If political commentator Dick Morris was advising President Trump, he’d have one major thing to say to him right now: Find your balls — and fast.
Also: Be wary of the “deep state” — which means the establishment enclaves of his administration such as National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and Chief of Staff John Kelly — and keep bashing the media.
Morris, a former pollster and campaign consultant, and his wife, Eileen McGann, have a new book out: ROGUE SPOOKS: The Intelligence War On Donald Trump. Which is why he’s giving interviews.
In my case, we spoke on the phone for about 28 minutes Tuesday.
“OK, thank you, I’ve got to go,” he said, leaving me with a half page of questions I hadn’t asked.
“Wait!” I pleaded as he was about to hang up. “I have more questions.”
“OK, he replied, three more minutes.”
Shit. THREE MORE MINUTES.
So how does Morris think Trump did during his nationally televised speech about Afghanistan Monday night?
He made no mention about how the speech nearly destroyed ABC’s “Bachelor in Paradise.” Thankfully the ABC affiliate, which busted in with George Stephanopoulos, resumed before the final rose ceremony.
“Well, I believe that (just one minute…just hang on),” Morris says five seconds into the interview.
He fairly quickly gets back on the horn to say this: “I think the deep state is taking over the Trump presidency. By that I mean the permanent government, the establishment in coalition with the media.”
Did Trump do well? “I can’t say good or bad,” says Morris. “It was the speech of a hostage. He was the hostage. The deep state wanted that speech. They did not want a military commitment – [they wanted] to do what they always do – to muddle through.”
In other words, McMaster is the establishment and Trump is caving to it.
“This was the second time that Trump has been maneuvered by McMaster and others and reversing his campaign pledge,” Morris says. “The first was on July 17, when he said that Iran was complying with the nuclear deal. On the campaign trail he said it was the worst. I think that that is part of a broad retreat by the President. I think he is increasingly ceding power to the deep state. And I think that was a speech where he punted. I think he needed to change the subject from Charlottesville.”
Morris explained that networks will not give a president primetime unless the subject matter concerns a war. He said when he was working as aide to former President Bill Clinton he tried to get him airtime for speech for the balanced budget. Then-White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said he couldn’t get it.
The author is adamant that Trump is on a dangerous path unless he makes a course adjustment.
He say says last night’s speech “represents an increasing surrender of Trump of his powers.”
Will the base notice? Morris says yes. He predicts a short term boost in the polls but in the long run? Trump is on “a course of disaster” unless he moves away from the deep state and keeps bashing the press.
Morris’s book is a handbook of defense for Trump.
Has the President contacted him about the book? “No,” he says. “That’s what this interview is for.”
More advice for Trump: “I think the goal is to oust or neuter Donald Trump. Killing the Obamacare bill was another step in that.”
Morris squarely blames Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for ruining Trump’s chance to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act.
“McCain is the same guy who brought the dossier to light,” he says, referring to a subject that dominates his book. He clearly stands for the deep state opposing Donald Trump…Fundamentally he is to blame. I think that McCain’s role in this deep state coup is well-known. He was the guy who brought the dossier to [ex-FBI Director James] Comey.”
Comey is such an onerous figure in Morris’ book that he might as well have horns. The author obviously loathes him with a passion only understood by a figure who has lived and breathed in the thorny depths of the Washington swamp.
“There is little doubt that Comey has an exalted alf-image,” Morris writes. “Does he think he is the last good man on earth? Sometimes it looks like that. Others in Washington may wallow in half-truths, evasions, and corruption, but sometimes it seems that Comey believes he stands like a beacon above them all, a model of honesty and integrity. Is he really that, or is he a headline hunter?”
“Comey seems addicted to the limelight. His career has been a parade of revolving headlines, always with Comey center stage, accompanied by an adrenaline rush from the publicity and the controversy. To the outside observer, he looks like he’s suffering from an inside-the-Beltway stain of attention deficit disorder (ADD) — when he doesn’t get enough attention, he becomes disordered.”
He adds, “Don’t get between Comey and a camera.”
Here is Morris’ free advice for Trump: “I think he should appoint his own special prosecutor. Have [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions appoint special prosecutor to investigate Special Prosecutor’s Robert Mueller‘s leaks. He can have Sessions appoint anybody he wants.”
Wouldn’t that make Washington go ballistic? “Yeah, sure….but thank goodness it would,” Morris replies. “Those leaks are illegal. Almost everyday there is a leak from Mueller’s office, which is illegal. That investigation should include Comey’s leaking conversations with the President and the conversation between [former Attorney General] Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton on the tarmac.”
Morris pointedly adds, “I do not think he should fire Mueller. He should hobble him.”
The author speaks glowingly about Trump’s recently ousted Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who has returned to Breitbart News and is already using his media “weapon” against the President.
“I think he was the creative and original force behind the Trump agenda,” Morris says. “Poetry is about the grease and politics is about the grievance. …I think he’s responsible for what I regard as the astonishing success of Donald Trump.”
At multiple junctures of our phone interview, Morris wants to know if I have his book and if I know what it contains. “I have it right here,” I assure him. He reads me a passage from the introduction in with HBO Homeland character Saul Berenson, the CIA Director, is speaking to the President-elect Elizabeth Keane. I patiently follow along until I can ask my next question.
“You’re missing it right now. It’s happening in front of your faces. We have a disinformation campaign designed to discredit the president-elect and as of today we have boots on the ground like the protesters I had to wade through to get here. Does that sound familiar to any of you? Because it does to me. It’s what we did in Nicaragua, Chile, Congo, a dozen other places. All the way back to Iran in the ’50s. And it does not end well for the elected regime. You’re fighting for your lives here, do you get that? Can’t afford to stay silent.”
I tell him I’m sure Trump would enjoy the last line of his book.
Which is this: “He is a very good president. Let’s fight to keep in the White House.”
Morris still agrees with that.
“If I were writing today, I’d write ‘we fought hard to get him elected, we’re going to fight hard to keep him in office and make sure he doesn’t change.'”
The next to the last graph details all of Trump’s accomplishments since he was sworn into office.
“Donald Trump has delivered on his campaign promises to us,” he writes. “The economy is gaining real momentum. Illegal border crossings are way down and arrests of undocumented workers are way up.” …Another Republican conservative now sits on the Supreme Court.”
Morris is no dummy. He slips in mentions of the book any chance he gets. Which is pretty much in every breath he takes, and in each answer he gives.
“One of the things in the book,” he says, going on to explain that the CIA is “capable of overthrowing the government. Create a phony scandal. It limits the maneuverability of the President..creates the image of chaos.”
Is the media fake news? “Yes, but I think mainly that the media is a player in this coup,” he says. “The media wants Trump out and is willing to do anything it has to do to do that.”
Are there any news outlets who are doing it right?
Morris takes a moment to compliment The Daily Caller. Why should I stop him?
“I think there are certainly ….yours is one of them, Free Beacon, Examiner, I think the bloggers have a very good ability to get it right,” he says. “These days to get it right you have to read everybody and take the average and read between the lines like you used to have to do with Pravda.”
What does Morris think of Trump’s treatment of the media? “Of course its deserved,” he says. “I think Trump is very good for making the media the issue. I think it’s a very good move. I’m concerned that he might be intimidated and back off that.”
Now it’s time for a rapid-fire round of predictions.
Will Trump be impeached? “It depends,” he says. “He has two ways to avoid it: one way is to do what I’m suggesting, fight fire with fire. The other is to be a puppet of the deep state.”
Will Trump be reelected in 20/20: “That’s conditional,” he says.
Will Speaker Paul Ryan remain speaker? “All of this is hard to predict. This could either be a great year for the Republcians or a horrible one.”
Will anyone in Trump’s administration go to prison? “Well, there certainly could be fabricated grounds for it,” he says. …It’s entirely possible that he’ll [Mueller] have crimes related to what is going on but not related to Russia.”
Morris is hopeful that Trump will return to his old and what he believes is his truest self.
“We’ll see who shows up in Phoenix,” he says, which is where Trump is scheduled to speak at a rally Tuesday night.
And with that, he’s gone.