Donald Trump has a genius for picking the worst possible person for any job. These days, the nation hears the words “You’re hired,” and it trembles.
The man can’t even come up with a doctor who isn’t a disaster. His cabinet members are recycling like empty soda cans. His E.P.A. head alone is facing at least 11 federal investigations.
Now he’s got Rudy Giuliani. Has anybody managed to create so much chaos so fast?
“Rudy is a great guy, but he just started a day ago,” Trump said on Friday, referring to the lawyer he hired last month. “He’ll get his facts straight.”
Yes, world, here’s my new high-powered lawyer who’s going to straighten out the debacle that is my presidency. I have total confidence that he’ll eventually figure out how to discuss the case accurately.
Giuliani made headlines this week when he went on Fox News and delivered a surprise announcement — that Trump had reimbursed his lawyer Michael Cohen for that $130,000 porn star payoff.
It was a stunning revelation to all Americans who had believed Cohen’s claim that he raised the money by borrowing against his home equity line of credit.
But the point was to try to eliminate any suspicion that the $130,000 involved a campaign finance law violation. “Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll (sic) in this transaction,” twittered Trump. As only he can.
“This was for personal reasons,” Giuliani told “Fox & Friends.” “This was the president had been hurt, personally, not politically, personally so much. And the first lady, by some of the false allegations, that one more false allegation, six years old.”
Wow, Trump’s new lawyer talks just like him.
So it comes down to this: The $130,000 that Stormy Daniels got to keep quiet during the campaign was from Trump. But it was not an illicit campaign contribution. Nonono, it was simply a charitable attempt to protect Melania from a broken heart.
To come to this conclusion you would only have to do two things:
A) Forget that on Thursday Giuliani said it had to be paid because “Imagine if that came out … in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton.”
B) Conclude that in buying off Stormy, Donald Trump was much, much more concerned about his wife’s feelings than about getting elected president.
Trump and Giuliani go way back. They’re New Yorkers with lots in common, including three wives each, and a history of messy public breakups. (Trump carried on the adulterous affair that ended his first marriage, a story he promoted to the New York tabloids. Giuliani once announced his separation to the press corps before he told his wife.)
The president reportedly bragged that he was hiring “America’s mayor” as his first line of defense. It was, of course, a reference to Giuliani’s role leading New York City after 9/11. During a recovery made even more difficult by the fact that Rudy had insisted on putting the city’s emergency command center in the World Trade Center, which had already been bombed by terrorists once and which the police warned was a terrible location.
Both men hyped their post-9/11 activities, each in his own special way. Trump seems to have imagined he visited the ruins immediately after the attack. Rudy did go there repeatedly, taking visitors to watch the workers who were laboring to clear the site in the toxic dust without protective gear.
Back then, what would you have said if someone told you that Mayor Giuliani would eventually devote his legal skills to defending President Donald Trump from a porn star scandal? Yet here we are.
Part of their rapidly evolving line of defense involves Trump giving Michael Cohen a kind of monthly retainer that he could dip into any time somebody needed to be paid off. “These agreements are very common among celebrities and people of wealth,” Trump tweeted.
O.K., Trump base, how does that hit you? It’s not surprising that you’ve pretty much ignored the sex scandal. But do you want a president who thinks of himself as a member of the untouchable elite — folks who’ve got their own faithful retainers trotting at their heels, tossing out money to make unpleasant things like cranky ex-lovers go away?
Giuliani’s ability to put his foot in his mouth is so spectacular, you kind of expect him to be recruited by Cirque du Soleil. In a sit-down with Sean Hannity, he threatened to “get on my charger and go right into their offices with a lance” if investigators “go after Ivanka.” Asked about her husband, Giuliani said that Jared Kushner was probably “a fine man. … But men are, you know, disposable.”
O.K., this is offensive. On behalf of all the women of America, I want to say that we do not appreciate the suggestion that we have a right to get off the hook just because of our gender. And since Ivanka seems to think of herself as a feminist, I suggest that she volunteer to be immediately interviewed by the special prosecutor just to strike a blow for equality. ☐
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