In 50 years, one can just imagine that remembering what it was like to live under a Trump presidency in 2017 will result only in frustration. Scraps of memory will pollute your mind—red baseball caps, Billy Bush, pickles, Kate McKinnon sitting at a piano dressed like Hillary Clinton—congealing and coalescing into one another as the Twitter bird flaps its wings in the shadow of a billowing Russian flag.
Last week, for example, was filled with so many surprises, tragedies, betrayals, and references to auto-fellatio that to recall them all is a fool’s errand. As such, the Washington Post decided to preserve them all in amber by compiling an oral history of the week’s many stories, which included the rise of Anthony Scaramucci, the fall of Sean Spicer, a Boy Scout Jamboree gone topsy-turvy, a Twitter meltdown, the looming specter of North Korea, and John McCain’s reluctant about-face. The Post dubbed this period—July 24 through 28—the “Era Of The Mooch.”
The newspaper didn’t skimp on sources, either. The Post spoke to “senators, Boy Scouts, soldiers, journalists, parents, talking heads, Wall Street traders, and the CEO of an arcade-game company in Florida.” Some support Trump, some don’t. All of them, however, are still scratching their heads.
There’s plenty of highlights. One 15-year-old Boy Scout, for example, lost a part of his soul during the Boy Scout Jamboree speech. “When he said, ‘Barack Obama,’ I screamed ‘Oh my God,’ and put my hands over my head,” says David Bender. “It was so unreal. I thought I was in a dream. He got the crowd to boo. It made me so sad.”
Susan Collins, the Republican senator from Maine who proved instrumental in the failure of the GOP’s healthcare repeal bill, shared some thoughts on what the vibe felt like in the room last Friday.
Collins: All of us were chitchatting, and reminiscing—talking about travels with John [McCain]. Then the conversation turned to health care. The vice president said to me, “Boy, are you tough,” but then he softened it by putting his arm around me.
It felt tense and somber to me. I was cognizant of the fact that because of where my name falls, I would be the first Republican to cast a no vote.
I know John very well. I know he has the courage to do what’s right, regardless of whether it’s difficult or unpopular.
New York’s Olivia Nuzzi takes the prize, however, with her description of 9-year-old Pickle’s letter to Trump, which press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders read before reporters at a White House press briefing.
Nuzzi: I let out an exhausted sigh so loud that Evan McMorris-Santoro from Vice, who was in front of me, turned around and laughed.
It reminded me of when Bill O’Reilly used to take reader emails and they’d all be like: “I don’t understand how someone as smart as you has to deal with idiots all day.” But this one was from a child.
One of the questions was: “How much money do you have?” Which to me was a clue that Donald Trump wrote this with his left hand.
I think Pickle broke me. It’s so insane. So completely deranged.
And that’s not even touching on the response to Scaramucci’s profanity-laced tirade to the New Yorker. One subject, reflecting on the moment he first heard about it, sums the situation up thusly: “Did that really happen or was someone making this up on Twitter?”
Isn’t that our reaction to all news these days?