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Paul Waldman

At Last, Trump Finds His Mini-Me

(Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)
(Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images) White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci answers reporters' questions during his first press briefing on July 21, 2017. P erhaps never in American history has a lowly White House aide been so roundly and gleefully mocked in such short a time as Sean Spicer, President Trump's soon-to-be-former press secretary. Spicer's departure and the arrival of the new communication director, Anthony Scaramucci, show that this White House has really found its groove. Not in passing legislation (which hasn't happened yet) or in convincing Americans that the president is doing a bang-up job (his approval ratings are in the 30s), but in making Donald Trump's staff more fully Trumpian. Ordinarily, the position of White House communication director is filled by someone with at least a decade of experience in press relations—after all, it's pretty much the most prestigious and challenging job in that field. Scaramucci, however, was picked using the...

Trump's Always Been a Con Artist. But Now He's the Sucker.

AP Photo/Susan Walsh
AP Photo/Susan Walsh Protesters gather outside the White House. S ome of us spent a good part of 2016 arguing that Donald Trump was a con man. He had spent much of his career pulling grifts on unsuspecting victims, whether it was the enrollees at Trump University, customers of the multivitamin pyramid scheme called the " Trump Network " (bet you forgot about that one), or small businesspeople from whom he bought goods and services and then stiffed on the bill . Now he was pulling his biggest con of all on the voters, and too many of them were getting fooled. But guess what: Now Donald Trump is the mark. He's the one being manipulated. He turns out to be the biggest sucker in town. The thing about a con man is that in order to be successful, he has to have some understanding of human nature—what motivates people, where their vulnerabilities are, and how they can be manipulated. Which is what makes Trump's success as a grifter somewhat unusual—he possesses little apparent human empathy...

How Trump Is Dragging America's Image Down

(Photo: Kay Nietfeld/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)
(Photo: Kay Nietfeld/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images) Protesters march during a demonstration against the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 8, 2017. W hile the G20 summit in Germany didn't feature the leaders laying their hands on a glowing orb , it did offer a vivid illustration of just how far the United States has fallen in the mere six months that Donald Trump has been president. He has broken many of the promises he made as a candidate, but he has certainly come through on his pledge to make American foreign policy more inward-looking and contemptuous of the interests of the rest of the world. We're just beginning to see the results. To put it simply, the very idea of "American leadership" in the world is on indefinite hold for as long as Trump remains president. We still have the largest economy, strongest military, and most influential culture, but other countries know they can no longer look to America as a partner or a leader in any common endeavor. Trump has made it...