President Donald Trump? Most Beltway insiders -- and many others -- dismiss the notion as absurd, figuring only a national nervous breakdown, or worse, could put the real estate developer and noted egomaniac in the White House.
But very strange things -- Monica Lewinsky, for example -- can happen. So it's re-freshing to see Trump, in his new book, The America We Deserve, give a little preview of what a Trump inner circle would look like.
He's already floated Oprah Winfrey for vice president, though she has demurred. Trump writes that he'd like General Electric executive
Jack Welch for secretary of the treasury. Muhammad Ali would have some role in the Trump operation, the book says, as would Teamsters chief Jim Hoffa -- maybe at the Labor Department? Justice? There'll be a spot for "the brilliant senator from New Jersey," Bob
Torricelli, a "close friend" from a state where Trump has casinos. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, "a good man," also might be summoned. "I believe we could get another president from the Bushes. He may be the one." Clearly, he doesn't think Texas Gov. George W. Bush will be.
Also favored are Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), former New York representative Susan Molinari, New York Gov. George Pataki, Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) and New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Equally fun reading are the "few people who wouldn't make my list." Trump saves the sharpest vitriol for those who have personally crossed him.
He blames Bill Bradley's 1986 tax reform bill for costing him
"Phony as a twenty-dollar Rolex," Trump writes of Bradley, predicting that Vice President Gore, "a much more formidable intellect and public servant," will "send Bradley back to Jersey with his well-worn tail between his legs."
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who fought bitterly with Trump over developing prime Manhattan waterfront property, is called "one of the most egregious hacks in contemporary politics." And Sen. Bob Smith (R-N.H.)? He was mean at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on sister Maryanne Barry Trump's nomination to a federal appeals court, grilling her on her views about abortion.
Smith is "inarticulate, unqualified, and, according to several members I know, about the dumbest guy in the U.S. Senate . . . Maybe if my sister had spoken more slowly he would have understood her."
As for President Clinton and his new home in West-chester County, "in all candor, he really overpaid. He really got ripped off on the house," Trump writes. "If I had represented him in buying the house I could have saved them about $600,000" off the $1.7 million price tag.
Finally, there's this most intriguing tidbit. "I got a chuckle out of all the moralists in Congress and in the media who expressed public outrage at the president's immoral behavior.
I happen to know that one U.S. senator leading the pack of attackers spent more than a few nights with his twenty-something girlfriend at a hotel I own. There's also a conservative columnist, married, who was particularly rough on Clinton in this regard. He also brought his girlfriend to my resorts for the weekend."
Who might we be talking about here? "My lips are permanently sealed," Trump said when we called. Not even going to offer hints or any information about how he knows. But all these folks "are lucky it's me," and not someone less discreet, he opined.
When you check in, smile for the camera?
Pro Bono Advocacy
Irish rock superstar and political activist Bono seems to enjoy a very close relationship with the Leader of the Free World. "It is an extraordinary thing to see your administration so fast on
its feet," Bono wrote Bill Clinton recently, referring to the president's speech at the World Bank in September announcing full debt forgiveness of loans to poor countries.
In a thank-you note just before New Year's Eve, Bono wrote that World Bank President "Jim Wolfensohn had told me [Treasury Secretary] Larry Summers would never agree to a hundred percent forgiveness of loans to the HIPCs." HIPCs, called "hippics" by true insiders, stands for heavily indebted poor countries.
National Economic Council chief "Gene Sperling had said the issue was a priority, but there were many obstacles . . . and much red tape," Bono said in the letter, which was addressed to "Mr. President, Bill."
"Enter The Presidential Scissors and it is now forever a moral as well as economic imperative that a starving man feed his children before repaying his old loans," Bono gushed.
"Congratulations to you, Larry Summers, Gene Sperling et al . . . That's a band to be in!" the rocker said. Then he thanked Clinton "for your note" after the recent birth of Bono's son. In adding that he would be bringing the boy and "the whole family" to the millennium bash, he asked, "How are you for babysitting?"
Presumably a suitable sitter was found.
Tips and comments for Al Kamen's column are welcomed at:
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