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The Exhausting Gossipification of Donald Trump

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | January 14, 2021 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | January 14, 2021 |


I don’t want to minimize the adulterous affair with a White House subordinate that eventually led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment back in 1998 (as an Arkansan who had worked on his campaign and looked up to him, it was a devastating, sickening revelation), but the idea of being impeached for lying under oath about a sex act seems so quaint now. The notion that “lying under oath” — and in this case, lying about the meaning of what “is” is — could get a President impeached seems so ludicrously far-fetched today given that the current occupant of the White House has now been impeached twice in successive years for 1) blackmailing foreign governments into providing dirt on a political opponent, and 2) for inciting an insurrection to storm the Capitol in an effort to overturn the results of a free and fair democratic election.

The Republicans who impeached Bill Clinton in 1998 would have impeached Trump dozens of times by now if he didn’t belong to the same political party. The affairs with Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal and the campaign finance laws that were broken to cover them up would have been enough all by themselves to get Trump a six-week impeachment trial in 1998. And yet, here we are, not only impeaching a President for inciting a riot but we are completely ignoring the fact that — four days prior — he threatened to bring criminal charges against a Secretary of State if that SoS could not “find” 12,000 votes for him and overturn the results in Georgia. (The fact that Trump fired a U.S. Attorney for refusing to investigate Trump’s made-up allegations of election fraud — an impeachable offense all on its own — has barely even been mentioned).

Since yesterday’s impeachment, and especially since Donald Trump no longer has access to a Twitter account, many of us have devoured, once again, the “Trump is fuming, lonely, and isolated” stories in the Times and Post? My favorite thing on Vanity Fair used to be their Game of Thrones and Westworld coverage (yes Joanna Robinson!), but now it’s all the articles on the sniping and backstabbing involving Ivanka and the Jared, even though I know that most of those pieces are being fed to VF by Jared and Ivanka.

We are all petty little bitches who love drama, but I love that drama so much more when it’s about Armie Hammer or Olivia Wilde instead of the leader of the free world. How many of you — be honest — relished the detail in last night’s NYTimes and WashPo gossip stories about the fact that Donald Trump has asked that Rudy Giuliani not be paid, and that Trump has blocked Rudy’s calls? Trump has turned — and turned hard — on the last guy to defend him. In fact, at this point, Trump doesn’t even have a legal team to defend him during his impeachment hearing — he’s asked people to talk to Alan Dershowitz, but not even Alan Dershowitz wants anything to do with this.

Details like this, meanwhile, are better than any episode of Bridgerton:

I read so many of these articles last night that I went to bed sick to my stomach from schadenfreude. Don’t get me wrong: Trump’s misery brings me great joy, but also, what are we doing here? We don’t have a Royal Family, so I guess we’ve turned the Trump White House into one, our The Real Leaders of the World of D.C.?

Some of this, I think, has to do with Maggie Haberman, who brought her gossipy-focused coverage of politics from The New York Post to Politico to The New York Times, where Ashley Parker picked up on it and then took it to The Washington Post. And look: I love gossip. I think there’s actually a lot of value in it, but it’s kind of messed up when it becomes the driving force in politics. And the access journalism aspect of it is actually really f**ked up given the stakes involved.

Below is a Twitter thread that illustrates exactly what I’m talking about from A.J. Delgado, once a central figure herself in Trumpworld scandal. If that name doesn’t immediately register, Delgado is the woman whom Trump campaign staffer Jason Miller impregnated during an extramarital affair (he told Delgado that he was divorced). Miller basically disavowed the kid, and she had to sue for child support, and a lot of nasty shit came out about Miller, including that he had allegedly spiked a woman’s smoothie with an abortion pill. The pregnancy revelation got Miller briefly fired from the campaign, while the smoothie allegation got him fired as a CNN pundit. Speaking of which, Jason Miller got into it with Jake Tapper on Twitter 10 days ago (and Miller has since targetted Tapper on Twitter):

At this point, I think the only people who remain in Trump’s orbit are Miller, Hogan Gidley, and the Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, who is angling to get involved with the Trump Organization after this is all over because he has no political future left. But back to Miller: Where do you think that Haberman and Parker get all of this information about Trump being “angry and isolated.” Here’s the thread from Delgado, who — caveat — really hates Miller. To wit: This is her pinned tweet:

Here’s the thread:

I read the Jason Miller quote last night, but I didn’t think much of it beyond the fact that he’s a kiss ass, but of course he is the one who fed the Post the story. Doesn’t that put these “angry and isolated” stories into a better perspective? Jason Miller is using the Post to both neg the President and make himself look better, and we’re all eating it up because we love stories about Trump suffering, and The Post knows it, too. I’m sure that Miller also fed the Times and Post the details about Guiliani, and yet, check out this tweet from this morning:

It’s a game. It’s all a stupid f**king game, only literal lives and democracy are at stake. I’m not going to stop relishing in Trump’s downfall, mind you, but I’ll be so glad when this is over and the most gossipy thing to come out of the White House will be Joe Biden’s choice of sunglasses, which I’m sure will eventually get him impeached, too.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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