Who paved Trump's road to Oz?
Who officiated the marriage of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, or did they elope on their own?
Erick Erickson has been taking a lot of flack for suggesting Donald Trump’s staff is responsible for his truly baffling endorsement of Dr. Mehmet Oz for the GOP in Pennsylvania’s Senate race.
I mean nobody is happy with it; Laura Ingraham even broke stride with her Fox News
spirit animal colleague Sean Hannity, calling the endorsement a “mistake.” Yesterday I noted how the GOP is going with the “lol” candidates this cycle, but Oz is in a much higher orbit of nuts.
Back to Erick. Charlie Sykes nailed him as one more shill deflecting blame from Trump. Sykes concluded “Bold efforts, gentlemen, but the reality is that Trump’s embrace of Oz is very much on brand. One former television huckster reaching out to another — an alliance of ambitious charlatans.” (His emphasis.)
Why would Erick blame a staffer named “Susie Wiles” for Trump’s walk down the Yellow Brick Road to Oz?
One reason is that people trust Erick and tell him things that they wouldn’t tell other people who have a different agenda. I’ve known Erick for a number of years. He’s a friend, and I wrote for him at The Resurgent for four years. The one thing you should know about Erick is that he has never lied to me, and has never allowed anyone in his circle to spread false rumors. If someone told him Susie Wiles was involved in Trump’s Oz endorsement, it would take some confirmation before Erick would report it or tweet it.
Even Mo Brooks, the Alabama Senate candidate who Trump “un-endorsed” (or is it “dis-endorsed”?), says this was a staff decision engineered by the GOP.
Oh, and in case you, as a conservative, don’t know much about Dr. Mehmet Oz, besides the fact that a TV celebrity doctor (he is, indeed a serious, gifted surgeon with a giant god complex) has zero qualifications to serve in the U.S. Senate (he can join Herschel Walker in the “don’t you know who I am?” caucus), Oz is also not a conservative. He’s not even a particularly nice person.
Rolling Stone’s headline blared “Fraud Endorses Quack.” It’s a good headline to get you to click, but Dr. Mehmet Oz is not a quack. It might be better to say “Pill Huckster Reaches Scum Nirvana” Oz does save lives, but he’s most interested in building his own brand, one sucker at a time. It’s also true that Trump’s golf clubs have nicely manicured courses and decent rooms, if you like faux rococo and Walmart steaks sold at the price of Waygu beef. Both men would rip you off without a second thought. But politically, a marriage of dirty rotten scoundrels doesn’t make it good for MAGA.
MAGAite Kurt Schlichter, who would gladly bury a body for Trump, couldn’t stomach it.
But who is this Susie Wiles and how could she somehow influence the untamable Trump? Erickson explains.
It’s a valid question. “What if?” I don’t blame Erick for asking, because he’s the guy whose phone is buzzing all night. From mid-2015 through the 2016 election, Erick opposed Trump, contributing to the seminal anthology “Against Trump” published in an issue of National Review. I was there the night Erick disinvited Trump from the 2015 RedState Gathering in Atlanta. Trump was going to speak at the after-party, where he didn’t have to take questions on stage, but his performance during the debate, and his unapologetic, disrespectful and disgusting treatment of Megyn Kelly changed Erick’s mind.
After Trump won the 2016 election, Erick softened, mainly because he knew many of the Trump insiders who tried to contain the former guy’s worst instincts. As president, Trump could have done a lot of damage. As it was, Trump did himself in, and made the COVID-19 crisis worse than it could have been, while supporting measures that made it much better than it could have been. This is typical of the Trump conundrum (tragedy). He built his own battleships and then torpedoed them with his own mouth.
Now, the GOP is still enslaved to Trump, who finally broke his shackles and permanently activated “goblin mode” (kudos to Meme Lord Elon Musk for cluing me in to that wonderful term). The Racket News’ own Susan Bagwell offered a sober response to Erick’s question.
Does Trump listen to anyone? I think he does to some extent. Even knowing that Erick opposed him, sometimes as president, Trump would reach out to Erick’s cellphone. There was an odd kind of respect going on, along with probably plenty of buttering up in the fact that POTUS thought to make a call. Or maybe Trump was bored.
In the case of Oz, the endorsement isn’t helping the GOP. Erick doesn’t think Oz will win, and I’m glad if he doesn’t, honestly.
But there’s the rub. If Oz loses, Trump’s protectors will say that it was some staffer, because the Orange Oracle cannot be wrong. But so they also say about Joe Biden, or Barack Obama, or George W. Bush, etc. etc.
I think the truth is that Trump paved his own road to Oz. I can’t pretend to be able to penetrate the bat cave between Number 45’s ears, but I do believe his logic is to endorse someone who can’t take any glory for themselves, someone so transparently shallow and vain that they would gladly accept the endorsement of a man who might find himself in the dock facing conspiracy charges. Dr. Oz is all about branding, and so it Trump. They belong together.
Why a staffer would recommend this kind of stupid is beyond me. Maybe Susie Wiles did make a few calls and coordinate things. Maybe she did present the idea to Trump. But he’s the guy who liked the idea and went with it. We’re talking about a man whose Chief of Staff in the White House had to police the Oval Office so that random aides didn’t leave hare-brained ideas and clippings from InfoWars on the Resolute Desk only for Trump to say them publicly. I’d believe practically anything, but I have a lot of trouble believing “they played him.”
Getting into prescriptive mode here: the best medicine to get rid of Trump’s influence is to have him shooting like a cannon firing turds while spinning on a merry-go-round. Eventually everything will be covered in manure and nobody will want to play anymore.
I haven’t asked him, but I don’t think Erick is interested in shilling for Trump. I do believe he gets a lot of bits of information as to how things are decided in Mar-a-Lago. Just because that information might paint the same color as those who have an actual agenda to shill for Trump, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should blame the messenger for saying it.
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I remember Erick's occasional lapses into pragmatism where Trump was concerned. From the reaction of many Resurgent commenters, you would have thought he was endorsing Satan. Some of the comments were so vicious I suspected they were coming from Susan using a false ID.
Good analysis. I do have one note about Susie Wiles. She was Trump's pick to run DeSantis' campaign at the end and, after he was elected, one of the first to be ejected as he formed his cabinet/administrative offices. There was a bit of controversy over her ousting at the time.