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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Vipers and Riffraff


At The Guardian, Lloyd Green reviews Team of Vipers, a tell-all by former Trump staffer Cliff Sims.
Sarah Sanders, Trump’s press secretary, possessed a casual attitude toward truth-telling when it came to the press, according to the book. In Sims’ words, Sanders “didn’t press as hard as she could have for the rock-bottom truth”, adding that her “gymnastics with the truth would tax even the nimblest of prevaricators, and Sanders was not that”. At least Sims believes that Sanders was not a “natural liar”.

Likewise, Kellyanne Conway, the high priestess of “alternative facts”, comes in for her share of incoming. Sims spills the beans on Conway repeatedly trashing Jared Kushner, Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon and Sean Spicer to the mainstream media, while recounting to the press ostensibly private conversations with the president.
While none of this is exactly news, it places Conway in the realm of performance artists. Think Roger Stone, without the special counsel breathing down her neck, a Nixon tattoo on her back or an organic attachment to the president. Who can forget Conway’s visual perorations on the word “collusion”? As Sims put it, “Kellyanne stood in a class of own in terms of her machinations – I had to admire her sheer gall.”
At Axios, Mike Allen excerpts Chris Christie's book, Let Me Finish:
Donald so urgently needed the right people around him and a solid structure in place. ... Far too often, he’s found himself saddled with the riffraff. ...
Instead of high-quality, vetted appointees for key administration posts, he got the Russian lackey and future federal felon Michael Flynn as national security adviser. He got the greedy and inexperienced Scott Pruitt as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
He got the high-flying Tom Price as health and human services secretary. He got the not-ready-for-prime-time Jeff Sessions as attorney general, promptly recusing himself from the Justice Department’s Russian-collusion probe. He got a stranger named Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. ...
He got the Apprentice show loser Omarosa Manigault in whatever Omarosa’s job purported to be. (I never could figure that one out.) ... Too few Kellyanne Conways. A boatload of Sebastian Gorkas. Too few Steven Mnuchins.