Thursday, May 18, 2017

Donald Trump's Big Problem, He Doesn't Understand Power

By Robert Wenzel

Donald Trump has a big problem living in Washington D.C.

He doesn't understand power and how it operates, He is essentially a product brander and a real estate man,

He became president because he understood branding and what a lot of the people wanted and so he won the greatest seat of power in the world today.

But there is one problem with this, power is different from being in business, In business, you can order some cement to be laid as the foundation for a new building and you are going to get that cement for money, There is an exchange where both sides gain.

In Washington D.C., it is about power and control. It is mostly not about an exchange of power, It is about ripping power away from others. Trump is in a swamp of people who may have miscalculated what the people in flyover country wanted for a president but you are not going to beat them at the power game. Especially when there is a mainstream media that is more than willing to aid in the attack.

MSM hates him. He is uncouth and succeeded in winning the presidential election despite their best efforts to derail him. In D.C., you are not supposed to win the presidency without their approval. To do so means you have to be destroyed to show that MSM really has the power.

Democrats are also furious that this political buffoon beat them.

We can assume that Trump gained power without having a clue as to what he is up against. We can be certain, he has never read Machiavelli, Saul Alinsky or Shakespeare.

These authors are the oxygen of power seekers. We can be sure that
Democrats and the mainstream media in Washington D.C. have read these books and that they can quote the most "inspiring" power lines.

Trump can not. He is a street hustling entrepreneur. He does not understand the power game. He doesn't even understand the code words.

In 2009, I wrote a post titled, How the Elite Talk in Code.

It began:
It has long been a contention of mine that the super elite talk in a kind of code that keeps them out of trouble. They know full well among each other what needs to be done in certain tight situations, but you will never hear any of them speak it. They sort of ride above the fray and think to themselves that they are not manipulating anything, when, in fact, they are attempting to manipulate the entire world!
Then I introduced an example:
 A perfect example of code talk comes from a true master insider, George H.W. Bush, when his son, Neil, was caught red handed in the middle of the S&L crisis as a director of Sliverado Bank.

Did Bush lay out his cards and call in his operatives and say pull some strings, get my son out of this investigation (Remember Bush was president at the time.) No. Bush was too smooth. In his published collection of letters, All The Best, George Bush, he shows us how the heat is delicately taken off Neil. On page 449, there is this letter to Thomas Ludlow Ashley.

Ashley is a Yale University grad, and a member of the secret society Skull and Bones along with Bush. Here's the letter:

The Honorable Thomas Ludlow Ashley
Association of Bank Holding Companies
Washington, D.C. 20005

Dear Lud,

Thank you for your good memo December 8th.

I would appreciate any help you can give Neil. He tells me he never had any insider dealings. He got off the Board early--long before I was elected President. The Denver paper apparently ran a very nice editorial about him on that. He is an outside director, and thus I guess has liability, but I can't believe his name would appear in the paper if it was Jones not Bush. In any event, I know that the guy is totally honest. I saw him in Denver and I think he is worried about the publicity and the "shame". I tell him not to worry about that but any advice you can give as this matter unfolds would be greatly appreciated by me. If it turns out there has been some marginal call, or he has done something wrong, needless to say there will be no intervention from his dad. But, I'm quite confident this is not true...

Warm regards,


Notice how smooth. No talk about getting Ashley anything for taking care of the matter. The nice touch about if Neil "has done something wrong", but the clear finish, he didn't.

This was Bush writing to a fellow Skull and Bones member and he still wrote in code. Get my damn son off! And old man Bush has the balls to print this letter in his collection! Amazing! Smooth.

Trump failed here. When he talked to Comey, it appears that he said, "I hope you can drop it." Not really incriminating but far from George H.W. Bush smooth.

Trump should have meshed his style with Bush's and said to Comey, "I can't believe the nonsense they are throwing at Flynn. I am a pretty good judge of character, actually a fantastic judge of character, and I would be shocked if you find he did anything wrong, Needless to say, there will be no intervention from me but once you finish digging you'll see what I mean. He's a good man being treated terribly"

Comey would have gotten the message and Trump would have boxed Comey in because you only say that kind of stuff in the Oval office where Comey would know it is too dangerous to report inaccurately because conversations could be recorded.

That said, Trump's biggest blunder was not to surround himself with cronies that he knew a long time and that understand the power game and would back him up. Real political tough guys that would know how to protect him.

I was shocked he didn't name Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie to his administration.

Giuliani should have been named to head the DOJ and Chris Christie perhaps should have been named chief of staff.  (I am looking at this from a political strategy perspective, not a libertarian perspective). There would have been howls from the media and Democrats but the howls have come anyway. At least, with Christie and Giuliani, you have two fierce criminal political fighters who know how the game is played--and most important they would have Trump's back.

Instead, Trump has as his chief of staff Reince Priebus, who is total establishment, is close with House Speaker Ryan, and Ryan is close to VP Pence. Who the hell knows who Priebus is really working for? In addition to his not having the tough personality necessary to be chief of staff.

It should be noted that Obama did not make this mistake. He put in as his first chief of staff his Chicago buddy, the tough as nails Rahm Emanuel. And to back that up, he made his top adviser another Chicago crony, the tough and mysterious, Valerie Jarrett.

Bizarrely. Trump went in a completely different direction only putting his buddy Wilbur Ross in as Secretary of Commerce (Big deal). Everyone else around him is a power hungry shark that he doesn't know well, outside of the goofy kids, Jared and Ivanka.

Trump appears to continue to want to explain himself out of the ridiculous charges made against him and to be friends with the enemy.

But this isn't about logic, it is about gaining power. As I recently explained:
[T]he Democrats are not his friends. The media is not his friend.  Logic is not going to persuade them.

As James Altucher once wrote, correcting the errors that enemies make on facts are never going to satisfy enemies. Truth is not their goal, destruction is...

As Altucher said, if you have an enemy bent on attacking you and he incorrectly claims that you were born in Boston and you set the record straight that you were born in New York, his response is going to be, "Why that is even worse!"
Trump needs to adjust the value scales of the Democrats and the media.

This is very difficult stuff to do and Trump doesn't have anyone around who knows how to do it, The kids certainly don't. Priebus doesn't. Sessions seems loyal but he may be out of his league,

The naming of a special prosecutor is very dangerous. How did that happen? That is not moving in the right direction.

Read what Dick Morris has to say about it: Special Prosecutor For Trump/Russia Investigation Is A Disaster.

After you read the Morris piece listen to this extremely insightful analysis by Jan Helfeld.

It's too late for Giuliani now. He would never get confirmed for the FBI position but Giuliani would know who in the FBI would be loyal to Trump to make director. Giuliani knows those guys since the time he was US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Roger Stone has suggested former New York City police chief Ray Kelly.

The same thing goes for the chief of staff position. Priebus has to go and be replaced with a tough as nails Trump loyalist.

This is the only way Trump survives, He needs tough loyalists who know how to start adjusting Democratic value scales. I suspect if it was told to Hillary in George H.W. Bush code talk that every breath she and Bill have taken for the last 50 years was going to be investigated if the Democratic nonsense doesn't stop, the nonsense would stop.

As far as the intelligence community, Trump has to cut ties with the Petraeus loyalists that Trump has in the administration. Reports have it that Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, talks to Petraeus every night. Trump is going to have no peace by way of the intelligence community until Petraeus and his lackeys are cut out of the loop.

The intelligence community hates Petraeus.

As far as the media, Trump can handle them being a thorn as long as he has the Democrats and intelligence community under control and he puts a tough, sharp person in as the top White House spokesperson.

But will Trump bring in value scale adjusters? Or does he still think he can run the government the way he orders cement for a foundation? That remains to be seen. There are still acts that remain in this real-time, real-life, power-play drama.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics, on LinkedIn and Facebook. The Robert Wenzel podcast is on  iphone and stitcher.


  1. I agree with this analysis and I think you have been correct on this stuff for a long time. This whole 'Trump is a genius who's playing 4D chess and everything that seems bad for him is really good' BS popularized by Scott Adams has got to end. That has never seemed the case to me even during the campaign.

    He had one trick during the primaries, that was adjusting the conversation by saying something provocative, but that trick has been played and no longer works. It certainly did not work during the general election. Trump won by coincidence, because he went up against Clinton and October Surprise after October Surprise showed up at Clinton's doorstep. He didn't even win the popular vote, and his ratings among the public at large are very low.

    Another thing is that I doubt Trump has any ideology or consistent worldview, such as an economic philosophy. There's no coherent vision he is pushing forward. 'America First' doesn't mean anything. everyone claims to put America first, and the few times he has articulated anything coherent, he has backtracked. He himself probably doesn't know what he wants to accomplish as president.

  2. The Prince chapter 17: All men are inherently evil and fear is maintained by the dread of punishment which never abandons you.

  3. I don't know. DC must be tough to disrupt, but Trump isn't some two bit real estate guy. He's played in the toughest arenas for the highest stakes. He's dealt with corrupt politicians, vicious rivals, mobsters, and the slimy tabloids before. I think he is more Tao Te Ching than The Prince. Trump is a great counter puncher. Use your enemy's force against them. When your powerful opponent advances is when he is most vulnerable. Timing is everything.

    1. Yeah, right. Trump has a counter punch to a special prosecutor.

  4. Trump big problem is that:
    1-he's got a whole bunch of new toys, weapons, that he wants to play with.
    2-He flip-flops.

    You can't trust him.

    Also, the guy has the soul of a businessman, so whatever he thinks is good for business, goes. Like the $100B arms sale to a volatile, psycho country like Saudi Arabia.