Meghan McCain Is Disappointed by Senator Lindsey Graham’s Attachment to Trump

-Thank you for being here. -Thank you so much for having me. -And thank you for doing another talk show after you already did a talk show this morning. -Oh sure. -I appreciate you doing double duty. -Oh, no problem. I feel like a cool kid anytime I get to do anything that’s after in the afternoon. -Yeah, well that’s — Well, thank you for cool-kidding with us. And you were also a cool kid in that you were an intern at “SNL” when you were like 19 years old? -19, 20, yeah. -Okay, and I was there. I was in the cast then. Do you have any memories of me? And I’m hoping… -I do. -Okay.

-Yeah, you were a total gentleman. -Oh, good, good. -Very respectful of interns. -Thank you. There you go. -I remember, one time, I had to, like, clean up a table, and there were, like, magazines all over it, and they, like, made me organize it. And you helped me, so there you go. -There you go. That’s incredibly… -Nice guy, Seth. – Yeah. -It’s such a weird time in my life, and it’s a thing that people always ask about. People always want to know what the experience was like. And I — You know, even coming in this building, it’s just very nostalgic because there’s a page letting me in.

-Yeah, no, and a lot has stayed very much the same, not just the physical space. But there are things, like the page outfit, I don’t think has changed in 50 years. -They wear the same jacket. -Yeah. I’m always happy because it’s such a stressful place that when I meet people that used to be interns, I’m just so afraid that they — Well, somebody came up and gave me a piece of bad news, and I, like, took — like, I looked at them and was like, “What?” So I’m very happy that I was helping with magazine assortments instead.

-Everyone was wonderful. -Good. -I don’t know if I just, like — I also, like, you know, have worked at a lot of other places that, like, crazy things happen, and nothing ever happens to me. And I always wonder if, like, people were so scared of my dad or I just come off like a tough chick. I don’t know, but I had a wonderful internship. -That’s right. I probably took it out on one of the interns that wasn’t John McCain’s dad, yeah. Or John McCain’s daughter. Yeah. -Fixed a lot of problems, growing up. -So, I want to ask — you also had something — both your parents have been impersonated on “SNL,” and then it happened for you — Aidy Bryant did you. -Yeah. -And what was it like? I’m guessing maybe you weren’t watching live. When did you hear that Aidy had done you on the show? -I was on vacation with my husband, and I woke up in the morning, and I had a ton of — it was like, ding, ding, ding, ding when I turned on my phone.

And it was like, “You’re on ‘SNL,’ you’re on ‘SNL.'” And I was like, and then I brought it up on the computer. And Aidy and I went to high school together. -Which is crazy. -Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix. So there you go. Thank you. So, it’s weird to be, like, have this girl I went to high school with impersonate me, which is amazing. And she’s so talented and incredible. And I watched it, and I thought it was hilarious.

And my husband thought it was hilarious, except they paint me out to be an anti-vaxxer, and he thought that was the most offensive part. He was like, “You’re not an anti-vaxxer.” -So, let’s use this time right now to just say to everyone that Meghan and I agree on vaccinating your kids. -Vaccinate your children. -There you go. -Thank you. -Common ground. -Yeah. -Thanks, guys. -You’ve obviously been very open and vocal about the fact that it is distressing to you, the fact that not only did Donald Trump attack your father in life, he is continuing to attack him after he passed away.

Are you — What do you think? If your dad was still around, like, do you think he would be delighted by the fact that Donald Trump cannot shake him from his psyche? -I mean, when he was alive, he was always like — I mean, this is a late night show, right? -Yeah, yeah, yeah. -So he’d be like, “I don’t give a .” I mean, you know, he just doesn’t care about people attacking him. He had been through so much. It was very hard to rattle him in any way. And it’s just strange that this sort of feud didn’t end when he passed.

-Yeah, historically, it tends to. -It should. But I think it says so much about where the President’s head’s at. And the last time he had attacked my father publicly on Twitter, it was the weekend, and I just remember when, you know, my life — when I spend my weekends, it was with my family in Arizona, hiking and cooking and camping. And I wish he would do that with his family on the weekends, instead of obsessing over my family. -Yeah. -And it’s very strange, so… -I think — -But it makes me, like, sad for them that you’re not — Like, life is really short. And I feel it a lot right now, and I think it’s because my father died a little over eight months ago, and I just feel every moment. And I think you… And this is a message to everybody, not just the President. But, like, spend the time off you have with those you love, because you don’t know if you’re going to get a phone call saying the person you love the most in the world has glioblastoma and has a year to live.

And I know what that looks like, and I just wish the President and his family would, like, really live in the moment. And you’re President, and I’m sure there’s a lot of interesting things to do in the White House, and spend time with your family. -Yeah, I will say, if the other alternative is camping, I think he’s still going to tweet about your dad. -Probably. -I don’t see him going out on — -Probably. -You know, obviously, they had a history where the President was very open about how he felt about your father. Your father, in turn, was very open with how he felt. They were not fans of each other. I imagine it must be harder for your family with someone like Senator Lindsey Graham, who was your father’s incredibly close friend and now has sort of tied his fortunes to the President. Is that a harder thing for your family to watch happen? -Well, first, I think that everyone in the Trump years sort of has to reconcile with their conscience and how — what role they played in it on all sides, because I think that he evokes the worst in all of us.

That’s my just take on who he is as President. I think he has ruffled up a lot of negative things in a lot of ways on both sides. I think, with — you know, Lindsey, I grew up with Lindsey Graham. I can call him Lindsey. And I considered him my father’s best friend and uncle for a really long time. And you know, he — It’s hard for me, and it disappoints me, but I also understand politics. And I will always love him and respect him. But, politically, I don’t understand it, because I think the idea probably is that politically you sort of have to, you know, make amends with Trump in one way or another, to be politically relevant and to gain re-election.

But my father was his biggest enemy, or, I guess, one of his political largest enemies, and he won his re-election handily in Arizona. And Arizona, up until that point, was a red state. Now it’s switched to purple. But it is possible. I just think it — You have to work harder. -Yeah. -And I don’t know if politicians want to do that, but I’m always going to love Lindsey. I’m always going to have a special place in my heart. But, you know, it — Of course, it disappoints me. -Yeah. -I mean, I think I would be inhuman if it didn’t. -If you said, ” That’s really cool, you be you.” -Well, it’s just — It’s strange, too, because people know their relationship. I mean, I think probably most people here know that, and people ask me a lot — quite a lot. -I don’t think Senator Graham made any secret of it, and I think that’s why he has to answer these questions now is, you know, when you have a friendship and you talk a lot about how much somebody means to you.

It’s very strange for people to watch you sort of reverse course on that. I want to ask about Ilhan Omar, Congresswoman from Minnesota. You know, she was — You were very vocal about some of her tweets. People were upset, thought it was anti-Semitic language. She has since unequivocally apologized for them. And then, after that, there was this tragic synagogue shooting in California. And you once again, sort of, on a Sunday show — a Sunday news show — brought up her tweets again in the context of that shooting. -On George Stephanopoulos. -On George Stephanopoulos. yeah. And I just wonder, cause I do think it’s fairly dangerous, and you brought it up after Congresswoman Omar had also had some death threats against her.

Do you think — you know, she’s obviously now stated she needs to be more careful with her language. Don’t you think other people who talk about her need to be a little bit more thoughtful, as well? Or do you stand by those comments of tying her to this — her rhetoric to the synagogue shooting? -I don’t think I tied her to it in particular. I think that I’m calling out what I see as anti-Semitic language.

And when you’re talking about how hypnotic — -But even after, you called it out after she’d apologized for it. I do want to establish the timeline. -I don’t — I think that Democrats are hedging on this, and I think it’s very dangerous. And I think Chuck Schumer and I are in alignment about Israel’s stance in geopolitical politics. I think it’s of the utmost importance. And I think she is bringing her party to the extreme — extremism on this, and I think we have to look to Europe and what’s happening over there.

And that they’re — You know, in the British politics, anti-Semitism is very common. And I see it happening over there, and I worry about it happening over here. I stand by every single thing I’ve said. And if that makes me unpopular in this room or in front of you, so be it. -Well, I don’t… See, that’s a weird thing that you would take the position of trying to be unpopular. Here I am, trying to, you know, find the common ground on this because I do think one of the — I think we can both agree — -Were you bothered by her language about 9/11? -I thought it was taken out of context. And I think, if you watch that whole speech — -Would you give President Trump the same leverage if he had said the same thing? -Well, I would say that Donald Trump is certainly in no position to criticize her language on 9/11, based on the things that he’s said about 9/11, right? -But would you give — I just think you have to give people the same credence, and I think she’s getting a lot of passes.

-Let me make the clarification between Donald Trump and Ilhan Omar, is one of them has apologized and said they’re going to try to do better, and they’re going to be educated by people who know about this. That’s what she said. And I think she… You know, it’s an interesting thing, when we have two Muslim women for the first time, they do have a different perspective on things. And I think, when we talk about the idea of like, “Let’s all try to meet in the middle on things,” we have to listen to other people’s perspective.

-Oh, I agree. I work on “The View” with Joy Behar every day. -I listen to other perspectives all the time. -Is there a way for people to talk about differences in Israeli policy without getting framed as anti-Semitic language? -Yeah, I just think you can’t talk about Jews hypnotizing the world, talking about “all about the Benjamins.” -You do keep bringing up the two tweets that she’s apologized for, and I think that’s a little unfair to her, especially because we’ve established — -Are you her publicist? -What? -Are you her press person? -No, I’m just someone who cares about the fact that there’s someone out there who is in a minority, who has had death threats against her, and I think that we should all use the same language that you’re asking her to be careful about her language. And I would ask everybody else to be careful about theirs. -Okay. Alright. I mean, I’m not sure what — What would you — What would make you happy, coming out of my mouth right now? I’m genuinely curious. -I’m perfectly happy with everything that’s coming out of your mouth, and I like that we spent this time together.

-Okay, you seem a little — I mean, I think, you know, my opinions are very strong, and I think sometimes because — -That is coming across. I do want you to know that. -But I’m on a network show. I’m on ABC. And I think sometimes, when you’re a hardcore conservative woman like I am, I think sometimes it’s daunting. I’m not on Fox News anymore. I’m on ABC. I think sometimes my beliefs, even though I do believe I represent the vast majority of people in red states, or at least a lot of women in the middle of the country who are pro-life, pro-NRA, you know, strong foreign policy, people who believe in limited and small government, I think that sometimes it tends to be jarring for people to see someone like me in mainstream news, not on Fox. -But I think it’s good that you are on mainstream news, You do have a platform. I mean, I think there’s this idea that maybe you’re saying unpopular things, but certainly ABC thinks it’s worth hearing.

So, you know, you have a platform, I have a platform. I think we’re very lucky. And I think we have to — -Oh yeah, I’m, like, so lucky. -Well, we’re in agreement on that, as well. Vaccinate your kids. Meghan McCain, everybody. Thank you so much for spending time with me. .

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Trump’s 2019 State of the Union Address: A Closer Look

-The theme of President Trump’s State of the Union address was supposed to be unity, and in the lead-up to the speech, Trump honored that theme by attacking Democrats. For more on this, it’s time for “A Closer Look.” ♪♪ Remember, this speech was supposed to be last week, but it was postponed due to the government shutdown. And as he prepared for tonight’s address, Trump was once again threatening the possibility of a second shutdown when government funding runs out on February 15th. Trump still wants Democrats to give him money for his border wall, even though public opinion is still firmly against him.

And that’s because he just keeps saying the same things over and over. Eventually people are just going to tune you out. Sure, the first time you see a crazy guy yelling on the subway, you move down to the other end of the car. But the 10th time you see one, you just put your headphones in and listen to a podcast about America’s mental-health crisis. For example — For example, here’s Trump yet again repeating his claim that previous presidents should have built a wall on the Southern border. -We’re going to strengthen up our Southern border. That should have been done 30 years ago, 40 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 years ago. -Those are all the numbers he knows. And you know… You know he just threw in “5 years ago” because he wasn’t quite sure if Obama was president 10 years ago. Also, if anyone should be happy a previous president didn’t build a wall, it should be you.

If there was already a wall, what would people have chanted at your rallies? “Maintain the previously erected wall”? “Obama built the wall, but I’m going to keep it clean because it was filthy under Obama. A filthy, filthy, embarrassing wall. Oh, we’re going clean it. Oh, we’re going to clean it. Oh, you’re going — You’re going to eat off the wall.” Now, in his speech tonight, Trump claimed he was interested in bipartisan compromise, and even though he caved on the shutdown last month without getting any money for his wall, his allies on Fox News have been pretending it was actually a major victory. -He did not cave! He made a tactical decision, a strategy decision to pick the ground to fight on. -Anyone out there, by the way, thinking President Trump caved today, you don’t really know the Donald Trump I know. He right now holds all the cards.

-That’s right. Trump holds all the cards. Except he’s holding them facing out and upside down, and they’re Monopoly cards. “They are not Monopoly cards!” She screams, “He did not cave,” like she’s in a cave. In his speech to Congress tonight, Trump also repeated his claim that a border wall would stop crime and drugs from pouring into the country, despite the fact that immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than native-born Americans, and most illegal drugs come through ports of entry.

Trump’s been making that same argument for years, and polls show most Americans still aren’t buying it. That’s why in the run-up to his speech tonight, Trump started making a new, dumber argument — walls work because cars have wheels. And what’s even more insane is that Republican senators like Ted Cruz have actually been repeating that argument. -They say a wall is medieval. Well, so is a wheel. A wheel is older than a wall, and I looked at every single car out there, even the really expensive ones that the Secret Service uses — And believe me. They are expensive. I said, “Do they all have wheels? Yes. Oh, I thought it was medieval.” -You know, the President has a good observation. He said, “I’ll tell you something else that’s medieval. The wheel.” There’s a reason the wheel is medieval, ’cause it rolls things and it works. Walls are effective. -You know what’s medieval? That beard. You look…

You look like you’re about to arrest Robin Hood. Now, that argument was so dumb, even Trump knew better than to include it in his speech tonight. Instead, the theme of tonight’s speech was supposed to be unity, even with the specter of a second government shutdown looming over the whole affair, which is why coming in to tonight, everyone was very eager to see the dynamic between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who would be sitting behind Trump for the first time. Remember, for the last two State of the Union speeches, Trump had Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan behind him, standing and cheering for everything he said like Southern pageant moms. “Yes, Kaley! You are servin’ looks tonight! Ka-ley!” And there’s a long history of the people sitting behind the President getting just as much attention during the State of the Union as the President himself.

Just look at former House Speaker John Boehner, who always glared at Obama like a supervillain plotting his revenge. Or former Vice President Joe Biden who always… …who always looked like he was going room to room at a house party, making sure everyone had enough booze. “You good, Chad? How about you, Rick? I’m making margs. Another marg, Chad? One more for you? Maybe just one big one, two straws? Gonna do a cannonball later. You guys might want to come out to the pool.” And the Trump/Pelosi dynamic — The dynamic is going to be especially fascinating to watch, given just how overmatched Trump has been in his negotiations with her over the last few weeks. Over the weekend, Trump told CBS he couldn’t get a deal done with Pelosi because she wouldn’t budge on anything. -You had quite the showdown with Speaker Pelosi. What did you learn about negotiating with her? -Well, I think that she was very rigid. -Yeah, of course, she’s rigid. It’s a negotiation.

This guy wrote “The Art of the Deal,” and he has no idea how a deal works. “I got to be honest. I feel like she and I want different things.” Trump was insistent as recently as last week that he would get the better of Pelosi, and he was confident that he’d get his wall. Let’s see how he felt about the status of the wall today just hours before his big speech. -President Trump tweeted this. “Tremendous numbers of people are coming up through Mexico in the hopes of flooding our Southern border. We have sent additional military. We will build a human wall if necessary.” -A human wall? He negotiated himself down from a concrete wall to a steel barrier to a fence to a human wall. Who are the humans in the wall anyway? Are you and your weird sons going to go down to the border and play red rover? “Red rover, red rover. Send immigrants over.” And there are all kind of State of the Union traditions most people don’t know about.

For example, every year, there’s one administration official appointed as a designated survivor who stays in a separate location in case disaster strikes, and tonight that designated survivor was Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Can you imagine hearing the news that the Capitol had been blown up and everyone had been killed and then hearing the newscaster say, “And so now we go live for an address from President Rick Perry”? I mean, at least we know what he’d say. -Oops. -And, in fact, before Trump’s speech even started, we already had one big “oops” moment — Trump’s weirdly crooked tie. Look at that. Trump — Trump is so unpopular, even his tie has moved to the left. Now, understanding what Trump is saying at any given moment can be difficult for casual observers, let alone professional politicians who are used to normal human syntax, which might explain why at one point Nancy Pelosi seemed to be reading along with a printed copy of the speech. She looks like a babysitter reading the rules of the board game while the kids are just chucking game pieces at each other.

She looks like she’s checking the playbill to see who the understudy is. “Ohh! Oh, it’s Alec Baldwin.” But this was the first time — This is the first time we got to see in real time the two different reactions of Pence on the one hand and Pelosi on the other, and it was very revealing. As he repeated the same talking points he often repeats at every speech, Pence applauded enthusiastically while Pelosi was much more muted. -African-American, Hispanic-American, and Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded. -Look at them. Pence is like a dad who’s proud that his kid keyed the principal’s car, and Pelosi’s like a mom who’s thinking to herself, “I wish I had a daughter.” But the reactions were most telling when Trump alluded to the many investigations of his presidency, including investigations and oversight being conducted by Democrats in Congress and implied that those investigations were somehow hurting the economy.

-An economic miracle is taking place in the United States, and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations. If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way. -I’m sorry. You think the investigations are hurting the economy? If anything, you’ve created thousands of jobs for lawyers. This is such an insane argument. He’s like a guy who gets pulled over for drunk driving and says, “Officer, I can’t focus on the road with a breathalyzer in my mouth.” And eventually Trump got to the central promise of his campaign and presidency, the thing he shut down the government over — his wall.

And despite all the contradictory messages he’s sent over the past several weeks, Trump insisted that he would definitely get that wall. -My administration has sent to Congress a common-sense proposal to end the crisis on the Southern border. In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall. But the proper wall never got built. I will get it built. -Oh, you’re gonna get it built? You went from promising it would be a concrete wall to saying it would be a human wall. What’s next? “Walls work, and so do wheels, and that’s why the wall will be built out of wheels.

Oh, no! Oh, no! The wall’s rolling into the ocean! Oh, wheel wall! Oh, why?! Goodbye, wheel wall! I love you, wheel wall!” Trump then moved on to the economy, and when he mentioned the percentage of new jobs occupied by women, the record number of female freshmen Democrats in the audience started dancing like the cool aunts at a wedding. Trump then had the audacity to note the fact that more women were serving in Congress than ever before, as if he had something to do with it. -We also have more women serving in Congress than at any time before. -Look at Pelosi letting everyone know where those women are. Also, I love that Trump thinks he can take credit for that.

“The only reason they got elected is that most people hate me. You’re welcome, everyone.” In fact, a wave of Democrats was elected to Congress in November, running in part on a progressive economic agenda, with some, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, openly embracing the label of Democratic socialist. Democrats also ran in part against Trump’s deeply unpopular tax cut for corporations and the wealthy, and polls have shown support for policies like a wealth tax or a higher income tax for the richest Americans surging, even among Republicans. So Trump decided to take a swipe at the Democratic socialists in the room. -Here in the United States, we are alarmed by the new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence and not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. -Look at Bernie’s face. That’s the face he makes when the waiter catches him stuffing sugar packets in his pocket.

“All the sugar packets are being hoarded by the millionaires and billionaires! Sugar to the people!” We’ve been here many times before. We all know the real Trump is the one who will reappear on Twitter tomorrow. In his speech tonight, he attacked the investigations of his presidency and repeated his demand for a border wall. He just recycled many of the same talking points he always uses. In other words, he went ’round and ’round like… -A wheel. -This has been “A Closer Look.” .

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Trump Lost Over $1 Billion in 10 Years: A Closer Look

-The Trump administration is defying Congress over the Mueller report as we get more information about the President’s tax returns. For more on this, it’s time for “A Closer Look.” After Democrats won back the House in November and promised to investigate him, Trump threatened to go to war with Congress, and now we’re seeing what that war looks like. Trump’s fighting Congress on every front, ordering former aides to defy subpoenas, trying to block Robert Mueller from testifying, suing banks to keep them from releasing his bank documents, and refusing to open Rudy Giuliani’s coffin during the day. “It’s not because he’s a vampire! He just has sensitive eyes!” And then, of course, there’s William Barr, Trump’s Attorney General who lied about the contents of the Mueller report before we all got to see it and then refused to show up at a House hearing last week about his handling of the report, leaving an empty chair in his place, which was so weird. I mean, for one thing, usually when you see someone talking to an empty chair, it’s Clint Eastwood at the Republican National Convention.

Remember that insane thing that happened before Donald Trump? An old man got up on national TV and yelled at an empty chair while everyone in the audience applauded and said, “Yeah! You give that chair what for!” And that happened in 2012, but somehow it took the emergence of Donald Trump for us all to go, “Maybe Republicans are weird.” Democrats also want Barr to turn over the full, unredacted Mueller report and all the underlying evidence Mueller collected, and Barr has refused to do that, as well. At a hearing on a contempt resolution today, Republican Congressman Jim Jordan asked the chairman of the committee, Jerry Nadler, why he couldn’t just wait to hear from Mueller himself before getting the full report, and Nadler had a very simple answer.

-I would ask the chairman. My understanding is, Mr. Mueller’s gonna be here next week. You’re gonna get to ask the guy who wrote the whole darn document. We’re all gonna ask him questions. Why don’t you hold off on this contempt until at least the guy who wrote the thing, spent 22 months and $35 million with a whole bunch of Democratic lawyers putting it together, why don’t you wait and ask him next week before we do this contempt resolution? -I’ll answer — Well, essentially, because it’ll be useful to read the material before we have him in front of us.

-Yeah, they want to read it first. Republicans must have the weirdest book clubs. “Okay. This week’s book is ‘Great Gatsby.’ What does everyone think of the cover?” And while Trump’s administration is trying to block the release of the full Mueller report, they’ve also been in the middle of a stand-off with Congress over Trump’s tax returns. Democrats formally requested Trump’s tax returns, and this week, the administration refused to hand them over. Last month, Trump even implied that Mueller had looked at them and decided there was nothing wrong. -I thought, after two years, we’d be finished with it. No, now the House goes and starts subpoenaing. They want to know every deal I’ve ever done. Now, Mueller, I assume, for $35 million, checked my taxes, checked my financials, which are great by the way. You know they’re great. -If they’re so great, then just show them to us. You’re the worst poker player ever.

He walks around like he’s holding four aces, but you just know he has a pair of 2s and that extra card with the rules on it. Also, I have no idea whether Mueller — No idea… No idea whether Mueller saw Trump’s finances or not, but I feel like, if he had, he would’ve told us about it. His report was 448 pages long. He included every little detail he found. There’s an entire section titled “Trump’s Hair and How It Works.” Now, Democrats had requested the last six years of Trump’s returns, but then, last night, we got some blockbuster reporting from “The New York Times” about Trump’s tax returns from a different period in his life, the ’80s and ’90s, when he was first cultivating his celebrity status as a self-made success story. And this will shock you — they were not, as Trump claimed, great. -A brand-new report from “The New York Times,” offering one of the most detailed looks we have had at Donald Trump’s finances, during a decade-long portion of his career.

“The numbers show that, in 1985, Mr. Trump reported losses of $million from his core businesses, largely casinos, hotels, and retail space in apartment buildings. They continued to lose money every year, totaling $billion in losses for the decade. In fact, year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer. -He lost more than a billion dollars. I can’t even imag– If my 401(k) goes down half a percent, I need to take three Xanax. If I turn on CNN and see a red arrow in the bottom right-hand corner, I frantically call my broker and tell him to take everything out. And my broker says, “Take it out of what? You have all your money in a checking account,” and then I say, “Is that bad?” and he says, “Yes. And, also, we’ve been over this — I’m not your broker. I’m an actor. How did you get this number?” Now, we already knew that Trump was a liar and that Trump was a cheat, who had a series of spectacular business failures, but these returns are from earlier in his life, in the ’80s and ’90s, when he was touting himself as a business genius and one of the most successful men in America.

I mean, in 1987, while he was losing all of this money, he literally wrote “The Art of the Deal.” Based on how bad he is at deals, I’m surprised the cost of that book wasn’t, “I pay you $20 if you take one.” During this 10-year period, Trump was actively building the myth that he was a self-made success, while in reality, he was a massive failure who lost more money than any other American taxpayer. For example, you might remember that, in the ’80s and ’90s, Trump pretended to be a spokesman for himself, named John Barron, who would call various media outlets and brag about Trump’s success. For example, here is Donald Trump calling a reporter at “Forbes,” pretending to be John Barron. Specifically, he was trying to convince the reporter that assets that belonged to his father, Fred Trump, were actually his now.

And while he was at it, he also bragged about how close he was with his father. -Okay. What’s your first name,then? -John. John Barron. Let me tell you what the deal is, just so you understand. -Okay, Mr. Trump. -First of all, most of the assets have been consolidated to Mr. Trump, you know, because you have down Fred Trump. But I think you can really use Donald Trump now, and you can just consolidate it.

-Does Fred Trump make many management decisions? -Oh, yeah, sure, he’s the — he’s the chairman. Donald’s the president. And Fred Trump is active. He’s an excellent guy, and you know how — They’re very close, their relationship. The two are, as you know, very close, as you’ve heard or know, or perhaps you don’t know. -He used a fake name to call a reporter and brag about how much his father loves him.

Man, I would say the dude needs to therapy, but I don’t think he can afford it. Maybe — Maybe — Maybe he can just use a fake name and be his own therapist. “And how does that make you feel, Donald?” “I feel smart, Dr. Barron.” “You are smart, Donald. That’ll be $200.” “Uh…” “Can I owe you?” So, the “Times” story covers a period of 10 years, during which Trump lost over a billion dollars, and yet throughout that period, he was actively cultivating his celebrity persona as a self-made business titan. He told “Newsweek” in 1987, “There’s no one my age who has accomplished more,” but during that time, there were also fleeting moments where Trump could barely hide that he was lying. In fact, in an interview that same year, on the first iteration of this show, David Letterman tried to get Trump to reveal his net worth. Now keep in mind, Trump has spent his whole life bragging about how much he’s worth.

When he first announced his presidential campaign in 2015, he literally said the words, “I’m really rich.” And his campaign issued a press release that said, “Mr. Trump’s net worth is in excess of $10 billion.” And you know it’s true ’cause it’s in all caps. It’s like when you get an e-mail with the subject line “Erectile dysfunction medicine,” you’re suspicious. But when it says, “Free boner pills”… …you know it’s legit. And yet, in 1987, the year he published “The Art of the Deal” and cast himself as a self-made business genius, his tone was very different. When Letterman asked him the question, you could tell Trump, who has openly bragged throughout his life about how much money he has, did not want to answer.

-How much are you worth right now, as you’re sitting right here? -Zero idea, David. It depends on what’s happening with the world and the market. -I think this is the kind of thing that people love to fantasize about. Because you are, unquestionably, one of the most successful men in the country, if not the world, and also one of the wealthiest. So, give us a figure that we might ponder here. -You’ll never get it out of me, David. You’ll never get it out of me. -You won’t put a figure? Just an imaginary figure? -Never have, never would. -A billion. You’re worth a billion dollars? -Perhaps. -Perhaps. -I mean, look how young he was. What happened to you, man? I mean, you actually used to look like a normal person. How did that guy turn into this guy? I mean, that looks like the before-and-after in one of those anti-drug PSAs. And, of course — Look, Trump — Trump was never a successful businessman. He just played one on TV.

Expecting Donald Trump to exhibit business acumen is like expecting George Clooney to do an arterial bypass. But this isn’t just a story about Trump. We already knew he was a con artist. It’s also a story about the thing Trump cynically claimed to fix, the thing he actually benefited from his entire life, the rigged system. Most regular people are one layoff or medical emergency away from a financial crisis, but this guy lost a billion dollars over 10 years and he ended up fine — except for the fact that he went from looking like the wolf of Wall Street to a guy getting chased by a pack of wolves. Trump is defying Congress and subpoenas, and, once again, we have more proof that he’s one of the world’s most prolific con artists. Congress is exercising its duty to investigate the President by asking for documents, and Trump is just saying… -No! -Caught me off guard with that one.

That was real good. This has been “A Closer Look.” .

As found on Youtube