Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016

WASHINGTON — The problems that bother us most are the ones we bring on ourselves. This is why Republicans are so out of sorts with Donald Trump. The party created the rough beast it is now trying to slay.

When Trump gave out Lindsey Graham’s cellphone number on Tuesday at an event in the South Carolina senator’s home state, he did it to show he wasn’t backing down after his outlandish attacks on Sen. John McCain’s status as a war hero. But he was also making clear to the Republicans assailing him that he really does have their number.

Graham had called Trump a “jackass” for dissing McCain’s sacrifice. The Donald wanted to document that Republicans now so horrified by his bombast once fell all over themselves to pander to him in quests for his help and seal of approval.

“Hey, didn’t this guy call me, like, four years ago?” he asked about Graham. According to the Republicans’ provocateur-in-chief, Graham wanted a “good reference” to Fox & Friends, a show on the network that conservatives revere, and then whether “he could come and see me for some campaign contribution.”

Trump claimed he still had the card on which he had scribbled down Graham’s cell number and read it out. It was Trump’s evidence that Graham had cozied up to him.

We can’t know exactly what was said in that friendly chat, but Trump’s story rings true because Republican politicians have been more than happy to seek his help and overlook every kooky and appalling thing he said — as long as the celebrity put his fame and dollars to work to elect Republicans other than himself.

Trump struck again on Wednesday, tweeting a picture with another of his Donald-come-lately critics, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, “in my office last cycle playing nice and begging for my support and money. Hypocrite!”

The bowing before Trump, you’ll recall, was happening when the man was the midwife of birtherism. Over and over, he questioned whether President Obama was eligible to be in office because he had allegedly not been born in the United States.

“Now, he doesn’t have his birth certificate or he’s not showing it,” Trump said in a typical comment on CNN in 2011. “So it’s a very strange situation. … The fact is, if he wasn’t born in this country, he shouldn’t be the president of the United States.” Even when Obama produced his certificate in late April of that year, Trump did not back off, because, he explained, “a lot of people do not think it was an authentic certificate.”

Graham, to his credit, took Trump to task for continuing his birther ways, though Graham did so gently (on Fox News, of course) by noting dutifully that “there’s a lot of things Mr. Trump can be proud of.”

That’s a long way from “jackass,” and other Republicans were even more eager just to hug Trump close. When he accepted Trump’s endorsement during the 2012 Republican primaries, Mitt Romney was giddy about how cool it was to be with the man who emblazons his name on gaudy hostelries.

“There are some things that you just can’t imagine happening in your life,” Romney enthused when he got Trump’s backing at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. “This is one of them. Being in Donald Trump’s magnificent hotel and having his endorsement is a delight. I am so honored and pleased.”

And if you believe Trump is alone in seeing himself as one of our country’s great gifts to public policy, think again. Romney praised Trump for his “extraordinary ability to understand how our economy works and to create jobs” and for being “one of the few who has stood up to say China is cheating” on trade. For Republicans, Trump was a genius until he wasn’t.

NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Perry on Meet the Press last Sunday if Republicans are confronting a “reap-what-you-sow issue” with Trump. Perry’s reply was lame: “I’ll suggest to you we’re seeing the real Donald Trump now.”

Sorry, but the real Donald Trump has been in full view for a long time, and Perry’s new glasses can’t explain his newfound clarity. I don’t credit Trump with much. But he deserves an award for exposing the double standards of Republican politicians. They put their outrage in a blind trust as long as Trump was, in Perry’s words, “throwing invectives in this hyperbolic rhetoric out there” against Obama and the GOP’s other enemies.

Only now are they willing to say: “You’re fired.” No wonder Trump is laughing.

E.J. Dionne’s email address is [email protected] Twitter: @EJDionne.

  • Dominick Vila

    The challenge for all Republicans running for President, indeed, for all politicians running for President, is that Trump’s arrogant and abrasive remarks reflect the frustrations and fears of the electorate. People are tired of voting for politicians who say one thing, and do the opposite once they are elected. People are tired of promises and seldom seeing the results of those promises. And many among us are afraid of the socio-economic, and geo-political changes that are in taking place both at home and abroad. For those consumed by hatred, fear, and a sense of inadequacy, Trump’s remarks, no matter how outlandish they may be, are like a breath of fresh air.
    Humor, such as Graham’s response to Trump’s decision to make his cell phone number public, and McCain’s mature responses, are as good as any, but they don’t really address or deal with the political phenomena we are seeing.
    Both Republicans and Democrats need to analyze what is happening, the root causes of the discontent that is evident throughout the USA at a time of economic prosperity, a skyrocketing stock market, low unemployment, and relative peace. If we do that what we will find is that the prosperity that is should be evident to everyone is, precisely, part of the problem. Why the wealthiest 10% of our population enjoys all the luxuries that money can buy, the other 90% is struggling to get by. Wages are stagnant, companies prefer to hire part timers to pay less and to offer no benefits to increase profit margins, young Americans graduate from college with huge student debt that take years to repay, buying a house is becoming a dream for millions of young Americans, and the hope we once had of a better life for our children is rapidly becoming an unattainable chimera. Those are the realities that Donald Trump is exploiting and using to rise to the top…without ever offering tangible solutions to our problems. Whomever seizes and feeds from those fears or uncertainties to convey a message of hope will win the 2016 election.

    • jamesowens

      problem is trumps way furthers the problems he calls out what is wrong but is in support of the causes of it

      • Dominick Vila

        Donald Trump is not interested in problem solving. That’s something that potential subordinates will have to worry about, not him. He is using his podium, popularity, wealth, and arrogance to rise to the top. Solutions to problems are not even an afterthought. He controls the media, public opinion and, by default, the agenda. If we look carefully at what is happening, he got the rest of the GOP field of candidates dancing to the tune he plays. The same way Bernie Sanders is doing to Democrats, albeit for the fact that Bernie talks about issues and potential solutions, rather than casting insults, threats, and by intimidating his opponents the way a high school bully does to his peers. I am convinced that most Republicans, especially the old fashioned ones whose opposition to Democratic policies was based on the belief that they had better and more effective solutions to common problems, will reject Donald’s candidacy. Whether or not there are enough of them to stop the Donald, or enough of them to bother to vote, is another matter.

        • Karen Bille-Golden

          I’m waiting for his “pearls of wisdom” when he visits th

        • jamesowens

          you are correct good luck convincing anyone on this sie

    • joe schmo

      Wow! Dominick…..I am truly impressed…..

    • neeceoooo

      Very insightful, I truly enjoy this read and agree but I am still concerned that he will be our next president.

      • Canistercook

        And I am concerned that wish-washy Hillary might be!

    • 13observer

      Accurate except for the “90% struggling to get by” part. I think what you meant to say was; the top 10% have most of the wealth while the bottom 30% are struggling and everyone in between is affected by both but it varies greatly to the degree of which end of the 60% scale you are.

    • 1Zoe55

      My fear is that one of these right-wing nuts will be elected. The solutions they do offer is enough to scare the hell out of most of us, such as privatizing social security and reducing Medicare. I will never understand how the retired, elderly in this country vote for these idiot republicans. And, one last thought, we really need to keep religion out of our government. Thanks, Dom, for your great insights.

      • Dominick Vila

        Bear in mind that Donald is not offering solutions, he is making unfounded accusations, insulting people, and making threats. Nevertheless, he has managed to identify what troubles a segment of our population, and he is playing them, and the media, like a fiddle.

      • Canistercook

        Perhaps there was a reason the Indian Tribes relied on their elders to guide them!

        • JPHALL

          YOU SAW WHAT HAPPENED TO THE NATIVE AMERICANS. If it wasn’t for gambling, they all would be living in poverty on the reservations.

      • MistressTime

        I think you should put your reply in bold letters. People need to understand what is going to happen to them if they vote these crazy people in. It won’t be anything good for the poor, elderly and disenfranchised. And about religion…there is a reason the founders of America wanted to keep religion out of the public sector. We are seeing the results of it now. Is the Congress a political party or is it a church group??

    • Debra Brooks


      • The lucky one

        We know, we can see the brown ring around your nose from when the Dunnel stopped quickly.

      • MistressTime

        Donald Trump is a loud, ugly, 1950s throwback to a time that was marked by a Communist witch hunt in the entertainment industry. He is not an American Hero.

      • neeceoooo

        Hasn’t school started yet in your state, get out of the sand box and get back in class.

      • Paul Bass

        You do know that anyone who speaks in all caps is considered a loser/idiot don’t you?
        If your argument is so un-intelligent as to require all caps, you’ve pretty much lost.

  • Karen Bille-Golden

    It can be entertaining and refreshing to watch a Republican feast on his own for a change while on his way to becoming the Frankenstein they have every reason to fear. For those who think he’s a breath of fresh air, remember, the air we breathe can often be polluted.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Wow! So VERY cool! Trump slicing and dicing, slashing and burning the Good ole Good ole Good Ole GOP boys network? How amusing.

    I love it. Not that any sane American is going to make Trump a tryant president who knows the “Art of the Deal” like the back of his crooked hand.

    But, how sweet is this revenge now that the GOP is getting a dose of their own medicine from one of their own? How precious will this get, I ask you?

    • 13observer

      Yes, he has “set the pace for the race” in 2016. The winning strategy to take it all is Trump/Cruz 2016! ticket. Hillary is slipping bad in the polls and no one will make a socialist like Bernie president. I told everyone that Americans (democrats included) were very upset about illegal immigration and Trump’s success indicates just that!

      • CrankyToo

        You’re as sharp as a ball bearing.

        • 13observer

          As a matter of fact; ball bearings are not only very useful but also very HARD….. “in your mouth”!

          • CrankyToo

            Thanks for proving my point.

          • fortunev

            See. Told you.

          • CrankyToo

            I’ve had that turkey’s number since he first showed up on this site. I keep waiting for him to say something sensible, but time and again he proves that he’s just your typical wingnut – sharp as a ball bearing.

        • fortunev

          That’s his head.

      • Eleanore Whitaker

        13observer…You cannot be MORE wrong. First of all, Trump won’t even make it to the debate stage. Hillary isn’t slipping…in fact, in the last 4 polls she has Trump beat by 7 points. She has Cruz beat by 8 points. As for Bernie Sanders, what you call “socialism” is your version of “how to keep yourself living off your greed for another 8 years.” Sorry…but your kind never learn the lessons of history.

        What country that has had a revolution has not seen the HAVES take a back seat?

        Americans are not upsets about illegal immigration. They are upset that states that whine and bitch about border patrols and get tens of billions every year of OUR tax dollars are not enforcing ICE laws.

        We don’t blame illegals for wanting a better life. We BLAME men and women HAVES who exploit these illegals and pay their dirt wages so they don’t have to pay American wages. You call that “HAVE socialism.”

        • Debra Brooks


          • The lucky one

            And of course you called for Bush and Cheney’s heads when they committed treason by presenting lies and misinformation to create a phony pretext for war.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            THE HELL YOU DON’T GET TO BLAME OBAMA FOR ILLEGALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Where the hell were you in the 60s when California was hiring illegals as migrant workers? Who was president then? Obama?

            You are so screwed up in the head lady. Let me guess…You’re one of those cowgirls who sucks up the ciggies and two steps on Saturday night?

            If you want to blame any state for illegals, blame Texas….here’s the Riddle Law they passed allowing Texans to hire maids and yard workers who are illegal…

            This is the law your Texans passed in 2011, allowing the hiring of illegals., Read it, weep and then shut your face:

            Texas state Rep. Aaron Pena, a Republican, said the exception is a
            wise one.

            “With things as they are today, her bill will see a large
            segment of the Texas population in prison” if it passes without the
            exception, he said.

            “When it comes to household employees or yard workers it is
            extremely common for Texans to hire people who are likely undocumented
            workers,” Pena said. “It is so common it is overlooked.”

            The bills and other illegal immigration-related bills filed by
            Riddle and others reflect an increased pressure from constituents for action on
            the issue, Pena said. Because the federal government isn’t doing its job,
            residents press state officials to act, he said.

            Leo Berman, a Republican state representative, agreed that there
            was a stronger voice from Texas voters on the issue. “Absolutely,” he said.

            Sorry bitchy baby…you don’t get to blame Obama for something your own goddamn states use to avoid women like you having to get off the sofa and move your dumbass hickasses.

        • The lucky one

          C’mon Eleanore don’t tell me Trump won’t be in the debate. I’ve been laying in the popcorn and expect it to be the funniest show I’ve seen since the Marx Brothers retired.

          • neeceoooo

            Same here, I am planning the party as we speak, it will be a great show.

    • MistressTime

      Yes, it is amazing that when they see Donald Trump, they are looking at themselves. They have promoted violence, hate and unpleasantness where ever they have walked. Now they have The Donald out Tpartianing the Tpartians. If it weren’t such a menacing type of rhetoric, it would be fun seeing the GOP Tparty finally getting what they deserve.

  • We all should give his excellency “The Donald” kudos for being such a wonderful “tool” for exposing the hypocrisy of the Extreme Right. God does indeed work in mysterious ways.

    Some may think that with “the Donald” on his rampage that Pandora’s Box has now been opened. Well, the box was opened big time when the GOP welcomed the turncoat “Dixiecrats” into their camp with open arms. Despite the additional racist baggage they hauled over to “Hotel GOP”, the Party of Recalcitrants just winked and said in effect:

    “Oh, that’s alright…we’ll just pretend we don’t notice your dirty underwear” (though the stench was quite evident). “The Sacred Cowboy” ingratiated himself with this anomaly with his shameless pandering to southern whites’ basest instincts as far as race relations in the region and in the country were concerned during his initial bid for the Presidency down in Neshoba County in Mississippi in the 80’s(just Google
    “Reagan’s Neshoba County Fair “states’ rights” speech”).

    And now, the more responsible elements in the Party shudder at the sight, sound, and fury of the “beast” they helped spawn. But, the best way to rid a substance, such as gold, of impurities is to submit it to fire. The Donald is the latest liter of gasoline to be added to the “fire” ravaging the American landscape, and he helps perform a much needed task of furthering the process of purifying America of its “impure” and unwholesome garbage.

    We can’t thank you enough, and make sure cruisin’ Cruz helps with the dirty works that you are performing with such alacrity.

  • Buford2k11

    after all the distractions put forth by the “media”, the same problem still exists…Our government has been/and is being purchased by forces who are outright hostile to most Americans who disagree with them…the Corporations…they Hate Humans and continually push an agenda that is harmful to Americans who are in need…this is what Fascism in America is starting to look like…

  • fortunev

    “tRump Chump has the GOP Establishment by the Balls” is a better title for the article.

  • disqus_Cc20uRF6eN

    Elect TRUMP, a Prez. with REAL B A L L S !!

    • neeceoooo

      Yeah, real balls, but they are in his mouth

  • Canistercook

    You can like or hate Trump but he is good at ‘saying it like it is’. He is not a politician – just an angry fed up American.

    • The lucky one

      A politician is exactly what he is telling his audience just what they want to hear. It is musing though watching him deflate the repubs by calling them on very obvious hypocrisies that the “liberal” media should have been calling them out on long ago.

  • Debra Brooks


    • phylin

      The Last Trump – written
      in 2011 when DT said Obama must produce his birth certificate

      What can we make of Donald Trump
      whose family name was originally Drumpf?
      Was the name change done according to Goren?
      If not, can we assume that Donald is foreign?

      If he’s serious about wanting to be America’s President
      he will first have to show he’s a natural born resident.
      If he really hopes to run the nation
      he must prove he is not German or Croatian.

      Are the alarming signs of his brain being stewed
      due to all the venom he has spewed?
      Couldn’t any one of his many hacks
      have advised him not to say he loves “the Blacks”?

      He hates the Chinese with all his might
      and wishes they all would fade from sight.
      Is it because the descendants of Ming
      only know him as the bankruptcy king?

      Is it a Donald aberration
      to think as President he could invade that nation?
      Meanwhile, shouldn’t he be made to show proof of his birth
      to those who believe he sprang from Middle Earth?

      It’s obvious Donald is well past his sell-by date
      and he’d be wise to get off the screen before it’s too late.
      Maybe someone on his show when he yells “You’re fired”
      will have to guts to shout “And you, Donald, are expired”.


      23 June 2015

      Donald is Back

      Donald Trump has once again taken the floor
      and confirmed he is the U.S.A.’s biggest bore.
      Of blowing his own trumpet he is never done
      and once more threatens as a presidential candidate to run.

      His latest oddball aberration
      is to claim he is the only one who can save the nation.
      He says he alone knows how the country should be managed
      but refuses to say when and how his brain was damaged.

      When he says Mexican rapists are invading the U.S.A.
      he again proves that he is long past his day.
      His advisers should tell him it is a big mistake
      to let people know he is an expert on rape.

      He has changed his mind about the Chinese
      and they are the ones he’s now trying to please.
      If anyone cares to know the reason why
      it’s because he hopes to get them a Trump golf course to buy.

      He boasts he has never swallowed a drop of demon rum
      and that probably explains why he always looks so glum.
      To get others to imbibe he produced a vodka called Trump
      that when dabbed on their bites makes mosquitoes jump.

      What the buffoon needs is a shot of very good booze
      and there are many tequila brands from which he could chose.
      That would be excellent therapy for his unbridled ego
      and in Mexico he might even find an amigo.

      To discover what he is babbling about is no easy task
      and whoever finds out in satisfaction can bask.
      Could those who about Donald pretend to care
      persuade him to fire whoever cuts his hair.

      • Kathleen

        Way cool. Or whatever. You are such a talented poet I wonder sometimes, often, why we have a poet laureate. What’s that about? You get the job! Really outstanding! You nailed it!

        • phylin

          I’m Irish. Maybe I should ask the Irish President, whom I met when he was in Mexico, whether they would like to have a poet laureate.

      • Allan Richardson

        Reminds me of the old “bubble gum rock” song:

        It’s MY party and I’ll run if I want to!

    • groversyck

      Debra, Your post is total ELEPHANT CRAP.

  • I would relish the chance to hear a debate between Trump and Sanders. They both speak to the people about issues that concern the average American. I’m tired of hearing the rest of the candidates’ rhetoric – posturing about what the polls and their handlers tell them to say.

    • judith.cedillo
  • jif6360

    Trump might be change we need. Just a thought
    American Heroes:

    I commend and support all of the individuals who dedicate their time and energy to exposing government corruption. These people are true American heroes. The abuses of power that they reveal have been our only effective check at keeping government officials even remotely honest. Although as time passes, it seems our politicians are realizing that fewer and fewer people are listening. Protests and petitions have become increasingly ineffective. The American people are tired of fighting for seemingly unattainable causes and have consequently begun ignoring issues that affect our rights, future and way of life.

    As government accountability goes down the toilet, more and more of our rights go with it. Decisions are no longer made for the greater good and to follow the constitution but instead are made for the purpose of strengthening the ruling class. I believe that most politicians started out wanting to do what is right, but when confronted with the choice of helping the people or helping themselves and the ruling class, their own self-interest will almost always win out and they will choose power and money over serving the people fairly.

    Whether your political views are on the right or the left, all Americans should oppose the decision made in Citizens United. This decision gives the ruling class even more control over our politicians as their ability to buy our politicians’ loyalty is now practically limitless.

    Restoring our voice and accountability within the government are still obtainable goals. At the end of August, I will be posting a petition with a simple viable solution to these issues on my web site:

    As I have previously stated, petitions carry very little weight with most politicians. Therefore, a stronger message needs to be sent. We need to “Vote out all the incumbents in congress.” This would only require a few percent of the voting population to vote against party lines. Many Americans believe it’s your patriotic duty to vote. However in today’s world, your vote really only determines which politicians have the right to steal your money. Most people I know decide who to vote for by choosing the lesser of two evils; however, this process doesn’t seem to be working. We, the people, now have a government that rules us through fear and disregards fundamental fairness. I’ve been told that I’m going to need a magic wand at the ballot box for this effort to have a chance of succeeding; however, I feel it is my responsibility to make an attempt for all of our sakes.

    My petition will offer a reasonable approach to solving the issues that I have been highlighting. If enough people offer their support for it, it would probably be enough to make these politicians take notice and begin to actually act on our behalf.

    Attention Congressman Goodlatte (Chairman of the Judiciary Committee). Do your job and protect the people from the government and, specifically, corrupt judges.

    Please share this with activist groups, concerned citizens and with any others who have encountered abuses of power by the government. The biggest threat to this country is not terrorists as the current government rhetoric would have you believe; it is the widespread systemic corruption of our own government that is destroying our way of life from within. Let’s leave our children with hope instead of just a massive deficit. Cast a vote that counts. Vote for change. Vote against all the incumbents.

  • phylin

    What does Donald Duck think about his namesake?

    • Allan Richardson

      And they call ME the “quack?” My cousin in the insurance business can be trusted more than this idiot!

  • phylin

    Donald Trump – To Sue or Not to Sue

    What can be done about Donald Trump
    as more and more sponsors are now quick him to dump?
    He will be missed when from the screen he finally fades away
    and TV viewers can no longer hear him bray.

    When children are told to bed they must go
    they beg to stay up for the Donald Trump comedy show.
    But when they see his ugly and bloated mug they are terrified
    and leave the room for somewhere to hide.

    When he cannot think of what else to do
    Donald considers who or what to sue.
    He sued ex-wife Ivana because he was scared she might be mean
    and about his habits spill every single bean.

    When he sued Scotland in Edinburgh’s many bars
    drinkers toasted him until they saw stars.
    Now with suing a country he is not content
    and is threatening to sue a continent.

    When asked what gave him that idea
    he replied he always detested Oceania.
    His only explanation was that because
    P.M. Tony Abbott had expelled the Wizard from the Land of Oz.

    Medical specialists examine his ailment with resolve
    but so far his disorder have been unable to solve.
    We can only hope the world’s most unrelenting suer
    will soon crawl back into his Donald Trump sewer.