A new piece by Olivia Nuzzi of The New York Magazine offers yet another disturbing glimpse into the office of the deeply disturbed man currently running the United States of America.
Nuzzi went to the White House to gather information on rumors that Chief of Staff John Kelly is unhappy with his job and could decide to leave. After conducting her meetings, she was stopped on her way out by Press Secretary Huckabee Sarah Sanders who said the president wanted to speak to her personally.
Nuzzi was ushered into the Oval Office to speak to Trump. Huckabee Sanders was present as was White House Communications Director Bill Shine during the conversation.
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“I just heard that you were doing a story on … this stuff,” Trump began. He assured Nuzzi that he has a “very good relationship” with John Kelly before launching into one of his trademarked self-aggrandizing sales pitches, touting his imagined achievements.
Trump unloaded on her with a breathless stream-of-conscious rant that would have made James Joyce lightheaded. He bounced from Nikki Haley’s resignation to the economy, to China, to Iran, to his poll numbers, jumping from topic to topic without drawing any connections between them, a consequence no doubt of his infamously short attention span.
During the conversation, between Trump peppering in comments about how he expected Nuzzi to write a “nasty” story, numerous high-ranking officials ducked into the Oval Office, including John Kelly, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Nuzzi found the cameo appearances strange, almost orchestrated.
“This was beginning to feel ridiculous, like this was the reunion episode of a sitcom, in which Bob Saget might come out next to an applause track,” she writes.
When Nuzzi got around to asking President Trump about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, he unleashed another incoherent, discursive hurricane of words. At one point, Trump demonstrated his own governmental ignorance by referring to Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) as a “judge at the Senate committee.”
Judges do not sit on the Senate committee, Senators do.
Reading the transcript, one gets a good picture of the disconnected mass of rotting, randomly firing synapses that constitute President Trump’s brain. Take a deep breath and dive in:
“Well, the Mueller investigation, if anything, it’s showing that the Democrats colluded with Russia and others. And it’s showing there’s no collusion from me. There never was. And yes, I’m very satisfied with the way that’s going. It’s a process. I’m very satisfied. I consider it to be an illegal investigation. It should’ve never been called. But is there anything there? Nothing. There’s no collusion. There is no collusion. By the way, I don’t know if you heard, [Senator] Richard Burr just came out, he said, ‘No, we have found no collusion.’ He’s a judge at the Senate committee. [Note: Burr is chair of Senate Intelligence Committee] And you know, Nunes and all of them, Congressman Nunes came out and said there’s no collusion. So, you have two committees that spent much more than a year on this and they have found no collusion. [North Carolina senator] Richard Burr just made the statement, just very recently. He said: ‘I found no collusion.’ You know why? Because there is no collusion. And they only interviewed, like, hundreds — I mean, the number of people is, like, incredible. The money that’s been spent is incredible. They’ve found no collusion. So, as far as other things are concerned, I think we’re just doing great. Yes, am I concerned about the election? I’d rather win elections. I’ve never lost an election in my life, okay? You know that, right? I’ve run one time. It was for the presidency. I actually had a senator come in and say, ‘Mr. President, I’ve been a senator for 24 years. Sir, I think this is the way you should do it.’ I said, ‘Well, you know, I’ve just been a president for two years. It’s the only time I ever ran for office.’ He said, ‘You know, that’s one of the most amazing things that I’ve ever seen and I’ve been doing this a long time.’ It is sort of interesting.”
Nuzzi’s entire interaction with Trump and his administration reads like a surreal fever dream and serves as ready reminder that an absolute lunatic is our president, supported by opportunists and sycophants who will throw their support behind whatever lies come dribbling out of his mouth.