Tag Archives: David A. Graham

Not what you’d call “a reader.”

Ahead of the election, the editors of this magazine wrote that the Republican candidate “appears not to read.” Before the inauguration, Trump told Axios, “I like bullets or I like as little as possible. I don’t need, you know, 200-page reports on something that can be handled on a page. That I can tell you.” In February, The New York Times reported that National Security Council members had been instructed to keep policy papers to a single page and include lots of graphics and maps. Mother Jones reviewed classified information indicating Trump’s briefings were a quarter as long as Barack Obama’s.

In March, Reuters reported that briefers had strategically placed the president’s name in as many paragraphs of briefing documents as possible so as to attract his fickle attention. In September, the Associated Press reported that top aides had decided the president needed a crash course on America’s role in the world and arranged a 90-minute, map-and-chart heavy lecture at the Pentagon. And amid the hype over Wolff’s book, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough wrote a column Friday saying that in September 2015, he confronted Trump over poor debate performances, saying, “Can you read?” Met with silence, Scarborough pressed again: “I’m serious, Donald. Do you read? If someone wrote you a one-page paper on a policy, could you read it?” Trump replied by brandishing a Bible from his mother and saying he read it all the time—probably a self-aware joke, given Trump’s proud impiety and displayed ignorance of the Bible.

The Scarborough anecdote is the strangest of these. This is not only because Scarborough held on to the story for nearly a year and a half, and continued to hype Trump’s candidacy on air and advise him privately. (As James Fallows notes, the real scandal of the Wolff book is that so many people have such grave misgivings about Trump but have kept their heads down.) It is also unfortunate because Trump is clearly, in strictly literal terms, literate. He displays his basic grasp of the language—if in sloppy, often typo-ridden ways—on Twitter on a roughly daily basis. Such stories, by dint of their hyperbole, offer a bit of a distraction from how serious the problem is.

–David A. Graham, The President Who Doesn’t Read

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Hey, Newt. How’s the weather in your universe?

First, watch the video:

Then read David A. Graham’s kicker at the end of his Atlantic piece:

Trump, Gingrich, and the rest of the GOP don’t have to take Kelly’s and Carpenter’s and Glenn’s word for it. Polls show that much of Trump’s deficit is a product of women opposing him. In a recent PRRI/The Atlantic poll, Trump trailed Clinton by 33 points among women. The details tell an even more vivid story. White women without college degrees, who voted by double-digit margins for each of the last three Republican candidates, are evenly split. Educated women who usually vote Republican are bailing on him too.

It is, of course, possible that all of these numbers are incorrect. But as of press time, polling from Gingrich’s parallel universe was not available.

Somebody call an ambulance — we’ve got an extremely sick burn over here!


A microcosm of the campaign

It was a microcosm of the campaign: Clinton is a weak candidate, with a train car’s worth of luggage trailing behind her. But Trump is weaker still, and at every turn, he seems to overshadow her problems with much deeper problems of his own—much louder gaffes, much more serious political errors. That has been a rather depressing spectacle for the nation. In the last question of the evening, a citizen asked earnestly if either could say what they respected about the other. It wasn’t pretty. Clinton deflected, a little. “I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald. I don’t agree with nearly anything else he says or does, but I do respect that,” she said.

Trump wasn’t sure whether to be grateful. “I consider her statement about my children a very nice compliment. I don’t know if it was meant to be a compliment,” he said. Then he offered his own backhanded compliment. “I will say this about Hillary: She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is,” Trump said. “She is a fighter. I disagree with much of what she is fighting for. I do disagree with her judgment in many cases, but she does fight hard and she doesn’t quit and she doesn’t give up and I consider that to be a very good trait.”

And with that, it was, blessedly, over.

–David A. Graham, Donald Trump’s Disastrous Debate


A problem largely created by white residents

In summary, LePage not only vastly overestimated the portion of black and Hispanic faces in the collection, he incorrectly blamed people of color and out-of-staters for a problem that is largely created by white residents. Perhaps LePage simply misremembered and thought it was more black men, though given that he had ample time to check his figures, there would seem to be an subconscious tendency to blame black men. On the other hand, LePage’s list of greatest hits shows a consistent focus on race, including his assertion that President Obama hates white people and his refusal to attend Martin Luther King Day celebrations.

–David A. Graham, Paul LePage’s Binders Full of White People