First Major Gubernatorial Debate

From the LA Times, here’s the full account.

“Newsom settles in as center of his rivals’ attention in first major debate of California governor’s race

Phil Willon, Seema Mehta

A raucous, catcalling audience and volley of sharp political attacks enlivened the first major debate in California’s 2018 governor’s race Saturday, with front-runner Gavin Newsom taking the brunt of the blows from the candidates on stage.

Most of Newsom’s rivals tried at the event to chip away his dominant lead in the polls and money race as the contest, which has been sleepy for the last year, grows more visible and confrontational. The face-off took place at the Empowerment Congress Summit, an annual gathering held at USC.

Newsom, the lieutenant governor and former mayor of San Francisco, kept a steely smile throughout most of the morning debate. He largely stayed out of the fray and on message, even after he was accused of being inconsistent and unrealistic on single-payer healthcare, and too cozy with teachers unions.

The sharpest exchange came from rival Democrat and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who ridiculed Newsom for supporting a state-sponsored universal healthcare system last year without identifying a way to pay for it. The proposal was shelved in the Legislature because of a cost estimated to be as high as $400 billion.

“Anyone who’s telling you that we should do it without a plan is selling you snake oil,” Villaraigosa said.

State Treasurer John Chiang, who like Villaraigosa said he supports the concept of single-payer healthcare but said it was financially out of reach, accused Newsom of changing his position on the issue depending on the audience he was in front of.

Newsom responded by saying that bold change is needed because the current, ineffective healthcare system is driving California into bankruptcy, and that the state needs a governor who is not afraid to act. It was one of the only times Newsom shot back at Villaraigosa.

“Antonio just mentioned that he’s on Medicare. Isn’t that interesting. A single-payer plan in this country … that brings down costs,” said Newsom, who dominates the fundraising race with more than $15 million raised to date, in part because he entered the contest three years ago — far before any of the other candidates.

The debate also grew increasingly chippy between the two Republicans on stage, Huntington Beach Assemblyman Travis Allen and Rancho Santa Fe businessman John Cox, with the biggest clash over which one of the two has played a bigger role in GOP-led efforts to repeal a newly approved gas tax.

The barbed exchanges between the candidates was often interrupted by applause, loud groans and cascades of boos from the at-capacity crowd inside USC’s Bovard Auditorium. The event was hosted by the Empowerment Congress, a nonprofit civil rights organization in Los Angeles.

With six candidates on stage and only 90 minutes to carve out their political positions, the debate served as a display of each candidate’s style, demeanor and political reflexes rather than a showing of their depth of knowledge on the issues facing California.

The moderators, KABC-TV news anchor Marc Brown and KPCC-FM public radio senior political reporter Mary Plummer, tried without success to quiet down the energized audience. They also admonished the candidates for interrupting one another and going over their time.

The only candidate to avoid conflict was Democrat Delaine Eastin, a former state schools chief, who received a warm response when she expressed strong support for universal preschool in California.

Eastin drew loud applause when expressing her support for immigrants.

“My father was born in Kentucky. Nobody loved California more than he did,” Eastin said. “He used to say, ‘Californians are people who are from somewhere else and came to their senses.’ ”

Education was another flashpoint, with several candidates quickly turning to attack Newsom for his record on the issue.

After Cox blasted Newsom’s endorsement by the California Teachers Assn. as an example of special-interest money controlling politicians, Newsom responded that he was proud of the endorsement.

“I’m committed to public education. I’m committed to increasing funding in our public school system,” Newsom said, pointing to his track record on education while he was mayor of San Francisco.

“San Francisco was the top-performing urban school district in the state of California. We were hardly perfect; we had stubborn achievement gap issues,” he said, adding that the city invested in arts education, placed wellness centers in schools and created college savings accounts for every kindergarten student.

Villaraigosa and Chiang both objected, pointing to uneven performance among different groups of students.

“I don’t think we can gloss over the fact that San Francisco County is the worst county for African American students in this state,” Villaraigosa said. “You can’t just say we have a little bit of an achievement gap. We actually have a real achievement gap, and if this state is going to be a golden state and it’s going to do what we should do to grow together, we’ve got to invest in every one of us.”

Chiang added that Latino and Pacific Islander students also faced a greater performance disparity in San Francisco than in other areas.

“We’re talking about a very select group that may have high achievement that accounts for San Francisco, but when you’re talking about the future of the state of California, they’re being left behind,” he said.

As expected, Democrats and Republicans divided along party lines on many of the other issues they were quizzed about, splitting over the new gas tax, climate change and President Trump’s immigration policies.

The Democrats ripped into Trump for asking participants in an Oval Office meeting Thursday why the United States should accept immigrants from “shithole countries” in Africa, Central America and the Caribbean.

Cox sidestepped Trump’s slur, dismissing the controversy as distraction from the real issues facing California. Allen used it as an opportunity to voice his support for Trump’s immigration crackdown, including the president’s push to build a massive border wall. He was roundly booed by the audience.

Cox, who also said he supports the border wall, caught an earful when he tried to explain why he thinks legal immigrants are crucial to California’s financial well-being.

“We also need a wealth of people who can contribute to the American dream, who can pick the fruits and vegetables that make California No. 1” in agriculture, Cox said to loud groans from the crowd.

He used his next opportunity to say he recognized immigrants contributed to all aspects of society.

The biggest clash between the two Republicans was a snippy back-and-forth over the effort to repeal the gas tax.

Allen started gathering signatures in May to place a measure on the ballot, but Cox didn’t get involved in a competing effort until October. Allen’s effort failed Friday to qualify for the ballot, and he joined the effort that Cox is part of.

After Allen urged the audience to sign a petition to put the matter before voters, Cox replied: “Travis, welcome to the fight on getting rid of the gas tax. Glad to have you on board — finally.”

Allen pointed out that his call to repeal the gas tax predates Cox’s.

“It’s funny, John, that was my fight from the beginning, so you’re welcome,” Allen said, later adding, “I’d like to say thank you very much to John Cox for writing a $250,000 check to buy his way into the repeal-the-gas-tax [ballot measure committee].”

Newsom has led all recent polls and has a vast advantage in campaign money raised, both of which make him the favorite to finish first in the June 5 primary.

The race is likely to boil down to a battle for second place — and in California, that’s good enough. Under the state’s top-two primary rules, the two candidates who receive the most votes in the primary win a ticket to the November general election, regardless of their party affiliation.

According to a November USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll, Newsom led the pack with 31% of California’s registered voters, followed by Villaraigosa with 21%.

Among the other Democrats, Chiang came in with 11% and Eastin registered at 4%. Allen led among the major Republicans with 15% and Cox was favored by 11%.

Former GOP congressman Doug Ose, who entered the race just over a week ago and did not receive an invitation to the town hall, was not included in the poll.

The “Genius” In the White House

The Washington Post

The ‘genius’ of Trump: What the president means when he touts his smarts

Trump defends his mental fitness

At a news conference at Camp David Jan 6., President Trump responded to a question from a reporter about a tweet he posted on his mental state earlier that day. 

 January 13 at 8:04 PM

The genius in the White House has always believed that what makes him special is his ability to get things done without going through the steps others must take.

In school, he bragged that he’d do well without cracking a book. As a young real estate developer, his junior executives recalled, he skipped the studying and winged his way through meetings with politicians, bankers and union bosses. And as a novice politician, he scoffed at the notion that he might suffer from any lack of experience or knowledge.

So when President Trump tweeted last weekend that he “would qualify as not smart, but genius….and a very stable genius at that!” it was consistent with a pattern of asserting that he will do this his way, without bending to expectations about what constitutes proper presidential behavior.

The tweet, issued in response to a new book that suggests his closest advisers doubt his mental stability, not only doubled down on his belief that smashing conventions is the path to success but also underscored his lifelong conviction that he wins when he’s the center of attention. In the ceaseless battle of life, Trump made clear by claiming the title of genius that he won’t give way to those who believe he doesn’t belong at the top.

“There is a certain kind of genius to winning the presidency like it was an entry-level job,” said Dave Shiflett, the co-writer of Trump’s first book about his political views, “The America We Deserve,” which was published in 2000. “To go into those campaign rallies with just a few notes and connect with people he wasn’t at all like, that takes a certain genius. His genius is he’ll say anything to connect with people. He won by telling the rally crowds that the people who didn’t like them also didn’t like him.”

To many people who worked with Trump throughout his career, last week’s tweets — and Tuesday’s virtually unprecedented Cabinet Room reality show, in which the president conducted an on-camera negotiation about immigration policy with stunned congressional Republicans and Democrats — were familiar tactics: a bold, even brazen, drive to put on a show and make himself the star.

Even when he is not overtly trying to win attention, his natural instinct — a form of genius to some, a sign of instability to others — is to choose the unfiltered path, as he did Thursday, when he told senators during a White House discussion about immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and some African nations that the United States should bring in people from countries like Norway, not from “shithole countries.” Although Trump on Friday appeared to deny having used that vulgarity, he tweeted that he did use “tough” language — a long-standing point of pride for the president, whose political ascent was fueled by his argument that, as a billionaire, he is liberated to say what some other Americans only think.

From his earliest days in the real estate business, Trump boasted frequently about being smart, said Barbara Res, who was Trump’s top construction executive when he built Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue in the 1980s.

“He needed to be stroked all the time and told how smart he was,” she said. “Every decision process was clouded by his sense that he knows more than anybody else. But you could work with that: The way we got things done was to approach him with an idea and make him think it was his. It was so easy.”

Res added: “Donald was always a forest person; he never knew anything about the trees. He knew concrete was brought in on trucks, but he really didn’t know how to run a project. What he had was street smarts — good instincts about people.”

Those instincts did not always bring about stellar results, as Trump’s enterprises suffered a series of bankruptcies and other setbacks from the 1990s through the years before he entered politics.

Those who have watched Trump for decades say he has always encouraged people around him to view him as someone who could see things that others could not. A.J. Benza, a former journalist who covered Trump for many years in New York and in 2001 had a public spat with him when Trump began going out with Benza’s girlfriend, said that Trump often talked about being the smartest guy in the room.


“He never meant ‘book genius’ when he said it,” said Benza, who now hosts “Fame is a Bitch,” a podcast about celebrity. “He means, okay, he didn’t hit the brains lottery, but he’s brilliant and cunning in the way he operates. He’s amazing at taking the temperature of the room and knowing how to appease everyone. You want that kind of instinct in your quarterbacks, in your generals. It’s not what we’ve ever thought of as what makes a great president, but he’s never going to be the guy who makes great speeches. This is who he is.”

Being something of a genius was central to Trump’s self-image, his former executives said. Everyone around him learned to cater to that — even his father, who trained Trump to follow in his footsteps as a developer.

In the first major newspaper profile of Trump, in the New York Times in 1976, his father, Fred Trump, describes his son as “the smartest person I know.”

Throughout his life, Donald Trump has believed that his instincts and street smarts positioned him to succeed where others might struggle. At the University of Pennsylvania, he concluded that “there was nothing particularly awesome or exceptional about my classmates” in the real estate division of the Wharton School’s business program, Trump later wrote in one of his books. “Perhaps the most important thing I learned at Wharton was not to be overly impressed by academic credentials.”

Res said that Trump often bragged that he was “first” in his class in the Wharton program or that he was a “top student” there, but his name does not appear in the school’s honor roll, and classmates recalled him as someone who skated by doing little work. “He did what it took to get through the program,” classmate Louis Calomaris told The Washington Post in 2016.

His father often told Trump that “you are a king,” instructing him to “be a killer.” Fred Trump was a student of Dale Carnegie, the evangelist of success through self-improvement, and an acolyte of Norman Vincent Peale, the New York minister who preached a gospel of positive thinking.

“I believe in being prepared and all that stuff,” Trump told biographer Michael D’Antonio. “But in many respects, the most important thing is an innate ability. I’m a big believer in natural ability,” which, Trump said, he had “always had.”

Throughout his business career, Trump expressed deep skepticism of book learning, scoffing at the notion that academics were smarter than others, contending instead that his instincts would prevail over those who studied a subject to death.

In 2000, when Shiflett co-wrote Trump’s book on politics, a newspaper that was writing about the book asked what author had most influenced Trump. Shiflett said he called Trump’s office to find out what he should tell the reporter, and he was told to pick any writer he wanted to. “So I told them he likes Dostoevsky,” Shiflett said. “It was all just good times; the spirit around him was kind of mirthful. Everybody understood that and nobody took any of it very seriously.”

In Trump’s vocabulary, “genius” is perhaps the highest praise, and it refers to a street-level ability to get things done. Trump often referred to his lawyer and early mentor Roy Cohn as “a total genius” or a “political genius,” even if he was also “a lousy lawyer.” Trump explained in one of his books that his own true “genius” was for public relations: Rather than spending money on advertising, he said, he put his efforts toward winning news coverage of himself as a “genius.”

Despite his long history of boasts and his many admissions that he has a large ego, Trump has also had moments of extreme self-doubt. Biographer Harry Hurt described a period around 1990 when, as his marriage to Ivana Trump was breaking up, he occasionally spoke about suicide, according to friends and relatives.


Ivana Trump decided that the couple should see a psychiatrist. Her husband resisted at first but then agreed, telling her he’d go, “only if you think it will fix what’s wrong with you,” according to Hurt’s 1993 book “Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump.” Hurt reported that the future president attended only one session.

Soon, he was back to his usual publicly bullish self, “Trump being Trump,” as he sometimes called it.

“He says things because it gets attention,” Shiflett said. “He just wants people to talk about him.”

Short Ribs and Random Thoughts Jan 17 2018

TRUMP’S MEETING ON DACA etc  As Peter Baker of the NYT put it,   “He did not lapse into incoherence, but neither did he demonstrate mastery of policy details after a year in office.”   Well said.

THE NORWEGIAN INVASION-   Just when you think it can’t get ANY worse, Trump lowers the bar AGAIN.   He makes vile comments about  Haitians and pines for more Norwegian immigrants.  I can’t think of a more clear example of racism.  Then this morning we get to see the HHS Secretary, a blonde Viking type with an extra “j” in her name, declare that she has lost her hearing and sight when it comes to Trump.  Maybe we SHOULD record all his meetings. His selective reality is more than a joke.

BLUNDERS IN PUBLIC LIFE- been a big week for those, from the  fellow in our local welfare department who doesn’t know how to track expenses to the gigantic screwup in Hawaii. When I lived there we had frequent tsunami warnings and when those sirens went off I knew it would take a long time to get home to Waialua because they held us up at Wahiawa.  Everyone complained they were too eager to shut the road but no one questioned the basic competence of the system.  The State employees in Hawaii are abysmally paid, and  folks who are paid poorly are usually supervised poorly too.  One thing I can tell you:  EVERYONE on Oahu knows who  the hapless wrong-button pusher was.  The Coconut Wireless puts electronic media to shame.

OH THE IGNORANCE!  Ana Cabrera on CNN makes $150K a year and supposedly has a degree from Washington State,  but when someone used the term”kabuki”, referring to diplomatic machinations between the two Koreas, she said “Oooh, I’ll have to look that one up”. Is there any high school graduate from California who wouldn’t recognize the term “kabuki”?  I don’t think so.

YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP-  Like everyone else I’ve been wanting to read “Fire and Fury”.  Eureka Books is taking orders but has no idea when their shipment will come in. Believe it or not, my Chinese -speaking friend was approached online by a fellow who wanted to publish a Chinese translation but his details on rights were pretty sketchy so my friend held off but meanwhile the guy sent us the whole book!  Unfortunately, he sent it to my friends PHONE so we’re reading it to each other page by page.




Short Ribs and Random Thoughts Jan 10 2018

WHEN I WROTE the  last edition, I was still in despair at the idea of having to put up with Trump and his minions for four more years.  Now, as any people have pointed out ,  we just need to win the midterms, then impeach. I feel better.

TRUMP AT THE IMMIGRATION MEETING- Our Fake President’s handlers apparently wanted to showcase his maturity and knowledge after the revelations from the Michael Wolff book. Did you see his body language?  Arms folded protectively in front  of him. I’ve never sat through a meeting with someone in such a defensive posture, have you ?  Then at the end he throws the whole issue back to EVERYONE ELSE, saying he’ll sign anything. What leadership! If we get any changes in immigration, it won’t be due to Trump, although he’ll take credit.  BTW, what’s all the hate for “CHAIN MIGRATION”?  It’s called keeping  families together.

OPRAH FOR PRESIDENT- WORST IDEA EVER!!!!   Just what we need! Another TV star!  Let’s nip this one in the bud fast.  If she’s so hot to get into politics, let he serve a term in the Senate.  That’ll cure her .

NANCY PELOSI’S SON Paul Jr.,  apparently  a dingbat, hung with Trump at Mar-A-Lago over New Year’s. Now I can ignore the incessant begging letters from her.

I GOT A CALL the other night while watching TV  and didn’t jump to answer it. It turned out to be Assemblymember Jim Wood,  calling about the HCCDC endorsement .  Wood has run afoul of SINGLE PAYER and I guess there are those who don’t want to support him because  they don’t think he’s strong enough on, but it would help if we had a better bill to support. I’m okay with giving Jim another term.

WINTER SOUP ALERT: Last week in the NCJ, that wonderful woman,  Janice Fumiko Cahilll, published a trio of soup recipes of which the “Rough and Ready Borscht”  turned out to be life-altering. I had never bought a beet before!  Only takes a couple of hours to make.  You’ll thank her.

TRUMP AS GENIUS? I don’t think so.

The WAPO carries Our Fake President’s brags about his mental prowess.  Sorry, no link -they sent this by email- but here, below, is a partial readout.  Since when do REALLY smart people have to TELL everyone how smart they are?  Isn’t that pretty much disqualifying?

Trump boasts that he’s ‘like, really smart’ and a ‘very stable genius’ amid questions over his mental fitness.

 January 6 
Trump defends his mental fitness, slams ‘Fire and Fury’ author

At a news conference at Camp David Jan 6., President Trump responded to a question from a reporter about a tweet he posted on his mental state earlier that day. 


President Trump lashed out again at a new book that suggests top White House aides fear that he is unfit for the job, calling the book “a work of fiction” and declaring that libel laws are too weak.

“It’s a disgrace that he can do something like this,” Trump said of the book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” by New York media writer Michael Wolff. “Libel laws are very weak in this country. If they were stronger, hopefully, you would not have something like that happen.”

Trump’s remarks, during which he referred to Wolff as a “fraud,” came during a brief news conference at Camp David where he is meeting with Republican leaders to plot the GOP agenda for 2018.

In a tweetstorm Saturday morning ahead of the news conference, the president called himself a “very stable genius” and called being “really smart” one of his greatest assets. Trump cited his career in business and reality television and his victory in last year’s election as evidence of his mental prowess. And he again lashed out at the ongoing special counsel investigation into his campaign’s contacts with Russian operatives, calling suggestions that he colluded with Moscow a “total hoax on the American public.”  

Trump’s outburst came a day after the public release of the book by Wolff, who said he spent time in the West Wing interviewing top aides, as well as Trump. Wolff said he spent a total of three hours talking with Trump during the campaign and after Trump became president, but White House aides said Wolff spoke to Trump only once by phone for about five to seven minutes after he assumed office


Wolff paints the picture of a president who is unfit for the job and aides who come to fear Trump is not capable of, or interested in, processing information and making important decisions. Late Friday, Trump blasted Wolff as a “total loser,” and the president mocked his former campaign chairman and former White House adviser, Stephen K. Bannon, who was a key source for the book. Bannon criticized other aides and Trump’s son, calling a meeting at Trump Tower last year between Donald Jr. and a Russian lawyer “treasonous.”


Michael Wolff is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book. He used Sloppy Steve Bannon, who cried when he got fired and begged for his job. Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone. Too bad!

White House aides have mounted an all-out attack on the book since it was first reported on Wednesday, calling it “fiction” and a “complete fantasy.” And Trump’s lawyers sent cease-and-desist letters to Wolff and his publisher demanding they not release the book. But the publisher, Henry Holt, moved up the release date from later this month to Friday amid the publicity, and hard copies were quickly sold out in the Washington area.

At Camp David, Trump said Wolff, who has said he has a relationship with Trump, “does not know me at all.”

“By the way, he did not interview me,” Trump said, though he then said Wolff interviewed him once “a long time ago” for a magazine story. Asked by a reporter why he felt the need to defend himself on Twitter, Trump listed his accomplishments, saying, among other things: “I went to the best colleges, or college.” Trump spent two years at Fordham University before completing his education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of business.

Trump also criticized Wolff’s past reporting, including a book about News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch.

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly spoke briefly to reporters at Camp David. He had not seen Trump’s tweets and, when a reporter showed them to him, he responded, “Okay.” Then he said Trump posted the tweets in order to circumvent the media “filter” on reporting on Wolff’s book — even though Trump praised the media for questioning some of Wolff’s reporting techniques.


The WOLFF Book- some excerpts

Here’s a sample from  SALON.

Good Wednesday afternoon. THE WOLFF BOOK — WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE … “Trump Tower meeting with Russians ‘treasonous’, Bannon says in explosive book,” by the Guardian’s David Smith: “Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon has described the Trump Tower meeting between the president’s son and a group of Russians during the 2016 election campaign as ‘treasonous’ and ‘unpatriotic’, according to an explosive new book seen by the Guardian. Bannon, speaking to author Michael Wolff, warned that the investigation into alleged collusion with the Kremlin will focus on money laundering and predicted: ‘They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.’ …

“The meeting was revealed by the New York Times in July last year, prompting Trump Jr to say no consequential material was produced. Soon after, Wolff writes, Bannon remarked mockingly: ‘The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor – with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers. … Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad s***, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.’ …

“Bannon has criticised Trump’s decision to fire Comey. In Wolff’s book, obtained by the Guardian ahead of publication from a bookseller in New England, he suggests White House hopes for a quick end to the Mueller investigation are gravely misplaced. ‘You realise where this is going,’ he is quoted as saying. ‘This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to f***ing Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr and Jared Kushner … It’s as plain as a hair on your face.'”

— The Drudge headline: “Bannon Turns” … HOW WILL TRUMP REACT to Bannon going after his child and son in law?

— HMM … ! … NBC’S PETER ALEXANDER (@PeterAlexander): SIREN: ‘Steve Bannon was certain that after the (July 2016 Trump Tower) meeting, Trump, Jr. had taken the participants to see his father,’ per excerpts from new Michael Wolff book, ‘Fire & Fury.’ Trump has claimed he was unaware any meeting with Russians took place.” … (@PeterAlexander): “NEW: Here’s the Bannon quote regarding the July 2016 Trump Tower meeting: ‘The chance that Don Jr. did not walk these Jumos up to his father’s office of the 26th floor is zero,’ per “Fire & Fury.” (pg. 255)”.

MORE FROM WOLFF in NEW YORK MAG — “Donald Trump Didn’t Want to Be President: One year ago: the plan to lose, and the administration’s shocked first days”: “Shortly after 8 p.m. on Election Night, when the unexpected trend — Trump might actually win — seemed confirmed, Don Jr. told a friend that his father, or DJT, as he calls him, looked as if he had seen a ghost. Melania was in tears — and not of joy. … There was, in the space of little more than an hour, in Steve Bannon’s not unamused observation, a befuddled Trump morphing into a disbelieving Trump and then into a horrified Trump. But still to come was the final transformation: Suddenly, Donald Trump became a man who believed that he deserved to be, and was wholly capable of being, the president of the United States.”

AND DETAILS ON THE FIRST DAYS: “Trump did not enjoy his own inauguration. He was angry that A-level stars had snubbed the event, disgruntled with the accommodations at Blair House, and visibly fighting with his wife, who seemed on the verge of tears. Throughout the day, he wore what some around him had taken to calling his golf face: angry and pissed off, shoulders hunched, arms swinging, brow furled, lips pursed.

“The first senior staffer to enter the White House that day was Bannon. On the inauguration march, he had grabbed 32-year-old Katie Walsh, the newly appointed deputy chief of staff, and together they had peeled off to inspect the now-vacant West Wing. The carpet had been shampooed, but little else had changed. It was a warren of tiny offices in need of paint, the décor something like an admissions office at a public university. Bannon claimed the non­descript office across from the much grander chief of staff’s suite and immediately requisitioned the whiteboards on which he intended to chart the first 100 days of the Trump administration. He also began moving furniture out. The point was to leave no room for anyone to sit. Limit discussion. Limit debate. This was war. Plus more on Rupert Murdoch calling Trump a “f***ing idiot”, Bannon’s meeting with Roger Ailes, Trump’s lunch with Mika and Joe, Ivanka musing running for president, the White House power struggles and more

— Part of the excerpt says Trump questioned who John Boehner was. But Trump has tweeted about Boehner on multiple occasions, and Jake and James Hohmann reported back in 2013 that the pair had golfed together. ALSO: Boehner has been in touch with this White House.

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