Earlier today, I listened to the most recent episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast, which starts out with a discussion of the timeline around Trump’s denials and cover stories for the 206 Trump Tower meeting with Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton. The conversation then moves on to Jared Kushner’s financial troubles and the degree to which he is using his position in the White House to advance his personal and family interests.
Even if you have been following these stories closely, the podcast is worth a listen. Marshall does a great job laying the sordid tales out clearly and succinctly, and without hyperbole.
While it was not the first time I have had the thought, I was struck once again while listening to just how dumb and obvious Trump and his cronies are about all of this. We have this idea from TV and movies that villains and tyrants are these mustache-twirling super geniuses who are always five steps ahead of us, that when we think we have grasped their plan, it is because that’s just what they want us to think.
With Trump and his bunch, they really are that venal, greedy, and stupid. Finding themselves unexpectedly sitting in the White House, of course their first thought is how to enrich themselves, and they’re not even smart enough to try to hide it.
By no means do I want to downplay the damage they are doing (and will continue to do until they are removed from office) to this country. “Greedy and stupid” can be just as dangerous as “evil and brilliant”—maybe moreso. Still, let’s not make this whole mess any more complicated than it needs to be. These guys are not playing 12-dimensional chess. There is no strategy. It is just another over-leveraged scam that will eventually collapse.