The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Donald Trump

Julian E. Zelizer, a history professor at Princeton University in New Jersey, has been writing a series of books on the United States’ most recent former presidents — and his forthcoming book, “The Presidency of Donald J. Trump: A First Historical Assessment” follows his work on President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. Zelizer’s Trump book, the historian/author explains in an article published by The Atlantic on April 4, led to a Zoom conversation with Trump during the Summer of 2021.

“As an academic historian, I never expected to find myself in a videoconference with Donald Trump,” Zelizer explains. “But one afternoon last summer — a day after C-SPAN released a poll of historians who ranked him just above Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, and James Buchanan, our country’s worst chief executives — he popped up in a Zoom box and told me and some of my colleagues about the 45th presidency from his point of view…. A few days after The New York Times reported on the project, Trump’s then-aide Jason Miller contacted me to say that the former president wanted to talk to my co-authors and me —something that neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama had done.”

Zelizer continues, “For someone who claimed indifference about how people in our world viewed him, Trump was spending an inordinate amount of time — more than any ex-president that we know of — trying to influence the narratives being written about him.”

According to Zelizer, Trump was calm during the Zoom conversation.

Nonetheless, Zelizer writes, “If anything, our conversation with the former president underscored common criticisms: that he construed the presidency as a forum to prove his dealmaking prowess; that he sought flattery and believed too much of his own spin; that he dismissed substantive criticism as misinformed, politically motivated, ethically compromised, or otherwise cynical. He demonstrated a limited historical worldview: When praising the virtues of press releases over tweets — because the former are more elegant and lengthier — he sounded as if he himself had discovered that old form of presidential communication. He showed little interest in exploring, or even acknowledging, some of the contradictions and tensions in his record.”

A recurring theme during the Zoom conversation, according to Zelizer, was that “the best and brightest didn’t always know what they were talking about, unlike hardworking people who lived by common sense, as he did.”

“While talking to us,” Zelizer recalls, “Trump was working to influence the narratives that were told about him — as he’d done repeatedly during his time in the Oval Office. Indeed, he had even closed out his term peddling the case that he was not a failed one-term president, like Herbert Hoover or Jimmy Carter, but someone who had victory stolen from him.”

Zelizer also notes that during the Zoom conversation, Trump repeated the claim that the 2020 election was “rigged.”

In fact, the 2020 election was quite secure; widespread voter fraud did not occur as Trump has claimed. And bipartisan recounts in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, and other battleground states confirmed that now-President Joe Biden won the election fair and square, picking up 306 electoral votes and defeating Trump by more than seven million in the popular vote.

Reprinted with by permission from Alternet.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Mark Levin

Politico reported Friday that John Eastman, the disgraced ex-law professor who formulated many of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, was also apparently in communication with Fox News host Mark Levin. The story gets even more interesting from there, revealing the shell game that right-wing media personalities engage in while doubling as political operatives.

A legal filing by Eastman’s attorneys reveals that, among the messages Eastman is still attempting to conceal from the House January 6 committee are 12 pieces of correspondence with an individual matching Levin’s description as “a radio talk show host, is also an attorney, former long-time President (and current board chairman) of a public interest law firm, and also a former fellow at The Claremont Institute.” Other details, including a sloppy attempt to redact an email address, also connect to Levin, who did not respond to Politico’s requests for comment.

Keep reading... Show less

Sen. Wendy Rogers

Youtube Screenshot

There have been powerful indicators of the full-bore radicalization of the Republican Party in the past year: the 100-plus extremist candidates it fielded this year, the apparent takeover of the party apparatus in Oregon, the appearance of Republican officials at white nationalist gatherings. All of those are mostly rough gauges or anecdotal evidence, however; it’s been difficult to get a clear picture of just how deeply the extremism has penetrated the party.

Using social media as a kind of proxy for their real-world outreach—a reasonable approach, since there are few politicians now who don’t use social media—the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights decided to get a clearer picture of the reach of extremist influences in official halls of power by examining how many elected officials participate in extremist Facebook groups. What it found was deeply troubling: 875 legislators in all 50 states, constituting nearly 22% of all elected GOP lawmakers, identified as participating members of extremist Facebook groups.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}