We obviously do not know what was said, but witnesses reported that Donald Trump conferred by telephone with Bill Clinton just prior to announcing his campaign.
Former president Bill Clinton had a private telephone conversation in late spring with Donald Trump at the same time that the billionaire investor and reality-television star was nearing a decision to run for the White House, according to associates of both men.
Four Trump allies and one Clinton associate familiar with the exchange said that Clinton encouraged Trumpâ€™s efforts to play a larger role in the Republican Party and offered his own views of the political landscape.
Clintonâ€™s personal office in New York confirmed that the call occurred in late May, but an aide to Clinton said the 2016 race was never specifically discussed and that it was only a casual chat.
Read the whole thing.
Back in Late March, Stephanie Cegielski, a former Trump Campaign Communications Director, confessed that Donald Trump originally had no intention to win.
Even Trump’s most trusted advisors didn’t expect him to fare this well.
Almost a year ago, recruited for my public relations and public policy expertise, I sat in Trump Tower being told that the goal was to get The Donald to poll in double digits and come in second in delegate count. That was it.
The Trump camp would have been satisfied to see him polling at 12% and taking second place to a candidate who might hold 50%. His candidacy was a protest candidacy. …
What was once Trump’s desire to rank second place to send a message to America and to increase his power as a businessman has nightmarishly morphed into a charade that is poised to do irreparable damage to this country if we do not stop this campaign in its tracks.
I’ll say it again: Trump never intended to be the candidate. But his pride is too out of control to stop him now.
You can give Trump the biggest gift possible if you are a Trump supporter: stop supporting him.
He doesn’t want the White House. He just wants to be able to say that he could have run the White House. Heâ€™s achieved that already and then some. If there is any question, take it from someone who was recruited to help the candidate succeed, and initially very much wanted him to do so.
MSNBC reported on an interview with Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman and chief strategist, which disclosed that Donald Trump has no intention of personally doing all the work of the presidency, even if he wins.
Manafort sat down with the Huffington Postâ€™s Howard Fineman for a fairly long interview, and while the two covered quite a bit of ground, there was one exchange in particular that stood out for me.
The vice presidential pick will also be part of the process of proving heâ€™s ready for the White House, Manafort said.
â€œHe needs an experienced person to do the part of the job he doesnâ€™t want to do. He seems himself more as the chairman of the board, than even the CEO, let alone the COO.â€
This is no small acknowledgement. For months, itâ€™s been clear that Trump has no meaningful understanding of public policy or even how government works at a basic level. By any fair measure, his ignorance and incompetence about affairs of state is unlike anything Americans have ever seen in a major-party presidential candidate. The question has long been when we can expect Trump to get up to speed.
And the answer is, he has no intention of doing any such thing. Day-to-governing and overseeing the executive branch apparently represent â€œthe part of the job he doesnâ€™t want to do.â€
All these little details support the theory I advanced back in February, that the Trump candidacy was never intended to win.
Suppose Bill Clinton figured out the sole, solitary possible way that he could shove a big, fat monkey wrench into the Republican Partyâ€™s Presidential Election Campaignâ€™s works.
Letâ€™s say, for instance, that Old Bill knew another feller, that he had a buddy, a good friend, not in politics actually, but a fellow in some respects kind of like himself, brash, shameless, fond of the ladies, appetitive, hugely out-going, and larger-than-life. Billâ€™s friend, like himself, would be a wealthy and successful person, a celebrity, a performer, and a chap vigorously able to go after what he wants free of ethical inhibitions.
One can picture Bill sitting down with his pal Donald, and saying, â€œDonald, old boy, I need you to do Hillary and me a solid. The good news is that the whole thing is going to be one of the greatest larks of all time, and together we are going to make history. This is really going to be a hoot! If it works, you get all the billions of dollars of federal contracts, leases, and subsidies you can use, and Hillary will appoint you ambassador to the Court of St. James. If it fails, sheeeit! you get to be president. This is a no-lose operation.â€
Suppose it was slightly more complicated:
Donald Trump, last year, is unhappy with the Obama Administration’s mishandling of the economy, foreign policy embarrassments, and the general atmosphere of American decline. He also doesn’t like the Republican emphasis on conservative ideas and he has no sympathy with the rarified idealism of Bush-era Wilsonian Foreign Policy activism. The idea of running in the Republican primaries as a protest candidate has occurred to him.
He would get to ventilate his personal opinions, throw his weight around, and have an impact. Hell, he might win a state or two somewhere. He’d have himself a place in the History books, and as a former presidential candidate he would have a bit more influence and enjoy more respect when he did his business deals. Come to think of it, he would probably even get a little more tail. The aroma of political power does things to chicks.
Trump is reluctant, though, to alienate his pals the Clintons, so he decides to talk it over with Bill. Trump assures Bill that he means Hillary no actual harm, but as Bill thinks about all this, his grin gets wider and wider. Trump running may not really injure Hillary one bit, but it sure could make an unholy mess of the Republican race.
Bill Clinton advises Trump to be himself, and to come out loudly with all the nationalist, protectionist, working-class-hero kind of BS that Jim Webb was peddling in that book of his. What Bill is proposing is, in essence, that Trump should run as a democrat in Republican clothing. The campaign will be all democrat class warfare and promises of special government interventions for Trump’s voters, all served up under a nice Republican sauce made up of flag-waving patriotism.
Obviously, all of this turned out to match the temper of the times, the mood of the low-information voter, perfectly. No one could have predicted that it would sell quite so well, not Bill Clinton, not The Donald himself.
And now Trump is approaching the position of the the dog who actually caught the car he was chasing and then has no idea what to do with it.
How Mencken would laugh!