Snippets From "FEAR: Trump in the White House" for Those Who Don't Have Time to Read. [Chapters 5 through 7]
The REAL Campaign Manager - Jared Kushner
Chapter 5 - The Power Behind the Throne
It isn't Paul Manafort. It isn't Steve Bannon. It isn't Kellyanne Conway. All were appointed by Trump, in one way or another, to run, supervise, oversee his campaign.
Steve Bannon's deputy campaign manager, David Bossie, the guy responsible for the day-to-day management, was at a meeting with Bannon, Conway, and Kushner to decide on three TV spots. Bossie passed on the collective decision to the guy responsible for running the spots. Later, Bossie found out they had not run and seeks out the digital media supervisor. "What the Hell", Bossie asks. "I came in here and told you what to do. We had a meeting, we decided."
"Oh, no, no," the media guy said, "Jared came in after you and said 'Don't do that'". That was when Bannon and Bossie figured out the real power was Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner. After that, Woodward says,
"So after decision meetings, Bossie approached Kushner to make sure he understood what Jared wanted. Kushner, without a title, was running the campaign, especially on money matters. He knew that is father-in-law considered it all his money [even though he put little of it in himself] and Jared had to sign off on everything."
In reality, Donald Trump did not want to risk his personal fortune on his election; apparently he didn't have enough faith in himself. Bannon told Kushner Trump needed to kick in $50 million. Kushner said he will never do it.
"Dude," Bannon said, "we're going to have this thing in a dead heat. We need to finally put something up on TV with something. We're going to need at least $50 million. He's going to have to write it."
Kushner - "He'll never do it."
Bannon - "It's about being president of the United States!"
Kushner - "Unless you can show him he's a dead lock, I mean a dead lock, up three to five points, he'll never write that size of check.
Bannon - "Well, you're right."
Kushner - "Maybe we can get $25 million out of him; he doesn't have a lot of cash."
What did that mean? In any case, Trump didn't go for the $25 million either, not even as a loan. What Trump, after much persuasion, finally settled on was giving his campaign for President a $10 million cash advance against future donations.
While Hillary Clinton was visiting large cities with large numbers of minority voters, Trump was stumping the hinterland. It is not that Clinton didn't have advise to do the same from her husband and John Podesta, both experienced campaigners, Hillary listened instead to her data-driven campaign manager, Robby Mook. Bill Clinton, John Podesta, and Donald Trump turned out to be right.
Trump held his massive rallies while his VP pick ran around the battleground states making his pitch, over and over again.
- Pennsylvania - 23
- Ohio - 25
- North Carolina - 22
- Iowa - 15
- Florida - 13
- Michigan - 8
- Wisconsin - 7
Pence, according to Steve Bannon, made his appeal as if he were running for that state's governorship. On the other hand, Trump approached his campaigning in 41 large population centers as if he were running as county supervisor.
Bottom line - Trump talked to the people in a much more personal, albeit brutal, way than Clinton did, and it worked. Trumped squeak by 90,000 votes split between three states to win the electoral college even though he lost the popular vote by around 3 million.
Vladimir Putin called from Russia to congratulate Donald Trump.
In his run for President, Trump had purposefully ignored and way underfunded the transition (should he win) effort. An effort supposedly run by Gov. Chris Christi. Woodward reports that shortly after sealing the deal that fateful day, Steve Bannon
"started flipping through the transition documents. Garbage supreme, he thought. For secretary of defensive they listed some big campaign donor from New Hampshire. Unbelievable. Now there are 4,000 jobs to fill. He realized they would have to at least temporarily embrace the establishment. Perhaps a better word would be to fleece -- pluck off some people who knew something."
"This is the Island of Misfit Toys. How the f--k are we going to put together a government? We relieve the watch in 10 weeks at noon. ..."
Secretary of Defense Marine General Jim Mattis
Chapter 6 - General Mattis
By most accounts, General Mattis, a former Marine 4-star who had been relieved by President Obama for being to aggressive1, was the best of Trumps nominees to his cabinet. But, he wasn't Trump's first choice. If you count the donor from New Hampshire, Mattis was the third choice.
Second choice was Army General Jack Keane. Keane, 73, was a regular talking head on Fox News. He declined for financial reasons. Keane nevertheless gave Trump two pieces of advice
- "Mistakes on the domestic side have a corrective mechanism. You can get a do-over. There are no Do-overs" in national security. "When we make mistakes, it has huge consequences" [Advice Trump has ultimately ignored.]
- Pick Jim Mattis as your secretary of defense.
Keane told Trump that Mattis was highly regarded inside and outside the military. He also observed that "What's not obvious is how thoughtful he is. And how deliberate he is."
Trump asked what Keane meant and got the answer was "He thinks things through. He spends time thinking through the problem." [something Trump has demonstrated multiple times he is not able to do.]
During his interview with Trump, Mattis, in answer to a question about ISIS, said "We need to change what we are doing (in Iraq). It can't be a war of attrition. It must be a war of annihilation." Trump offered Mattis the job of secretary of defense.
1 Mattis thought Obama was not aggressive enough 2 - and he told him so. As Central Command commander, Mattis sent many very strong missives up his chain and to the White House venting his opinions. He was relieved of his command five months early for his troubles.
2 For the record, neither did I. I thought Secretary Clinton was better attuned to what was needed. That said, one has to remember, Obama was one of the very few voices who opposed getting into Iran in the first place, a position
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
Former Secretary of State James Baker III is responsible for Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson taking his old job. Tillerson is a businessman who is used to making deals world-wide, especially with Russia. If fact, Russia president Vladimir Putin awarded Tillerson the Russian Order of Friendship in 2013.
When Trump nominated Tillerson, he told aides that "Tillerson looked the part he would play on the world stage." To this, Kellyanne Conway commented "A very Trumpian-inspired pick; big impact."
Director of National Economic Counsel - Gary Cohn
Chapter 7 - Director of the National Economic Counsel - Gary Cohn
Jared Kushner was behind this pick.
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