What a doofus!
Narrative omits two impeachments, economic crash, Covid death toll and riot that marked end of his term
Donald Trump has launched a new website celebrating his time as US president that includes a very selective retelling of the history of his time in office.
45office.com is billed as a platform for his supporters to stay in touch and a place where Trump will continue his “America first” campaign.
The centrepiece of the site is an 885-word history of the Trump presidency, listing the achievements of what it describes as “the most extraordinary political movement in history”.
Sparing none of Trump’s blushes, it says he dethroned political dynasties, defeated “the Washington establishment” and “overcame virtually every entrenched power structure”.
The history does, however, omit several significant moments from Trump’s presidency.
On the economy, the site says: “President Trump ushered in a period of unprecedented economic growth, job creation, soaring wages, and booming incomes.” Trump frequently described his administration as building “the greatest economy in the history of our country”, a claim repeatedly debunked. It also fails to note that during the pandemic last year the US economy suffered one of its worst financial crashes.
The US recorded the world’s largest coronavirus death toll on Trump’s watch, but the website describes his handling of the pandemic as a success, saying: “When the coronavirus plague arrived from China, afflicting every nation around the globe, President Trump acted early and decisively.” It neglects to mention that Trump had in fact described coronavirus as a problem that’s “going to go away” five times in March 2020, even as case numbers rose.
Also absent is that Trump became the first US president in history to twice face impeachment trials in Congress. And that he was the first US president to lose the popular vote twice. Hillary Clinton secured 2.8m more votes than Trump in 2016, and Joe Biden’s 2020 margin of victory was even larger, at 7m votes.
Nor does it mention that he became the first major world leader to be banned from social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter while in office after they deemed he had used their sites to cite an insurrection. The Capitol riot, which led to the loss of five lives, also does not warrant a mention.
The website’s homepage boasts that “the office of Donald J Trump is committed to preserving the magnificent legacy of the Trump administration, while at the same time advancing the America first agenda”.
It also promises that “through civic engagement and public activism, the office of Donald J Trump will strive to inform, educate, and inspire Americans from all walks of life as we seek to build a truly great American future”.
Trump retains significant influence over the Republican party despite his loss in the 2020 election and has hinted at a possible presidential run in 2024. He has also started actively backing Republican candidates who may be able to unseat fellow party members Trump feels were disloyal to him by failing to back his baseless claims of election fraud last year.
In an interview with Fox News this month, Jason Miller, a former Trump campaign spokesperson, said that following his bans from Twitter and Facebook, Trump would launch his own social media platform in the next few months.
Donald Trump’s former bodyguard has said the ex-United States president still owes him more than $130 (£94) for McDonald’s cheeseburgers.
Kevin McKay, who worked for Mr Trump in Scotland for five years until 2012, said he bought “20 cheeseburgers and fries” for the future president in 2008 after a visit to the Aberdeenshire site on which his Trump International golf course was later built.
Mr McKay said the 45th US president told him he would pay back the money, “but never did”.
“For much of the time I was working for him, I kept thinking he would say, ‘Kevin, here’s that money I owe you,’ but it didn’t happen,” Mr McKay, 50, told MailOnline.
“I thought he was an okay guy when I first started working for him, but I guess that as we have all come to see, he is not a man of his word.”
The former bodyguard, who was earning about £2,000 a month, said Mr Trump had asked to stop at McDonald’s to order fast food for the flight back to New York.
“We were in a convoy of six blacked-out Range Rovers with about 15 men in suits inside, so there must have been some shocked expressions as we pulled up in the car park,” Mr McKay said.
Mr Trump reportedly had no UK currency with him so asked his then-bodyguard to “front him the cash”.
“I said, ‘Sure’ and took everyone’s order – about 20 cheeseburgers and fries with around 10 or 15 Coca-Colas,” Mr McKay said.
“I think Mr Trump ordered two cheeseburgers with fries and a Diet Coke – that was his usual order and he always wanted McDonald’s to take with him on the private jet.
“It cost me about £95 in total and Mr Trump told me, ‘You’ll get it back.’
“I never heard about it again after that. I should have asked him for the money, but I brushed it under the carpet at the time.”
Mr Trump, who recently launched a website in an attempt to rewrite the history of his presidency, is famously fond of fast food.
The former president ate McDonald’s to avoid being poisoned, according to Michael Wolff’s explosive Fire and Fury book, and put on an enormous $3,000 spread of Quarter Pounders, Big Macs and Whoppers for Clemson University’s football team at the White House in 2019.
Just one month after Donald Trump left the White House, a top donor to his campaign received a call on his personal cellphone from a Republican candidate seeking financial support.
The call was unsolicited, according to four people familiar with the situation, and it rubbed the donor, whose friends had received similarly unexpected fundraising pleas, the wrong way. Shortly thereafter, the firm Jones Day, which served as counsel to Trump’s campaign committee, sent out a letter to former staff and consultants, warning them that they risked prosecution if they misused campaign resources. The letter then asked recipients to destroy or return any information they might have taken from the Trump campaign’s vast Rolodex of donor contacts.
A senior adviser to Trump insisted that the directive wasn’t in response to “a particular act” but merely to “make sure no one was misusing valuable campaign data.”
But inside Trumpworld, the episode sparked a game of whodunit over who had the audacity to abuse the confidential donor list, with GOP sources speculating that a pair of ex-Trump campaign hands were working to amass a donor profile of their own. And it added to the cold war that has broken out among competing factions that are seeking to capitalize on their time with Trump to score new business and political clients.
“These are people who didn’t like each other four months ago and now they all have a common interest: how to get some coin out of the Trump post-presidency,” said a former senior administration official, who like others would talk about internal squabbles only on condition of anonymity.
For staff of a losing presidential candidate, the weeks and months after that loss present difficult career choices. Many choose to move on from politics altogether, worn down from the days on the trail. Others take time off or explore the lucrative fields of consultancy or K Street.
For some Trump aides, the landscape has been different. Getting jobs in corporate America has been difficult, owing to the often toxic reputation of the 45th president, especially after the Jan. 6 riots on Capitol Hill. Their boss, meanwhile, continues to float the idea that he will run for president again, and he is in the process of setting up a political — and, potentially, social media — apparatus aimed at cementing him as a lasting fixture in GOP politics. That has incentivized his onetime aides to stay in the game. It's also sparked infighting, as those aides view maintaining their MAGA bona fides as critical for landing jobs on current and future Republican campaigns.
Within Trump’s orbit, former aides and advisers have been squabbling for direct access to the former president as they filter in and out of Mar-a-Lago. Privately, they have accused others of overstating that access in order to score House and Senate clients. There have been whisper campaigns that some former staffers are misleading potential campaigns by telling them that, if hired, their candidate would have a better chance of securing Trump’s endorsement. Other former aides who have promised to organize posh fundraisers for incumbent Republicans and GOP candidates at Mar-a-Lago have become targets of mockery among their peers, who insist there is no single gatekeeper to Trump’s gilded club, where donors regularly gather to hear from the party’s rising stars.
Recalling a recent fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago for one incumbent Republican, a Trump aide was incredulous that another had claimed to those in attendance that he was instrumental for arranging such gatherings — and, naturally, should be hired as a fundraising consultant for them.
“I don’t begrudge anyone for wanting to make money ... but don’t be so brazen about it,” the aide said.
Several former campaign officials and top White House aides who’ve retained access to Trump — either through regular meetings at Mar-a-Lago or weekly phone calls — have launched their own ventures since the 2020 election. As they’ve tried to ingratiate themselves with new clients and donors, they have settled into different camps, each wary of the others.
Former campaign manager Bill Stepien teamed up with deputy campaign manager Justin Clark and adviser Nick Trainer to form a political consulting firm; former 2016 campaign aides Corey Lewandowski and Dave Bossie have been tasked with creating a new super PAC for the former president; former White House policy adviser Stephen Miller is in the midst of launching a new legal group; and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is working for the Conservative Partnership Institute, which has a donor summit planned in Palm Beach next week. Others, like Sergio Gor, the former chief of staff for the Trump campaign’s finance committee, and Caroline Wren, another Trump fundraiser, have been working closely with Republican candidates in 2022 races.
“Trump is surrounded by people who are telling him ‘you need us,’ but they really need him,” said the person close to the former president.
Trump spokesperson Jason Miller, who is in regular contact with the former president and the aides currently working for him, disputed claims of friction inside Trump’s orbit. Instead, Miller said he’s never seen such harmony.
“Having been around Trump World for five years now, I would argue that here’s the least amount of ally competition or conflict at this point than I’ve ever seen,” he said. “The people who the president has kept in his orbit are all true believers who understand that he makes his own decisions, and we have very specific roles supporting him.”
Another former aide who is still in frequent contact with Trump’s advisers agreed that the skeleton political operation is “getting along.”
But the whisper campaigns and mudslinging have been noticed well beyond Trump’s immediate team of aides. Some of the former president’s most trusted external allies have personally urged him to dump his current squad, claiming that those he’s surrounded himself with are singularly focused on enriching themselves or too clumsy to be running a successful post-presidential operation.
“They’re competing for his money. I’ve told the president, ‘You need to be cognizant of this,’’' said a former senior Trump administration official. “He does not need a huge organization right now peppered with crazy monthly retainers and unnecessary overhead.”
Trump himself is aware of the dynamics at play, according to multiple people who have either had direct discussions with the former president or are familiar with the situation. Some of his closest aides say they wish he would lie low until the 2022 midterm cycle kicks into full gear, a move that they believe would help mitigate the private clashes and confusion that some feel have consumed his current orbit.
But the chaos may not be disorienting for Trump. From the earliest days of his 2016 campaign through the end of his presidency, the former New York real estate mogul has surrounded himself with strong personalities and constantly shifted his favor from one clique to the next.
“Trump has always encouraged that kind of behavior,” said a former aide. “But it is difficult to do the job like that.”
The warning shot fired over unauthorized use of the Trump Victory donor list was, for many, a clear example of the eagerness that some Trump aides or former staff have to exploit what one 2016 Trump campaign official described as a “Wild West” environment at Mar-a-Lago.
“Right now, it’s like a daycare if you took all the adults away. There’s virtually nobody with organizational skills left,” said a person familiar with Trump’s operation.
I know this will result in the usual suspects screaming “Godwin’s law,” but that is exactly like Hitler.
He used to let his top aides slug it out among each other in some vain hope of social Darwinism causing the most able to rise to the top.
We can see how that worked out.
Wasn’t his VP the most unpopular president until Trump came along
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln is a 2005 book by Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, published by Simon & Schuster. The book is a biographical portrait of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and some of the men who served with him in his cabinet from 1861 to 1865. Three of his Cabinet members had previously run against Lincoln in the 1860 election: Attorney General Edward Bates, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase and Secretary of State William H. Seward. The book focuses on Lincoln's mostly successful attempts to reconcile conflicting personalities and political factions on the path to abolition and victory in the American Civil War.
An Italian restaurant owner accidentally put on a US sanctions blacklist before Donald Trump left the presidency has described the last couple of months as a “nightmare”.
In a case of mistaken identity, Alessandro Bazzoni, who owns a restaurant and pizzeria in the northern Italian city of Verona, had sanctions slapped against his company as part of the Trump administration’s crackdown on blacklisted Venezuelan crude oil.
The US treasury also mistakenly blacklisted SeriGraphicLab, a graphic design company owned by another man called Alessandro Bazzoni, in Sardinia. The Sardinian business owner confirmed his company had been erroneously hit with sanctions in January but declined to comment further when contacted by the Guardian on Friday.
In 2019, Trump’s government imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), in an attempt to force the resignation of president Nicolás Maduro, who the US accused of corruption, human rights violations and rigging his 2018 re-election. On his last day in office, Trump sanctioned a network of oil firms and individuals tied to PDVSA.
Bazzoni, the restaurant owner, discovered his company’s name – AMG SAS Di Alessandro Bazzoni & C – was on the blacklist during a visit to his bank on 19 January, the day before Trump left office and the new US president, Joe Biden, was sworn in.
“When I heard that my current accounts had been blocked, I thought it was a joke,” Bazzoni told Corriere della Sera. “These are already difficult times for us restaurant owners, the last thing I needed was to have my accounts blocked.”
Bazzoni told the newspaper he solved the problem himself, “by entering my data on a special digital platform of the US government”. He added: “While I was at it I managed to get a visa until 2023.”
In an updated list on the US treasury’s website dated 31 March, both Italian companies were deleted from the blacklist. A treasury official told Reuters that the department realised the companies were owned by different individuals than the Bazzoni it blacklisted in January.
The restaurant owner claimed he didn’t receive an apology. “But it’s not a problem, the important thing is they removed my name from that list,” he told Corriere. “I thank the new American government for the efficiency with which it intervened.”
Donald Trump is reportedly working on a social media platform of his own, after being banned from Twitter and Facebook for inciting the Capitol riot.
He has also launched a new website, which presents a highly selective history of his single term in power and offers the chance to book appearances or personal greetings.
But Trump has also said he may not need his new platform, because the short, often tweet-length statements he now propels into journalists’ inboxes from Mar-a-Lago in Florida communicate his views as effectively as any tweet ever could.
On Sunday the former president seemed to test the theory, mimicking world leaders including Pope Francis, if not echoing their sense of dignity and appeals for peace on a major religious holiday, by releasing a statement to mark Easter Sunday.
“Happy Easter to ALL,” Trump said, “including the Radical Left CRAZIES who rigged our Presidential Election, and want to destroy our Country!”
The presidential election was not rigged, however often Trump repeats a lie repeatedly thrown out of court. Joe Biden beat him by more than 7m votes and by 306-232 in the electoral college.
But for Trump supporters, the statement may have carried a raucous echo of what were for them happier times, when he regularly tweeted diplomatic communiqués such as: “Sorry losers and haters, but my IQ is one of the highest – and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.”
Tellingly, Trump’s Easter statement did not set off the kind of explosions in the news media his tweets once did. Instead of prompting deadline scrambles and front-page headlines, it seemed to engender a sort of mild ennui.
“Jesus couldn’t have said it any better,” wrote Ken Vogel of the New York Times.
The writer Robert Schlesinger asked: “What is the phrase my religious friends use when in doubt? What would Jesus whine?”
David Frum, once a speechwriter for George W Bush, now a prominent Trump critic on the American right, called it “an Easter Sunday message of resentment and rage”.
“It’s an enduring good joke,” he added, “that Donald Trump has zero understanding of Christian faith – and that if he ever did understand it, he would 100% oppose and reject it.”
A few hours later, Trump tried again. This time, his statement simply said: “Happy Easter!”