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US politics

Trump is a pound-shop mafia don

Two of a kind? Trump and Tony Soprano

The congressional hearings into the January 6 rioting in Washington took a “sensational” turn this week, says Laura Miller in Slate. We learnt that President Trump angrily flung his dinner against the wall when he heard that his attorney general didn’t think the election had been stolen; tried to “physically wrest the steering wheel” of the presidential limo from a Secret Service agent so he could join his followers at the Capitol; and ordered armed rioters who had been barred from his rally to be let in “so that the crowd would look bigger”. Also unveiled were messages sent by Trump stooges to those testifying at the panel, telling them that an “unnamed man” knew how “loyal” they were, and reminding them of all the “fine opportunities” awaiting them if they played their cards right.

Trump has always thought of himself as a mafia don. Witnesses are there to be intimidated. Total loyalty is demanded from acolytes. He’s “unprincipled, immoral, and completely indifferent to the rule of law”. The thing is, he’s not very good at being a mob boss. He hasn’t rewarded any of his followers for their loyalty – none of those who asked for pardons over January 6 actually got one – so many of them are now testifying against him. And whereas actual mob bosses have to be good at their jobs to stay on top, Trump is, as his own secretary of state once said, a “moron”. Sorry Donald. You’re “no Vito Corleone”. In fact, you’re “not even Tony Soprano”.