The Trump Profile

Sunday Content #17: November 29, 2015

If you’ve not already, watch Killer Mike introduce Bernie Sanders in Atlanta, which was one of the best political speeches I’ve seen in a long goddamn time. “… before I was a rapper, I was a son of Atlanta. Before I ever wrote one rhyming word on paper, before that, I was a black man in America. And before I ever learned how to dance a G, I gave a damn about American politics.”

Early last year, my then-colleague at BuzzFeed McKay Coppins was reporting from New Hampshire where Donald Trump was delivering a stump speech. McKay was doubtful Trump would run for anything, but he was working on a book about the Republican Party. He was the only reporter who showed. Then, after something about weather and flights, McKay ended up being flown down to Trump’s Florida estate. He returned to New York, and to us his editors, grinning. When we afterwards published this excellent profile, we did not think, at all, that Donald Trump would be polling as a frontrunner in a Republican presidential nomination race. But here we are.

Now McKay has a book excerpt up at WaPo about Trump. In it he shares his understanding of how this has happened, specifically how Trump has pandered to the right-wing fringe, a segment, he argues, that has always existed, from the John Birchers of the 70s and 80s to the AM talk shows of the 90s.

He also writes about how Trump and his lackeys came after him in the wake of our story’s publication, events that at the time felt ridiculous, but in hindsight are fairly scary in terms of what they revealed about the immoral, petty man beneath the golden muskrat.

Part of me wants to spend 0% of my mortal life reading or watching or thinking about the Republican party, specifically the Republican nominees for president. I’ve suffered through a few of their debates, barely able to handle their performed demonstrations of how much they hate immigrants, how much they hate women, how much they hate people who aren’t white—stoking those hateful fires in the hearts of the dying white conservative minority. I now find myself avoiding Twitter when one of their debates is on. And I find myself enraged this morning that none of them have had the balls to speak honestly about the terrorist incident that occurred this weekend in Colorado Springs, wherein a white man went into a women’s health clinic and opened fire, ultimately killing two civilians and a police officer.

But I’ll probably read McKay’s book. And that’s because I know he’s done the reporting, and he’s actually thought about this stuff, and processed it into something that’s thorough and smart and unafraid of telling the truth about powerful people. As much as I don’t want to have to know more about these people, they are powerful, and I ultimately do believe in this nominal democracy it is better to try to know what’s going on.

Anyway, here is the thing you should read about the terrorist attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. It’s a Storify put together by a woman who identifies herself online as Secret Gamer Girl. I just spent like 30 minutes attempting to summarize all she says in here and failing. I think you should just read it. (And if you’re an editor, please reach out to her.)

Here’s that link again.

Speaking of bodies that are unsafe in America: I think you should read Jamil Smith on the execution of Laquan McDonald.

If you’re wanting a little left-wing fringe to balance out all the ring-wing fringe above, I recommend this Believer essay about our country’s most prominent anarchist John Zerzan.

Rembert Browne’s long interview in New York with DeRay Mckesson is so. good.

And read this plainly stated, powerful op-ed by a doctor named Willie J. Parker called “Why I Provide Abortions”:

The following are things I hadn’t actually read / watched / listened to before this week that I should say on record are great:

I had been avoiding listening to Hamilton in hopes that I’d get to see it live first. I gave up this week and cracked it open and me and my Hamilton fandom are rly happy together thanks.

I finally watched Trainwreck last night and I’ll probably write about that too. tl;dr It wasn’t a perfect movie, and I hate its title, but good lord it felt good to see a depiction of a smart, loud, funny, sexual woman and her navigation of how to live and allow herself to be loved because of, not in spite of, the way she is. Also Amy Schumer is a phenomenal actress.

And Diary of a Teenage Girl, the graphic novel on which the movie is based, is something I wish someone had bought me when I was 16. If you know any 16 year olds, please buy it for them.

The best instruction guide I’ve read about how to be a writer / a person is Flannery O’Connor’s letters.


p.s. For no reason at all here I’m saying that Cullen Crawford is great on Twitter.