Chapters and worse
With all his merchandising ventures — steaks, vodka, clothes, deodorant — why didn't Donald Trump ever start a book-of-the-month club? Though he's not much of a reader himself, the Trump name is showing Oprah Winfrey-like power in the publishing world.
Even with a million copies printed, Simon & Schuster is struggling to keep up with demand for Bob Woodward's "Fear: Trump in the White House." Amazon ran out of hardcover copies after Tuesday's first day of sale.
Now Stormy Daniels has announced she will have a book out on Oct. 2 that will include details of her story about a sexual tryst with Trump and her life as a porn star. The title is "Full Disclosure."
“I've been working on a book for about 10 years, so I just sort of melded everything together. I've kept notebooks of the adventures I've had on the road and in strip clubs and stuff," Daniels said on ABC's "The View." So presumably it will be more than a two-minute read. The publisher is St. Martin's Press.
It may only be a matter of time before the president gets back in author game himself. At one point during his multiple-day fulminations about Woodward, he tweeted: "I’ll write the real book!"
A gust of ill wind
Trump was still in don't-blame-me and I-don't-get-enough-credit mode Wednesday over the federal response last year to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
His administration, Trump tweeted, "did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico, even though an inaccessible island with very poor electricity and a totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan."
Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, a persistent Trump critic, had tweeted Tuesday — after Trump boasted the Maria response was an "incredible unsung success" — that "if he thinks the death of 3,000 people [is] a success God help us all.”
Later, Trump said his team is getting "tremendous accolades" for the Hurricane Florence preparations.
His new work of fiction
By now most sentient citizens including some of his allies know the president crudely fabricates stuff when he fears that he is cornered. In this case the motive is clear: His 'heckuva-job-Donnie" Puerto Rico claim was met with widespread rejection and ridicule.
So without suspending disbelief, let's just savor and appreciate the president's latest fevered effort— the full Twitter text — issued early Thursday as new destruction loomed in the Carolinas:
"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000...
".....This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!"
In truth, an independent review commissioned by Puerto Rico's government revealed that an estimated 2,975 people died in the six months following Maria, much of it attributable to lack of electrical power and medical care. Nobody credible ever claimed otherwise.
Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order authorizing his administration to impose sanctions against foreigners who interfere with U.S. elections and campaigns. Senators backing a bipartisan bill to address political meddling said the order isn't strong enough and the reprisals must be mandatory.
“We felt it was important to demonstrate the president is taking command of this issue,” said National Security Adviser John Bolton. “It’s something he cares deeply about.”
That was met with skepticism because of Trump's frequent vacillation about Russian responsibility, including when he was standing alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin in July. "Given what the president did in Helsinki, giving himself the option of levying tough sanctions is hardly reassuring,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also said the order "does not go far enough."
Mike Rogers, who retired earlier this year as director of the National Security Agency, said at a forum Tuesday that when he tried to warn Trump about Russian interference, the president would respond, “Mike, you know I’m in a different place.” Rogers said he responded: “Sir, this isn’t about politics, it isn’t about party, it’s about a foreign state that is attempting to subvert the very tenets of our structure.”
Manafort seeks silent plea
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is seeking to make a plea-bargain deal to avoid his second trial later this month, but is resisting demands from special counsel Robert Mueller's office to cooperate in the investigation of Trump and the 2016 campaign, according to The Washington Post and ABC News.
Manafort was convicted last month of bank and tax fraud. The next trial is for alleged money laundering and lobbying violations.
Though already facing a long prison sentence, he has an incentive to not cooperate with Mueller: Keeping mum about Trump would improve the chance of a presidential pardon.
12,800 migrant kids detained
Since May 2017, the federal government's head count of detained migrant children has risen from 2,400 to 12,800, The New York Times reported. Government data indicates the increase isn't due to an influx of children entering the country. Rather, it's a reduction in the numbers who have been released to live with families and other sponsors, the report said.
Most of the children crossed the border alone, without their parents.
The Washington Post reports the number of migrant family members arrested for illegally entering the United States shot up 38 percent in August to almost 13,000.
Banker can't cash check
JPMorgan Chase's chief executive Jamie Dimon boasted Wednesday that he "could beat" Trump in an election. "I'm as tough as he is, I'm smarter than he is. I would be fine. He could punch me all he wants, it wouldn't work with me. I'd fight right back," he said at a morning event.
In another slap, Dimon said that unlike Trump, he earned his wealth — "It wasn't a gift from daddy."
By noon, Dimon ate his words in a statement issued through the bank: “I should not have said it. I’m not running for president. Proves I wouldn’t make a good politician. I get frustrated because I want all sides to come together to help solve big problems.”
What else is happening:
- Trashing Woodward's book on "Fox and Friends," Eric Trump said the author wrote the "sensational, nonsense" about his dad to "make three extra shekels." When not referring to Israel's currency, the word "shekel" has been historically used as an anti-Semitic slur.
- The Trump administration is adopting a wider definition of anti-Semitism for Education Department investigations of discrimination against Jewish students at colleges. Critics say it could stifle free speech by labeling some criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic. The move was praised by Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Group of America, who said, "Israel bashing and anti-Zionism can cross a line when it becomes anti-Semitism."
- Barbara Res, a former Trump construction executive, writes in a Daily News op-ed that he "has always relied on people not to follow his most ridiculous orders" — but also would batter them for it. Among the anecdotes she recalled was Trump demanding that Braille numbers be kept off elevator control panels, despite a law requiring it, and yelling that "No blind people are going to live in Trump Tower."
- Scott Pruitt, forced out as Trump's EPA chief after an epic series of ethics lapses, is in discussions to work as a consultant to a Kentucky coal mining tycoon, The New York Times reported.
- Vice President Mike Pence has become the go-to guy in the White House for lobbyists seeking to influence the Trump administration across federal agencies, The Washington Post reports.
- At a White House reception for Medal of Honor winners, Trump told them: "You are the strongest, the bravest and the finest among us. See? My ego's not that big."