Trump’s Enablers: “If they’d never stooped this low before, maybe it’s just because no one ever asked them to.”



BOOK: “Thank you for your Servitude” by Marc Leibovich

This book focuses not on Trump, but on the Trump “enablers” who made it all possible. 

Marc Leibovich, a staff writer for the Atlantic Magazine, described the book in this way in an interview on MSNBC (7/11/22): The book is “about the people who allowed it to happen,” and who keep rehabilitating Trump “at every turn.”  

Unlike those in the press (Michael Schmidt) who have written excuse-filled books essentially arguing that people like Don McGhan were in a “difficult” position, faced hard decisions, or did a service by remaining because they were the adults in the room, Leibovich is open about his contempt for Republicans who he deems “parasitic suck-ups” “starstruck and desperate to keep their jobs,” on a “thrill ride.”  He describes them as “groveling legions,” “hollowed-out men and women who knew better,” the “most supplicant super-careerists, and finally (my favorite) “lapdogs in Trump’s kennel.”

As Leibovich notes: “Without the complicity of the Republican Party, Donald Trump would be just a glorified geriatric Fox-watching golfer.”

Without the complicity of the Republican Party…

In Lebovich’s previous book about Washington he described a town in which “Democrats and Republicans kept coming to Washington, vowing change, only to get co-opted, get richer, and never leave.”  Then, Donald Trump was nominated, and things got even worse.

A lot of people could see that Trump was a huckster, a con man, and dangerous for the country.  My partner is a life-long Republican.  When Trump was nominated, he declined to vote for him.  After five years of listening to Trump’s bullshit and learning about the depth of the criminality involved with the administration, he voted Democratic for the first time in his life.

But, the Kevin McCarthys and the Lindsay Grahams of the world had no problem at all jumping on the Trump bandwagon and taking the system for all it was worth to them. 

In an article in the Atlantic about the book, Leibovich describes Kevin McCarthy detailing with relish the game of working for Trump.  He quotes McCarthy as saying: “This is the tightest tightrope anyone has to walk.”  Graham (whose excuse for kissing Trump’s ass was that he was only trying to remain “relevant”) also seemed to relish the game.  They were proud of the access, proud of the position proud of the temperamentality of Trump.  “There was always a breathless, racing quality to both men’s voices when they talked about the thrill ride of being one of Trump’s “guys,” writes Leibovich.  “Relevance,” he adds, “casts one hell of a spell.”

Leibovich also goes into detail describing what a jerk Kevin McCarthy really is.  When Leibovich met with McCarthy to do an interview, McCarthy spent his time scrolling through his phone and showing Leibovitz photographs of himself with celebrities.  (Note: I could not help thinking that this must be what it’s like to interview Ari Melber). 

“Here’s another of me with Trump on Air Force One,” McCarthy said to Leibovich.  “What did you ask me again?” These are men who have held some of the most powerful positions in the world.  It makes me sick.

Leibovich describes McCarthy as “sensitive to perceptions that he is a lightweight whose career trajectory is owed purely to his Olympian brownnosing and backslapping capabilities.”  Graham, he wrote, admired Trump because Trump could get away with anything.  Does that sound like a 13-year-old?

Leibovich stated: “I don’t see how they can live with themselves.”

But live with themselves they do, and it appears from Leibovich’s own book, they do so quite happily.

Leibovich concluded: “It’s all a game to them.”

I haven’t read the book, but the best, the very best quote from Leibovich’s article is: “If they’d never stooped this low before, maybe it’s just because no one ever asked them to.”

Leibovich’s Atlantic article about the book:

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