Quick Takes: Trump Knew About Don Jr’s Meeting

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* Yesterday Trump had this to say about his campaign staff meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya:

On Wednesday afternoon, Trump told Reuters that “No. That I didn’t know. Until a couple of days ago, when I heard about this. No I didn’t know about that,” referring to the meeting between Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.

I’m guessing that not too long after he said that, the White House learned that someone has proof that he did, in fact, know about it. Because he’s already changed his tune.

Trump changed his tune later in the day, when he told reporters on Air Force One: “In fact maybe it was mentioned at some point,” referring to the meeting.

* Speaking of changing his tune, Kevin Drum notes that the president has almost completely backed off his plans for building that wall.

Two years ago, Trump said he would build a 2,000-mile wall. A year ago, he said “natural barriers” reduced the needed length to 1,000 miles. Now it’s 700-900 miles.

As it happens, we already have about 700 miles of border fencing, so Trump is suggesting that we really don’t need much more than what’s already in place.

* But that’s not the most ridiculous thing Trump said about the wall recently. It’s hard to imagine topping this one:

* Apparently Trump’s favorite spokesperson these days is Sebastian Gorka.

In the more establishment-aligned parts of the White House, Sebastian Gorka is a figure of ridicule, with some staff believing he’s an embarrassment when he represents the administration on TV.

But to Trump’s nationalist base, and the one person who matters inside the White House, he’s become a rock star in recent days. Gorka’s stock has soared as President Trump has watched him on various cable channels fighting with the hosts and accusing them of being part of the “fake news industrial complex.”

* Here is Gorka today touting collaboration with Russia. Oops, that sounds an awful lot like “collusion.”

* Perhaps one of the reasons that Kellyanne Conway isn’t the favorite is because she seems better suited for teaching a kindergarten class.

* Finally, I’ll leave you today with some clips from the best thing I’ve read about Donald Trump in quite a while. They’re from an article by Jessica Valenti titled, “Dear Trump Family, You Are Not Victims.”

It’s time to call Trump’s presidency what it is: a victim complex with executive powers…

In part, Trump’s persecution complex comes from his obsessive narcissism: He can’t imagine that people’s interests in the state of the country are about anything other than himself…

One White House official told The Washington Post that the president’s son was an “honest kid” who just wanted to hunt and fish, making the 39-year-old sound more like a boy scout on a camping trip than a seasoned businessman planning meetings with foreign governments.

Obsessively focusing on perceived slights or unfairness isn’t entirely surprising from a person who sees himself and his family as above the law: When you believe the rules don’t apply to you, the simple act of being held accountable feels like persecution. It’s why Trump and his children are unable to get anything of substance done; they’re too busy reeling from the idea that they might have to answer for their actions for the first time in their lives.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.