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The Man Who Was Trump Before Trump

by Bioreports
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Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty

The president’s adviser is falling all over himself to kiss his boss’ ass.

“Mr. President, we’re all so proud to work for you. You’re saving the world!”

It sounds like something you could imagine Jared Kushner saying to Donald Trump. But the groveler in question was none other than Henry Kissinger, and the occupant of the White House was Richard Nixon.

Yes, Trump is a descendent of Nixon’s, says former Spy magazine editor and Studio 360 host Kurt Andersen, whose new podcast is called Nixon at War.

“Man, he is. I mean in terms of the paranoia, the weakness for flattery, the amorality, all of it,” Andersen tells co-host Molly Jong-Fast on the latest episode of The New Abnormal.

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“I’ve heard tapes of Nixon speaking, and it is eerie how Trumpy he is,” Molly says.

Still, Trump never had a Kissinger—and lucky for us. “There’s nobody in Trumpworld like Henry Kissinger, nobody that brilliant,” Andersen says. Nobody, nobody who controlled Trump as much or as well… Dick Cheney in the recent world probably comes closest to being what Kissinger was to Nixon.”

Kissinger and Nixon were two “very smart guys who did very, very bad things in Southeast Asia,” Andersen says. And Vietnam led “directly to Watergate”—and to the political chasm wracking Washington, D.C., today.

Also on the episode, New Yorker writer Susan Glasser joins Molly and co-host Jesse Cannon to dissect President Biden’s trip to Europe and summit with Vladimir Putin, and whether Democrats’ hopes for their Senate majority were all foolishness.

The goal of the trip for Biden “was to go out on the world stage and remind people that he was not Donald Trump, that America is back, that America is respected again, and that we have allies and partners and that we can do stuff on the world stage,” says Glasser, also a CNN global analyst and co-author of The Man Who Ran Washington: The Life and Times of Jim Baker.

“The ability to not be Donald Trump has been a huge asset for Biden,” quips Molly.

But when Molly adds that Trump was “quite close to having a successful coup,” Glasser pushes back.

“I actually think it’s kind of dangerous,” Glasser says. “I don’t believe that Donald Trump was that close to a successful coup. And the bottom line is what happened, first of all, at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was outrageous and beyond anything I ever could have imagined, but functionally irrelevant in terms of the actual transition of power. And it wouldn’t have mattered, number one. Number two, I think you saw very strong resistance from military leaders.”

Democrats have gotten that muddled, she says. They also appear to have been fooling themselves about the Senate and the power they would wield to push through progressive legislation.

We’re All Just Living Under the Tyranny of Joe Manchin

“Were these people deluding themselves?” Glasser asks. “Like, a 50-50 Senate is a 50-50 split. I’m not that good at math. And even I knew you don’t get from 50-50 Senate to LBJ in one small step. And I always wondered this spring, like, have people kind of lost it a little bit?”

Finally on the episode, hilarious viral phenomenon Crackhead Barney and Drew Rosenthal join Jesse and Molly to break down their approach to MAGA rallies, how she was committed to a psych ward in Staten Island, why they think they’re going to get beat up one day, why they want to interview Thomas Markle, and how the Proud Boys greeted them.

Listen to The New Abnormal on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon and Stitcher.

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