Start your day with National Memo Newsletter
The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning
Ah, CPAC. The 2024 conference has been, as Jimmy Kimmel put it, “a who’s who of who won’t accept the results of the election.” But that doesn’t mean Donald Trump didn’t go there to shine like a lazy diamond, and shine he did—for more than an hour on Saturday. And we were here for it. Because Hibernol is not a real thing. Yet. But ask us again in November. The FDA may give it an emergency use authorization if the world suddenly goes catawampus.
Trump has been in rare form lately. No, he isn’t showing up to rallies sporting goat horns, a forked tongue, and cadaverous, inky-black eyes whose baleful gaze compels men to madness and drives herds of pigs into the sea. That’s his usual form. Call it his resting Beelzebub face.
(Just kidding! Trump’s not a supernatural entity, evil or otherwise. He’s a divinely created human being with infinite worth, just like you, me, Scott “Chachi” Baio, Vladimir Putin, and Jared from Subway.)But he has been particularly … let’s just say … weird lately. Even for Donald Trump. On Thursday night, he melted down into a frothy puddle of incoherent nonsense that had to be seen to be believed. And on Friday, he assured members of the Black Conservative Federation that they prefer “the white president” to “the Black president,” and that Black people love him now because he’s been arrested a lot. Sure, it’s a weird strategy, but he has been struggling mightily to reclaim the Black vote … that he lost when Herman Cain died.Off we go!
1. In CPAC-land, crime is rampant across the country. It’s possible they believe this because even former presidents are getting indicted left and right, but Americans can rest assured that the crime wave is pretty much contained to the Trump family.
In fact, crime was way down in 2023, asThe New York Times recently reported.
But the data over the past year has offered a much more optimistic picture. The number of murders in U.S. cities fell by more than 12 percent — which would be the biggest national decline on record. The spike that started in 2020 now looks more like a blip, and the murder rate is lower than it was during the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. The recent data also suggests that the violent-crime rate in 2023 was near its lowest level in more than 50 years, as Jeff Asher, a crime analyst, wrote for his newsletter.
Hmm, 2020. Who was president in 2020 again?
But don’t worry about actual crime rates! Donald Trump wants you frightened enough about crime that you’ll see fit to elect a literal (alleged!) criminal as president. Thus he must pretend crime is getting worse under Biden and will continue to spiral out of control.“Ruthless gangs will explode even more into the suburbs, and when they talk about suburban women, they’re going to love me so much. They’re going to say, ‘Oh, I wish we had that guy back.’ The gangs will be invading your territory, I can tell you that.”
As long as we’re making up crime statistics, how about this little-known fact? According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report 100% of 2024 presidential candidates found liable for sexual abuse are Republican. And named Donald Trump.
But what a novel approach to winning back suburban women!2. Hey, did you know that in 2020, Trump got more votes than any sitting president in history? You may not know that, because literally no one but Trump cares. And it’s a super weird thing to brag about. It’s kind of like Buzz Aldrin boasting that he was the first New Jersey resident to walk on the moon. Sure, Trump lost the election, but he kicked Herbert Hoover’s ass!
“You know, I got more votes than any sitting president in history, at almost 75 million votes. Substantially more than any other sitting president has gotten.”
Wait, did he just admit the vote count was correct? I thought everything was completely rigged. I bet the media will ask him about this ASAP!
3. It’s been well established that crime is rapidly decreasing under President Joe Biden, and that immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than native-born Americans, but that doesn’t stop Trump from comparing migrants to Hannibal Lecter. Literally.Apparently, the only thing Trump knows about crime is how to commit it. And incompetently, I might add.
“So we just call it migrant crime. We have a new category: migrant crime. And it’s going to be more severe than violent crime and crime as we knew it. Because we have millions and millions of people, and they came from prisons and jails. They came from mental institutions and insane asylums. No, they’re not the same thing. An insane asylum is a mental institution on steroids. It’s Silence of the Lambs, okay? Hannibal Lecter! They’re all being deposited into our country.”
Well, if they are being deposited into our country, it’s worked like a charm. Because crime keeps plummeting. Thanks, Biden!
4. It’s weird to think that everything was perfect under the consensus worst president in history but has somehow speedily gone to shit in just over three years under the 14th-ranked commander in chief. But hey, what do historians know that dudes with chronically infected MAGA neck tattoos can’t see with their own bloodshot eyes?
“While weaponized law enforcement hunts for conservatives and people of faith, religious, Hamas and antifa will terrorize our streets while their brutal ideology—and it is brutal indeed, it is brutal and horrible like nobody’s ever seen before—takes over our schools. China will dominate us, not just economically but militarily, and that’s what they want and that’s where they’re heading, but they weren’t heading there with me.”
For some reason I’m not terribly concerned about getting murdered by Hamas in the Pacific Northwest. But what do I know? I chickened out on my “Let’s Go Brandon” ink session.
5. Have you heard? The only difference between Donald Trump and the recently murdered Alexei Navalny is that Trump is technically still alive. And Putin will poison Trump if he doesn’t try to become president.
“I stand before you not only as your past and hopefully future president, but as a proud political dissident. I am a dissident.”
There’s simply not enough vomit in the multiverse to appropriately respond to that. So let’s move on.
6. Hey, did you know there are countries and languages that no one in this country Donald Trump has never heard of? There are! At least according to Trump—who never, ever lies.
“We’re equal opportunity; we have every country. We have countries that honestly nobody has ever heard of. We have languages coming into our country—we don’t have one instructor in our entire nation that can speak that language. These are languages, it’s the craziest thing, they have languages that nobody in this country has ever heard of. It’s a very horrible thing. I said to the president of Mexico, you’re going to have to give us 28,000 soldiers free of charge. [Mocking Mexican president’s accent]: ‘No, no, no Donald, I will not do that. I will not do that, I cannot do that.’ And I said, ‘No, no, you will. You will, I promise.’ ‘No, no, no, I will not do that.’ I said, ‘Listen, you and I are friends.’ I really like him a lot, so. I said, ‘Let’s not you and I, give me a negotiator, because I don’t want to do this with you.’”
Needless to say, I’m skeptical that immigrants are pouring over the border speaking languages no one has ever heard of. Unless we’re suddenly getting a flood of refugees from North Sentinel Island. But that seems super unlikely.And the guy who once promised Mexico would pay for his border wall (it didn’t) was certain Mexico would provide 28,000 troops because Trump insisted on it (it didn’t)And he loves mocking foreigners’ accents—but that part you knew already.But here’s something you might not know. The famously antiwar Trump wants to stop supporting Ukraine’s fight for liberty and democracy and invade Mexico instead! Because Hannibal Lecter!
7. Honestly, could anyone not deeply embedded in the MAGA movement feel safe if he wins? Just listen to this venomous nonsense. I know I’d personally feel threatened if he won, and not just because I once called him an off-brand butt plug.
“At the ballot box this November, it’s you and the people you have to be, and we’ll deliver a reckoning like they haven’t even imagined before. We’re going to straighten out our country. We’re going to bring our country back. For hardworking Americans, Nov. 5 will be our new liberation day, but for the liars and cheaters and fraudsters and censors and imposters who have commandeered our government, it will be their judgment day. Their judgment day. When we win the curtain closes on their corrupt reign and the sun rises on a bright new future for America. That’s what we have to have. I believe it’s our last chance.”
Of course, it’s always possible this is just overheated rhetoric and Trump will treat every citizen fairly, while respecting our Constitution, the federal government’s separation of powers, and enduring liberal democratic principles like the rule of law. It’s also possible he’ll map the beluga whale genome on the back of his Denny’s placemat.
But I’m not holding my breath.
8. Well, this aged badly.
Wait, he just said this on Saturday—at CPAC? Did the audience jeer, hiss, and point out that he singlehandedly scuttled the bipartisan border deal for cynical political reasons? Of course not. They’re all drunk on Keystone Light and/or spray-tan fumes.
“And then we had the rigged election, and they said, ‘We don’t want to build the wall, we don’t want to build it.’ And I said, ‘You know, they really do want open walls.’ I figured it was just talk.”
I read this story recently and thought, “You know, they really do want chaos at the border so they can campaign on it until November.”
9. Finally, it looks like Trump is particularly sensitive about people claiming his brain is like an egg frying on the sidewalk, but with marginally more gooey yellow stuff seeping out of it.
He has no cognitive issues! If he did, he’d tell you about it! Because that’s what people with dementia famously do. They always let you know just as soon as they start showing symptoms.
[Discussing what others have said about his speeches]: “’He rambled on endlessly, telling these horrible and very boring surries [sic].’ No, they’re very informative stories, they’re very important stories, actually. But no, there’s no cognitive problem. If there was, I’d know about it. In fact, if there was, you’ll be the first to know, because I will tell you. I will tell you.”
Donald Trump has a great memory! He remembers every surry he’s ever heard! In fact, he literally never forgets that an elephant is not a camel. Just like he never forgets to mention that he can spot the difference between literally tens of zoo animals.
Which clearly means he should be president again—even though it’s glaringly obvious to anyone paying attention that he was the worst president ever. But hey, if you vote for him again, he can really lock down that spot. And how fun would that be, fellow patriots?
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley got clobbered by Donald Trump Saturday in her home state of South Carolina, just as everyone predicted.
Haley's candidacy has already lasted longer than most election analysts predicted and certainly longer than Trump would like. Here's a look at what comes next.
1. Does Haley have a path to winning the nomination?
No. There's no world in which Haley manages to match, much less surpass, Trump's delegate count given the makeup of today's Republican Party.
Even in the event of Trump choking on the proverbial cheeseburger, Haley would face incredibly steep odds in brokering a convention deal among a bunch of delegates whose worship of Trump is complete and total. Such a convention showdown would be an awesome spectacle, but those delegates would almost surely vote for someone in Trump's mold, or maybe even anointed by him. That person will not be Haley.
2. Why is Haley still running?
It seems increasingly clear, based on the sharpness of her attacks on Trump, that Haley is trying to build a brand for the future, perhaps including a 2028 presidential bid. If Trump loses, Haley can say, “I told you so.” And at a spry 52 years of age, she can start laying the groundwork for her next political act, whether it's as part of the Republican Party or some other party that arises out of the GOP's wreckage.
3. Does Haley have a better shot on Super Tuesday than she did in South Carolina?
Yes. In spite of Haley's experience serving as governor of South Carolina, it remains a deeply conservative state with a relatively low level of college-educated voters. Haley's advisers have noted that 11 of the 16 contests taking place on Super Tuesday will be open or semi-open primaries that will inevitably include more voters receptive to Haley's insurgent pitch. The electorate in several of those states also boasts a greater concentration of the college-educated voters who have fueled Haley's campaign thus far. States that include some type of open primary coupled with a highly educated electorate, such as Massachusetts and Virginia, will be Haley’s sweet spot. She may not win them, but she will likely fare better there than in the Palmetto State.
4. Any chance Haley will be Trump's running mate?
Highly doubtful. Trump wants a running mate who will lie like a rug for him and trample the Constitution if that's what it takes to keep him in power. He doesn't want another Mike Pence fiasco. Plenty of malleable candidates have already stepped forward to demonstrate their bootlicking cred, including House Republicans' number three, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, and former 2024 hopeful-turned-Trump backer Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.
5. Will Haley eventually fall in line on Trump?
Perhaps. But with each passing day, Haley's attacks on Trump get more pointed and trenchant, making it harder for her to walk that plank when she calls it quits.
During this week’s press conference on the state of the race, Haley said of Trump, "I feel no need to kiss the ring. I have no fear of Trump’s retribution. I’m not looking for anything from him."
If Haley is really building a brand for the future, she might think twice before endorsing a man she has repeatedly called "unstable and unhinged." In fact, Haley has finally hit her messaging stride because she sounds authentic, as if she is being true to herself and her own beliefs rather than hedging her bets in a party where she no longer belongs.
So it's just possible, if not exactly probable, that Haley declines to endorse Trump when she inevitably ends her bid.
If Trump wins the general election, however, Haley could very likely come crawling back in search of an administration position. There's nothing Trump relishes more than a contrite convert.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos