Illustration for article titled The Trump Familys Charm Offensive Could Be the Reason We Are Stuck With Brett Kavanaugh
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Imagine, if you will, the Trump family sitting around a large table brainstorming ideas for how to charm an important man. “What if I show pictures of all my endangered rhino heads?” Don Jr. might suggest, while Eric nods eagerly. Good, the others might agree, but not great. “What if I bring a five-year-old to a Supreme Court hearing?” Ivanka says, consulting the ideas she’s written in bubble letters on a yellow legal pad. That’s good, the family decides. Very good.

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“What if I tell him his son’s not worthless?” Donald finally says. His children flash their veneers at their father, nodding vigorously. “That’s impressive to me.’” More nodding. More bared veneers. And scene.

That is how I imagine the planning session “coordinated White House charm offensive” to get Supreme Court Justice Kennedy to step down so accused sexual assailant, Brett Kavanaugh, went.

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A new book, Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump and an Epic Trail of Destruction, by New York Times finance editor David Enrich, explores Trump ties to the financial institution, where Justice Kennedy’s son, an investment banker, befriended a young Jared Kushner. This gave Trump access to loans he wouldn’t have otherwise gotten, as he has a long history of borrowing money with no plan to return it, as well as the ear of Kennedy himself.

The Trump family allegedly put on the charm with weird compliments and by forcing adults to interact with bored children, including both Ivanka and her progeny:

“Once Trump was in office, he went out of his way to congratulate Justice Kennedy on his son, calling him a “special guy” and saying how much his own children loved him...Dark Towers describes how Ivanka Trump befriended the judge, sitting next to him at an inaugural lunch, regaling him with accounts of her close friendship with his son, then visiting the elder Kennedy at the supreme court, bringing her five year-old daughter to hear a case about arbitration agreements.”

It took the entire Trump team to come up with a plan that involved 1) not talking about themselves for a few seconds and 2) bringing a kindergartner to the supreme court. But apparently even these clumsy attempts at closeness were enough, eventually, for the Trumps to sway Kennedy’s decision to retire so they could usher in Kavanaugh to the bench. So much for social civility. [Gaurdian]

Speaking of Don Jr., the first son spent the entire day stoking conspiracy theories about the Iowa caucuses. Instead of chalking the whole thing up to a poorly organized debacle that relied on an unproven app when counting ballots would have worked just fine, Jr. took a more circuitous route, unfounded by any evidence, concidentally his favorite route.

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Meanwhile, Eric attempted to play too:

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“We didn’t cheat. You cheated.” Charming as always boys. [Vanity Fair]

And as if I’d been trapped in an elevator with two finance bros doused in cologne, I’m suddenly feeling very nauseated. Let’s barf on it with it:

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has announced that she will not be attending the State of the Union. As an admirer of that white cape, may I request that she do something else in the cape that night and tweet it? For the cape stans? [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Twitter]
  • Perhaps in honor of caucus season, Twitter Republicans tallied up all the POC in this photo. [Guy Benson Twitter]
  • Because consequence-free anonymity is the cornerstone of a healthy democracy, Border Patrol will get “an extra layer of secrecy” so that they now no longer have to name names in responses to Freedom of Information Act requests. [The Nation]

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