Today's question is: how stupid does he think they are?
Elizabeth Spiers was editor for 20 months earlier this decade of the New York Observer, when its owner was Jared Kushner. When she appeared on Ari Melber's "The Beat" on August 31, she had with the host an intriguing exchange (transcript here, video here):
SPIERS: Yes, I mean, we – Trump was running in the 2011-2012 cycle, but didn`t have the traction that he had in the last cycle. And so, the paper had to cover Trump in the sense that not as much as we ever cover national politics. We were aggregating stories. So this would come up routinely.
And at one point, we aggregated a relatively neutral story from the Times, but it happened to have some negative information and then Jared wanted to discuss it. And I said, well, you know, we`re just taking the neutral summary of it. And he said, well, Elizabeth, you know, if you spent time with my father in law, you`d really like him.
And I said, well, that might be true, but it really wouldn`t change the way the paper covered him. Then I said, I have to be honest with you, your father in law has done some things that I find morally repellent. And he said, like what? And I brought up the birther stuff. He said I just find it categorically – it`s racist. And he looked at me and said, well Elizabeth, you know, he doesn`t mean any of those things, he`s just saying it because he thinks Republicans are dumb and they`ll buy it.
MELBER: Kushner said that he – Kushner said he thought that Donald Trump thought Republicans were dumb.
SPIERS: Yes. And there`s a possibility here that Jared is lying to me because he thinks that that`s a more palatable answer. But either way, I mean, it says something about both of their characters, regardless of which version is true.
MELBER: And we`ve got to go. Was there anyone else in the room or that he just said he is proud of.
SPIERS: Yes, he just said this to me in a meeting we had.
If asked, Kushner undoubtedly would deny making such a comment, or the substance of the meeting, or having had the meeting at all. But it's very hard to disbelieve Spiers' contention. Politico today reports
President Donald Trump on Thursday denied that he struck an agreement with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to provide a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants known as “Dreamers,” tweeting that “no deal was made last night."
His tweets came hours after congressional aides briefed on the meeting between the president and Pelosi and Schumer said the trio had reached a tentative agreement to beef up border security in exchange for helping young immigrants brought to the country illegally gain citizenship.
The framework, hatched at an unusual dinner hosted by Trump, would exclude funding for the border wall, Pelosi and Schumer said in a statement.
And notably the agreement does not thus far include House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-Ky.), whom Trump spurned for Pelosi and Schumer on a fiscal deal last week.
So far, everything is as would be expected. Trump wants to spite his enemies of the moment, Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell. He makes a deal, has his pockets picked, then denies having made it.
That's his modus operandi. But then there is
Trump, facing backlash from conservatives after news of a deal emerged, on Thursday morning didn’t deny that building the border wall could be separate from any DACA deal. But he emphasized that the wall, which he says is currently under construction “in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built.”
The wall is in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls (and) will continue to be built.
A wall is not a fence. Renovation of an existing item is not construction of a new item. Continuing his business model, Donald Trump is fleecing his customers again.
He told us he would, however. After a March, 2016 on-the-record interview with The New York Times, he told the interviewees off-the-record what he really thinks about illegal immigration. And he more famously challenged his supporters when he told them they'd still back him if he shot someone in full view on the streets of Manhattan. Earlier, he had displayed how contemptuous he is of the fundamental rituals of Christianity and of how he insignificant he finds God.
David Frum tweets today "regular reminder that Donald Trump's core competency is not deal-making. It's duping gullible customers."So how stupid does he think they are? Stupid enough that even after he has begun to sell them down the river on The Wall, he's betting most still support him. Disturbingly, we'll find out again that as bad a dealmaker as he is, Donald Trump is a pretty good poker player.