Politics FB

This Wednesday Political Post…an assortment of Ralphs, Jacks, and Piggies work in the White

Team of Vipers by Cliff Sims

1. “Only a few weeks in, it “was clear Ryan had power that he seemed either uncomfortable with or incapable of wielding. That was a sign of weakness to a man like Donald Trump, and weakness was a quality he could never abide. In fact, it was clear that most of the “leaders” of Congress weren’t really leaders at all. To them, courage was a risk. Which is why Trump dominated them all so easily.”

On Congress and Paul Ryan

2. “Days later, House leadership released their bill—the American Health Care Act—and it was a disaster.

Democrats screamed bloody murder that Republicans were trying to throw poor people off the health-care rolls, and conservatives slammed the bill for being “Obamacare in a different form.” No one seemed happy, including the President, who was fielding angry phone calls from his hard-right allies in Congress.

Ryan’s response was to hold a press conference and deliver a thirty-minute-long PowerPoint presentation explaining the bill. If only they understood, he seemed to be thinking, everyone would agree that this is a reasonable proposal.”

On GOP healthcare bill

3. “The President fumed, privately and sometimes publicly, that he’d listened to these geniuses tell him this would all be done easily. After all, the Republicans had ostensibly been planning this for years. Surely they had some sort of plan. Now “repeal and replace” was blowing up in their faces. More to the point—it was blowing up in his face. ”

Trump and the GOP

4. “By that point the President was indignant.

“Keith, I want these people out of here,” he said, “starting with”—he looked down at his note card—“Michael Short. Go fire him right now and throw him out of here. We’ll take care of the rest later.”

Trump on his staff after asking Sims his impressions of them

5. “Time magazine made Bannon its cover story, dubbing him “The Great Manipulator” and adding the tagline, “How Steve Bannon became the second most powerful man in the world.” I had been told that Time originally planned to declare him “the most powerful man in the world,” but realizing how the President would react, Bannon and his allies pressed them to change the line. Time acquiesced, but the damage was done. Saturday Night Live had already begun portraying Bannon as the Grim Reaper, bending the President to his will, and the President’s patience was growing thin.”

Time magazine was about to name BANNON the most powerful person in the country – There goes their credibility

6. “Mooch was like a Reince-seeking missile,” Jared said with a laugh. “We’ll see if he blew himself up in the process.” Looking back, I wondered. Was this Jared’s plan all along? He was as smooth as they came—sharp, low-key, always dressed immaculately in well-tailored attire. But maybe what the President liked most about his son-in-law was that he was a “killer,” too.”

Jared starring in Dangerous Liaisons

7. “Sitting in the dining room of the Four Seasons, Mooch explained that his desire for revenge against Priebus, combined with his ambition to work in the White House, was so strong that it caused him to lose sight of what was truly important in his life, namely his family and the company he had spent over a decade of his life building.

“I got my priorities out of order,” he said, biting into a shrimp before wiping his mouth with a cloth napkin.”

Understatement of the year

8. “Don’t give an inch. If I give in and give my critics what they’re demanding, the media won’t give me credit for it anyway. So what’s the point? Better to power through it, show no weakness. I might even throw out something new and irresistible for the media beast to feed on—change the subject. Regardless, everyone will move on.”

Trump on the news outlets (he’s completely right)

9. “Months later, when Gary left over policy differences with the President on trade, some White House staff joked that the neo-Nazis made Gary uncomfortable, but it was the tariffs that were truly a bridge too far. Like many jokes, it was funny because it exposed an truth, and not just for Gary, but for most of us. We were willing to pay a steep price to get what we really wanted: proximity to power, and maybe a little of it for ourselves.”

No one has principles

10. “Because they know a little word called ‘loyalty.’ Why do you think Nancy has held on this long? Have you seen her? She’s a disaster. Every time she opens her mouth another Republican gets elected. But they stick with her. She got them to vote for Obamacare and half of them thought it was the dumbest bill ever written.” His voice was loud and getting louder. But they’re loyal. They stick together. Why can’t you be loyal to your President, Paul? “I even went along with your ‘Repeal and Replace’ plan.”

Trump inaccurately describing the Democrats to Paul Ryan. GOP is way more loyal despite all the reasons they shouldn’t be

11. “I remember being in Wisconsin and your own people were booing you. You were out there dying like a dog, Paul. Like a dog! And what’d I do? I saved your a—. I said, ‘Oh, c’mon, Paul’s going to be with us.’ Maybe they were right, though, who knows? But I’ll tell you this, Republicans better figure out loyalty or we’re not going to get anything done.”

Trump to Paul Ryan (as much as I hate Paul I feel this is inaccurate)

12. “I looked back at Hope and raised my eyebrows. “It’s time for choosing,” she said. “And no one can have it both ways.”

Hope to Cliff (one thing this book does is destroy the narrative that any woman here doesn’t want to be here)

13. “I told the reporter off the record that it all sounded really far-fetched—the kind of rumor that could only be dreamt up by the demented minds of D.C. political operatives. “But more than that,” I said, “how could the guy do that job without a clearance? I mean, I don’t think they’d let someone like that work in the White House at all, much less that close to the President. It just doesn’t sound plausible.”

Cliff on Rob Porter

14. “I wasn’t sure if Porter had lied to Kelly and Sarah and they were acting on false information, or if they even truly believed what they were saying. I would soon learn the answer, and it wasn’t the same for both of them.”

On Rob Porter, Sarah was lied to and was livid when she found out, Kelly knew

15. “Some of Porter’s closest friends in the White House began advising him that it was time to resign. Notably, however, General Kelly was not among them. “You should stay and fight,” he kept saying. The Chief seemed to be letting his personal relationship with Porter cloud his judgment. But I could also see why he found that impulse tempting. He viewed Porter as a sober, trustworthy deputy in a White House full of flighty, naïve, and sometimes nefarious characters.”

On Rob Porter

16. “He and his wife were vacationing in Venice, Italy, celebrating a birthday, he explained. While shopping one afternoon, they had purchased a fancy Murano glass vase. Once they made it back to their hotel room, an argument ensued. His wife was so angry, he said, that she grabbed the vase and threatened to smash it on the floor. He tried to stop her. There was a tug of war over the vase, and in the struggle she somehow ended up with an unintentional black eye.”

Rob Porter on how his wife got a black eye

17. “Nobody had to say a word because everyone was thinking the same thing anyway. That was … really quite something. And could he possibly expect any of us to believe this?”

Everyone after Rob’s crazy story


“We may never know the full truth. Had senior White House aides covered up the Porter allegations, assuming they would never be made public? That appears likely, but remains somewhat murky.”

On Rob, Sims believe they all knew

19. “Then Hope, my friend, jumped in. She was finished with this place, too, before it ruined her. “I’ve always done everything I could to protect you,” she said. “But I’m going to be gone soon and I just don’t want you to be left in here totally fending for yourself. They’re going to come for you.”

Hope on the White House

20. “It was well known that in Trump World, loyalty was mostly a one-way street. But it’s one thing to know that, another thing entirely to experience it firsthand—to be unceremoniously abandoned by the President of the United States. I had let my personal relationship with the President blind me to the one unfailing truth that applied to anyone with whom he didn’t share a last name: we were all disposable”


Quotes From

Team of Vipers

Cliff Sims

This material may be protected by copyright.

Okay let’s dive in: This is an extremely hard book to recap because it’s less a book and more collection of anecdotes. As usual, I am highlighting what was of interest to me in the book. It’s quite possible what was of interest to me will not be of interest to you. If so, I recommend reading it yourself for your own impressions.

First, it’s I don’t really have much of a background with Cliff Sims. Meaning until this book dropped I never actually heard of him. I don’t know his background and the fact that he would choose to work for the Trump administration doesn’t exactly mean I trust his judgment. That being said there is very little in this book that sounds false. I write this because his criticism and complementary language are levied at just about everybody and himself. Generally when somebody hits the middle of the road with their commentary it usually means they’re being honest. However, that doesn’t mean their perspective is accurate.

In all of the books that I’ve read so far with regards to the Trump administration. This is the one that does the best at conveying Trump’s personality. He’s impatient, frequently likes policy to be in layman’s terms (not just for him either he thinks it’ll be easier to sell things to his constituents if they understand it), he thinks that the decorum and protocol are hindrances. He completely understands his constituents and the nature of the news-cycles. He thinks that a lot of rules in place are not really rules and are not enforceable. He expertly plays the GOP knowing that they won’t take any action and their action would be limited any way. He was 100 percent willing to back the GOP agenda without understanding it to get a win. My honest impression is I think he probably flipped a coin on which party to run for and I can completely see him signing off on the policies for the Democratic party without understanding it in an alternative universe.

Everyone in the White House wants to be there. Now there are definitely people that change their mind somewhere along the lines. However these people change their mind generally when things are not going well for them. Not a single person that works there is having any sort of attack of conscience. There are no hostages, not Melania, not Ivanka. There’s not a single person there that believes they’re in a bad situation or wants out until the hammer falls on them or their personal interests are not being served. Most of the narratives on the people that work in the White House are completely made up. I don’t mean news stories I mean narratives. Ivanka is not some progressive person who feels obligated to be there just because she’s related to the president. Melania is not some Eastern European trophy wife who doesn’t have any options.

Jared and Ivanka regularly scheme to get people fired. It’s not because they personally dislike these people, it’s not because they disagree with them and it’s not because they’re doing a bad job. It’s literally like a game they play for fun. There isn’t any ulterior motive to it. Trump views the entire staff as disposable. I don’t mean he dislikes anybody. He is just completely detached from all of them. Jared and Ivanka frequently capitalize on this detachment.

I expected to read this book thinking the Trump administration is really awful and they are. However I can’t tell you how often someone that works in the Trump administration is consulting with somebody who works in the Obama administration or somebody who has worked with the Democrats in the past. It’s this depraved incestuous relationship where policy is an excuse for a battle. The ideals or the people the policies affect are not even a passing thought for anyone. I think that for the sake of democracy the American people are going to have to stridently vote for this to be different.

Welcome to Wednesday!!!!