Not Necessarily


Patrick is a mid-40 year old geek with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Information Systems. Nothing he says here has anything to do with the official position of his employer or any other institution.

Related Post Roulette

12 Responses

  1. gregiank says:

    It’s a bad thing that these kind of things are leaked. Prez’s need to be able to have conversations that don’t’ immediately become public. As noted its not like we didn’t know he was lying about most of everything he has said or that we won’t find out Mexico isn’t going to pay for the wall. For the most part people who believed that were not only suckers but actively wanted to be suckered. But some conversations should be confidential at least for a while. I’m also not really interested in the complaints of Trump supporters who are pissed off about how this is wrong, even though it is, and are embarrassed about how poorly it makes their dude look. Bed made, lay in it, etc.Report

  2. Burt Likko says:

    Cui bono? Policy professionals, sure. I agree with the OP at least that far. But I’m not ready to dismiss the notion that it’s senior Presidential staff making all this happen.

    Isn’t it most likely that this is someone within the President’s immediate circle who has not been able to push The Man out of policy issues completely with arguments like “You like the public ceremonies and don’t like the policy details, so just delegate that stuff!” The most benign motive I can see is that Trump lacks aptitude and affinity for actual government, but someone has to do it, so the top staff are just trying to push him to adopt a purely symbolic, head-of-state-only sort of role. A future President would in theory not have to worry about this (but might have to worry about some other sort of infighting) so long as she can demonstrate the intellectual engagement with actual government necessary to not scare the piss out of her policy people.

    The notion that this is a House of Cards maneuver originating from some Machiavellian mastermind like Steve Bannon or Vice President Pence or Secretary Tillerson seems really improbable. While I’ve no doubt that scheming and jockeying for position is part of the day to day, real-life experience suggests that this sort of thing is usually done both out in the open and with very little subtlety.

    If it’s going to be a TV analogy, I’m wondering if it’s LIttlefinger buying Joffrey the crossbow, but discovering that the damn boy-King still shows up at small council meetings anyway and not listening to Cercei telling him that he looks tired and needs some sleep.

    I don’t know whether that counts as agreeing with or disagreeing with the OP, beyond moving away from the “deep state with a benign face” attribution that rings too harmoniously with breathless conspiracy theories for my preference.Report

    • Patrick in reply to Burt Likko says:

      This is entirely possible.

      If this is the case, however, it’s indicative of Trump not knowing how to run an administration, if his own people are the source… which means it’s still not driven by a desire to embarrass Trump directly, but a jockeying for position move.

      Which is even more terrible, sure.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Do recall that Trump’s preferred managerial style is to, basically, hand everyone a set of knives and reward whomever sticks the most into someone’s back the Leader’s Ear until the next day’s challenge.

      Add that to the fact that Trump clearly obsesses over how he’s viewed in the media and seems to judge “success” based on how the media reports things…

      Well, there’s literally no way his White House isn’t the leakiest ship in the world. It’s designed to be. Backstabbing is the game, and the media is the scoreboard.

      I have no confidence Kelly will be able to do anything about it — this isn’t a problem of staff, it’s the inevitable result of a leadership style.Report

  3. joke says:

    surprisingly, i’m not inclined to think that the conversations in the transcript do all that much to discredit Trump. Every politician finds that they have to worry about public opinion, and the consequences of appearances, and unkeepable campaign promises made; getting past Trump’s sub-standard command of English, what I see here is someone who isn’t afraid to push hard on foreign leaders. Polite talk is for public consumption; do we have transcripts of previous Presidents negotiating with other foreign leaders with which to compare? We don’t have a whole lot of them with which to compare. The alleged transcript of a 2014 call between Obama and Netanyahu, in which Obama was pretty pushy, and a Bush transcript of a call with Philippines.

    On the other hand, this kind of release is completely debilitating to US foreign policy. Who’s going to talk to the President now?Report

    • DavidTC in reply to joke says:

      getting past Trump’s sub-standard command of English

      It’s not his substandard command of English. It’s his total failure to understand what the other guy is talking about, at least in the Australian conversation. (I don’t think I’ve read the other one.)

      It is explained in fairly easy terms, in fact, it’s so easy to understand what is being talked about that I will not explain it, except that it’s about a 1200 refugees currently in Australia that the US had agreed to take under Obama.

      Trump not only enters the conversation apparently not having done any research, which could possibly be just laziness, but then he completely fails to understand stuff that is being clearly explained to him. Stuff anyone else reading the transcript will understand.

      Go ahead. Start with the background information that Trump apparently did grasp: ‘Under Obama, the US has committed to taking a certain number (I’ll even go easy on him forgetting the specific number, although that’s really the sort of thing the president should be briefed on.) of refugees from Australia’. That’s the premise of the conversation. Now pull it up in your web browser and read it, and see how long it takes you to understand what is going on with Australia.

      And now remember that this guy is president, and presumably had his own staff that he could have all this explained to him…and probably did. He just didn’t follow it, or forgot it.

      There is a reason he does not do interviews. There is a reason he does not do press conferences.

      People, at this point, seem to understand that Trump has all sorts of psychological issues that make him unsuited to be president, but have failed to notice, or at least failed to talk about, something I keep bringing up: Donald Trump is deeply deeply stupid.

      I don’t mean that as some sort of insult because I don’t like him, and I don’t mean stupid as in ‘He makes illegal choices or choices I disagree with’, I mean he actually cannot process information. Very simple facts have to be repeated over and over until they get into his head.

      It’s the reason he gets angry when people are talking to him. It’s because he does not understand what they are trying to explain to him, and anger is his way of ending the conversation.Report

  4. James K says:

    If the leaker needed to communicate “Don’t let Trump lead negotiations” they picked the worst possible way to do it. If you need to communicate something potentially embarrassing to a colleague there are many ways one might do it,and sending it via a newspaper is the very last one you should use.Report

  5. North says:

    What’s interesting to me is how carefully vetted the leaked sections are. Nothing particularly new or sensitive is released by these leaks; the conversations in question make the President’s counterparts in Mexico and Australia come out looking just fine (The Mexican President sounds firm and committed; the Australian Prime Minister comes off diplomatic and knowledgeable); and no sensitive national security info is revealed. The leak is fine tuned to make Trump look awful without any collateral damage to diplomatic relations or national security. That suggests to me that it was more senior level staffers doing the leaking.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to North says:

      What’s interesting to me is how carefully vetted the leaked sections are.

      It’s not a ‘leaked section’, the entire conversation is out, at least the Australian one:

      It starts with hello and ends with goodbye, it’s the full thing.

      Granted, there isn’t any sensitive information in there, but I think that’s mostly because no one (In our government or theirs) is going to share sensitive information with Donald Trump if they can help it.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to DavidTC says:

        Though the fact that it’s only these two leaders and not any of the dozens of others Trump talked to point to some sort of deliberate choice.

        There’s no desk officer in the US govt that has these two countries together in their portfolio. Though on the other hand, I want to say some parts of these specific conversations were leaked before, as SNL did a (very funny) parody with Trump talking to Trumbull and EPN (and Mugabe, but I’m almost certain that one was made up entirely) back close to when they happened.Report