Donald Trump walked boldly and knowingly into a new ambush interview with “Vanity Fair,” knowing full well that the interviewers Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker would mock the former president and seek to impugn him in every way possible.
The hour-long sitdown interview was conducted for the forthcoming book “I Alone Can Fix It.” The interview came after an invitation from Trump to Mar-a-Lago, despite the former president turning down the authors for their first biopic “A Very Stable Genius,” which he had blasted as a ‘work of fiction.’
Excerpts of Trump’s remarks were published on Monday in an article in “Vanity Fair.” The remarks that the 45th president had about his former Attorney General William Barr, Vice President Mike Pence, former Speaker Paul Ryan, and then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were far-from-flattering, to say the least.
The “Vanity Fair” piece waxed prosaic about the interview surroundings in Mar-a-Lago, which it depicts as closed off from reality. One might easily say the same of the Manhattan-D.C. cocktail circuit the piece was exclusively targeting with its sneering commentary.
“As we sat for the interview, the former president’s press secretary presented us copies of a bound volume: 1,000 Accomplishments of President Donald J. Trump: Highlights of the First Term,” the authors write. “On the back cover is an American flag, the presidential seal, and Trump’s thick, jagged signature. The book totals 92 pages and is organized with chapters dedicated to the economy, tax cuts, deregulation, trade, and so on.”
“Trump walked into the room flanked by a couple of plainclothed Secret Service agents, a much smaller detail than he once had as president,” it went on. “He wore his customary dark suit and tie, his face covered with bronze makeup. He sat in his preferred position, a plush armchair of ivory brocade facing the entrance where guests arrive, with us on a sofa to his right. Behind him was a huge window looking out to the Atlantic Ocean; in front of him, the patio facing Lake Worth.”
“In a certain way, I had two presidencies,” Trump said early in the interview. The president pointed to the pre-pandemic economic boom that had bouyed the country’s prospects, a rosy contrast to the dark days of the pandemic that lay ahead.
“The greatest fraud ever perpetrated in this country was this last election,” Trump remarked. “It was rigged and it was stolen. It was both. It was a combination, and Bill Barr didn’t do anything about it.”
Trump pointed the finger at Mike Pence for supposedly not standing up enough for the president.
“Had Mike Pence had the courage to send it back to the legislatures, you would have had a different outcome, in my opinion,” Trump said.
“I think that the vice president of the United States must protect the Constitution of the United States,” he continued. “I don’t believe he’s just supposed to be a statue who gets these votes from the states and immediately hands them over. If you see fraud, then I believe you have an obligation to do one of a number of things.”
“So I said, ‘Mike, you can be Thomas Jefferson or you can be Mike Pence’,” he added, referencing Jefferson’s contested election in 1800. “What happened is, I had a very good relationship with Mike Pence—very good—but when you are handed these votes and before you even start about the individual corruptions, the people, the this, the that, all the different things that took place, when you are handed these votes…right there you should have sent them back to the legislatures.”
But Trump wasn’t finished. He saved some of his harshest criticism for Mitch McConnell, including relevant criticism about the senate filibuster.
“Trump also complained about former House Speaker Paul Ryan, whom he labeled a ‘super-RINO’—Republican in name only,” he continued. “And he said Mitch McConnell has ‘no personality’ nor a killer political instinct. He faulted McConnell for refusing to eliminate the filibuster to ram through Republican legislation and for not persuading Senator Joe Manchin, the moderate Democrat from West Virginia, to switch parties.”
“He’s a stupid person,” Trump said about McConnell. “I don’t think he’s smart enough.”
“I tried to convince Mitch McConnell to get rid of the filibuster, to terminate it, so that we would get everything, and he was a knucklehead and he didn’t do it,” Trump added.
The filibuster is relevant now because it may be the only thing holding back an unconstitutional onslaught of big government legislation the Democratic Party has on tap to fundamentally transform American into an authoritarian state run in perpetuity by the left-wing party.
It may very well be that Donald Trump was ambitious enough to pass “everything” he wanted without a filibuster in the way; but as for the first half of the Trump presidency, the results he was so keen to brag about speak for themselves. In many ways, the government that governs best, governs least. Trump was able to accomplish much in his presidency despite the filibuster, and many Americans are grateful that it is in place now.