Sunday, February 19, 2017

Very Special Friends

A reliable source quotes Paul Newman's Henry Gondorff in The Sting (1973) remarking "You gotta keep his con even after you take him. He can't know that you took him."

Donald Trump's supporters are probably a long way from figuring out they're being taken, and Trump knows it.

Yesterday in Melbourne, Florida the President warned "You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.

Who would have believed it, indeed? No doubt most of Trump's supporters there and throughout the USA believe something happened in Sweden Friday night, and still do.  Fortunately, it was just another of Trump's fantasies because nothing happened in Sweden Friday except cold weather. Its last terrorist attack occurred in 2010, despite its acceptance of 200,000 refugees from the greater Middle East.

That led Charles Pierce not only to quote the fictional Gondorff  but to tweet "If you haven't seen Frederic Douglasss's oration in memory of the victims of the Bowling Green Massacre in Stockholm, go to YouTube now."

Trump's assiduous avoidance of truth reflects a central fact of his appeal and danger. At the Melbouren rally, he claimed "I'm here because I want to be among my friends and among the people."

But during the transition period, he was singing a different tune to members at a reception at  his New Jersey club. With an admission fee of $100,000 ($200,000 since the election), they are not the "friends and the people" who came out for him on Friday, nor the white working-class folks who attached their fears and dreams, mostly fears, to him on November 9.    Instead

“So, this is my real group,” Trump said at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, on November 18, according to the audiotape. “These are the people that came here in the beginning, when nobody knew what this monster was gonna turn out to be, right?”

Trump had a packed schedule of meetings that weekend less than two weeks after the election. On the Saturday after the cocktail party, Trump met with Mitt Romney, Michelle Rhee, Betsy DeVos, Todd Ricketts, Bob Woodson, Lew Eisenberg and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong. On Sunday, John Gray, Kris Kobach, Wilbur Ross, Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani, Robert Johnson and David McCormick all schlepped out to Bedminster for meetings.He added: “I see all of you. I recognize, like 100 percent of you, just about"... 

The President asked this salt-of-the-earth bunch for suggestions on how to run the federal government and

The supportive crowd ate it up as the relaxed Trump, in his element, gave them a close-up view of how he was setting up the government. “You are the special people,” he told the crowd of about 100 members, who mingled around a sushi station served by a waiter wearing a camouflage “Make America Great Again” cap.

Donald Trump promised to "drain the swamp," never mentioning he was going to refill it with alligators, including Steve Mnuchin, whose net worth of $400 million was fueled by turning OneWest into a foreclosure machine.

Odds are fairly good that Trump's Melbourne crowd of 9,000 included a few supporters his new Treasury Secretary foreclosed upon in the audition for leadership in an administration shaping up as a Wall Street reunion.

Trump gave his supporters in Florida what they came for, repeated lies interspersed with red meat. But the biggest lie was the least complicated: I am here for you.   He's here for some people, but they're the ones he so flattered at the Bedminster, New Jersey Golf Club.  For all the others, he'll keep the con going and going.

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