of the way, so you're not even consistent anymore -- you claim the mantle of the party of family values, and this is the guy you nominate? “You're the party that is tough on foreign policy and opposes Russia--and then you nominate this guy, whose role model is Vladimir Putin, the former head of the KGB?"

Late Thursday a NYTimes story reports that some big GOP donors are calling on the RNC to cut ties with Trump. This follows an NBC report that some fairly major Trump bundlers and donors are asking for their money back.

And speaking of the Times, they've replied to Trump's lawyer threatening a suit for libel because of the Times report yesterday concerning two women who charged Trump with acts that qualify as sexual assault.  The first part of the letter was briskly legalistic, noting that Trump has no more reputation to impugn, due to a lot that's already out there.

But the letter ends by defending its right to publish the story.  "If Mr. Trump...believes that American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us and those who would dare to criticize him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight."

Finally for now--remember when Hillary Clinton jokingly asked an audience why she wasn't ahead by 50 points?  She may have been thinking about this poll, which I've just seen referenced (in a column that is otherwise a personal response to the Trump tape.)  It seems there was a national poll that showed 80% for Clinton and just 20% for Trump.  So that's actually 60 points.  The nation however was Canada.  Trump didn't carry a single province, and got 27% of the men's, 13% of the women's votes.

It seems the Canadians are more broadly aware of what Hillary Clinton told the writer of a very good profile in the NYTimes Magazine: "I'm the last thing standing between you and the apocalypse."

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