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Paul Waldman

The 'Many Sides' of Trump's Moral Rot

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci President Donald Trump leaves after speaking to reporters at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. L ike all politicians, presidents spend a good deal of their time talking. Most of what they say is barely worth remembering—banal interviews, comments before or after a meeting, inconsequential press conferences, welcoming remarks to a foreign delegation or champion sports team—but on rare occasions, the country looks to the president for rhetoric that unifies and uplifts the nation, creating shared meaning out of critical events, particularly tragic ones. At those moments, words matter and the president's character can reveal itself. And boy, did Donald Trump's character ever reveal itself this past weekend. As we stand back in wonder at just what a repugnant human being now sits in the Oval Office, we need to keep reminding ourselves that his sins (of both omission and commission) are not his alone. Many Republicans have stepped up to disagree with...

He's Good Enough, He's Smart Enough, and Gosh Darn It, People Like Him

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster President Donald Trump waves to the crowd after speaking at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree in Glen Jean, West Virginia. I n an age where our children are supposedly being made soft by too many participation trophies and too much praise, no one is thirstier for tributes than the president of the United States. Give him the chance and he'll tell you how amazing he is with all the self-awareness of a 3-year-old; as we recently learned, in explaining the political importance of his anti-immigration stance to Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump said , "I am the world's greatest person that does not want to let people into the country." And if you work for Trump or depend on him for your position, you know that you have to praise him, too. You need to convince him he has your love and your loyalty, and the best way to do that is to extol his fabulousness to all who will listen, especially on TV. If you're looking for a model, you might take Corey...

At Last, Trump Finds His Mini-Me

(Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)
(Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images) White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci answers reporters' questions during his first press briefing on July 21, 2017. P erhaps never in American history has a lowly White House aide been so roundly and gleefully mocked in such short a time as Sean Spicer, President Trump's soon-to-be-former press secretary. Spicer's departure and the arrival of the new communication director, Anthony Scaramucci, show that this White House has really found its groove. Not in passing legislation (which hasn't happened yet) or in convincing Americans that the president is doing a bang-up job (his approval ratings are in the 30s), but in making Donald Trump's staff more fully Trumpian. Ordinarily, the position of White House communication director is filled by someone with at least a decade of experience in press relations—after all, it's pretty much the most prestigious and challenging job in that field. Scaramucci, however, was picked using the...