Donald Trump’s “accidental” viewing of Real Time With Bill Maher on Friday night not only inspired a couple of ridiculously defensive tweets but ignited a Twitter feud with his short-tenured former Communications Director Anthony Scarmucciwho was a guest on the program.
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Trump’s fragile ego couldn’t handle Maher’s monologue which hit the president right where it hurts him most while he was still fuming over the negative coverage of his trips to El Paso and Dayton — ostensibly to visit those affected by the deadly shootings in those cities, but roundly criticized as self-aggrandizing public relations exercises after Trump banned journalists and had his personal video crew shoot footage for a campaign ad.
….cause big disruption by going to Manhattan. Working almost all of the time, including evenings. Don’t have to be in W.H. to do that…And sooo many other false statements. He is right about one thing, though. I will win again in 2020. Otherwise, he pays 95% in taxes!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2019
The sense that Trump doth protest too much indicates just how much Maher — whose long history as a Trump antagonist once resulted in a $5 million lawsuit — had gotten under the president’s skin with his jokes that perhaps hit too close to home for the president.
Apparently, Trump “accidentally” watched the entire program and has stewed over it for over a day, since he sent out a tweet this morning attacking Anthony Scaramucci who didn’t appear on the show until the third segment after the monologue and opening guest interview.
Scaramucci was booked as the program’s token Republican Trump defender, but even for him, there are limits to that for which he was willing to go to the bat for the president to make excuses.
He couldn’t defend Trump’s conduct on his visits to the Dayton and El Paso hospitals, something he also mentioned in an earlier appearance on MSNBC.
“So, look, the president didn’t do well on the trip. He probably would be mad at somebody for saying that,” Scaramucci told MSNBC on Thursday. “Maybe he’ll tweet something negative about somebody for saying he didn’t do well, but the facts are he did not do well on the trip because if the trip is being made about him and not the demonstration of compassion and love and caring and empathy for those people, then it becomes a catastrophe for him, the administration, and it’s also a bad reflection on the country.”
The former White House Communications Director’s prediction about Trump’s reaction was prescient since, sure enough, the president attacked him directly in a Twitter barrage this morning.
…..other than the fact that this Administration has probably done more than any other Administration in its first 2 1/2 years of existence. Anthony, who would do anything to come back in, should remember the only reason he is on TV, and it’s not for being the Mooch!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 11, 2019
In responding to Trump’s attack on him, Scaramucci proved to the president that he is not exactly anxious to return to the disaster zone that is the Oval Office, judging from the bridge-burning characterization of Trump as a divisive force who eventually turns against everyone he comes into contact with.
For the last 3 years I have fully supported this President. Recently he has said things that divide the country in a way that is unacceptable. So I didn’t pass the 100% litmus test. Eventually he turns on everyone and soon it will be you and then the entire country. https://t.co/BUvwujc6LW
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) August 11, 2019
Clearly, if Scaramucci can sincerely make the argument that Trump has only “recently” said things to divide the country — a man who launched his campaign by labeling Mexicans rapists and notoriously called Nazis “very fine people” — he is no less self-serving than the con man-in-chief himself.
Scaramucci’s entire exchange with Trump is a cautionary tale for the rest of the nation, just as the former Communications Director so craftily elucidates.
If the president can turn against one of his own supporters for insufficient loyalty, imagine how his narcissistic and authoritarian need for complete and total adulation will affect his conduct in office going forward with even worse consequences than it already has manifested.
Trump’s personality — as well as his disastrous policies — will soon leave him with an ever-shrinking base which, if he doesn’t face impeachment before the election, bodes ill for his chance of a second electoral college victory.
He only has himself to blame.
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Original reporting by Justin Wise at The Hill.