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Hi, folks, it's Rick Wilson and welcome to The Daily Beast, the new abnormal. Hi, I'm Molly John Fast, a left wing pundit and editor at large at The Daily Beast.


I'm also an editor at The Daily Beast, a former Republican political strategist, best selling author and full time troublemaker. We're here to have fun, sharp conversations with some of the smartest people in media, politics, business and science that help make what's happening in the country and the world clearer.


I'll try to keep Rick to the minimum number of F bombs and try to keep our kids, pets and other wildlife sounds from invading our respective bunkers. High voltage and fast high requestion. Happy birthday. Thank you so much. How was your weekend? Weekend was good. Mine was too. I got to go drill holes in the sky and fly on this weekend. Oh, good. That's good.


Meanwhile, Kuhnen COO and on the COO that won't quit the COO. That won't quit the COO. That won't stop. It's like this. Things Donald Trump had in the 70s that required extensive amounts of exotic antibiotics just can't he just can't quit the whole idea that he's going to overthrow the will of the American people. The democratically elected president would like to not be democratically elected. He would just like to stay in power like an asshole.


I think of him as like a sort of Kim Jong un without the good hair. Yeah.


I mean, look, I think if you put Donald Trump in one of those boiler suits, dyed it black, he could look like Kim Jong slick dissipated as the older brother.


He needs the bowl cut as a problem. Take the idea of him with a bowl cut, though. I could.


I mean, you know, it's all unplanted week anyway, so who cares what shape it is, right?


It's snaps on or goes down or whatever, whatever magnetic strips they use underneath the skin to hold that in place.


I think. Oh, I don't know what the barfing Santorum, but it was nice. The question is, will Trump be able to steal democracy or is it too late?


Look, the thing about these people is they're kind of like rats. And if a rat wants to get into something, that rat will chew and chew and chew. If it wears and breaks its own teeth, it'll keep chewing through that one area where it thinks is the softest spot in the middle to try to get at the grain. These people are political vermin of the worst order at this point and they are trying to steal a second term is at the end of the day, I still have an abundant faith in the American people that it won't work.


But the fact that we're still having to fight this thing down is so disappointing and so disheartening. And I have to say, look, I don't blame Donald Trump, OK? Donald Trump is an amoral Shipperd scumbag of the of of historic proportions. I blame the people around him and I blame the people who and in the Senate in particular, who could have a very immediate loud voice and clear impact on this.


Feels like you're saying, Mitch. I'm not really saying Mitch. I you know, I'm at the point of like, no, give a fuck about Mitch is always going to do the most immoral thing possible. But this set of tweets that Carl Bernstein put out show favorite Carl Bernstein, whom we love, put out that said, hey, you know, it's Thune and Burr and Rubio and and Collins and Portman and Tim Scott. And we go through this list of about 30 or what, about 20 Republican senators, all of whom, quote, privately despise him, complaining about what he's doing.


And with very, very few exceptions, Mitt Romney is one of the few exceptions. Not one of them has come out. Portman a little bit, though, it wasn't it wasn't exact. Portman wasn't exactly like burning the barn down.


And Ben Sasse, I mean, I'm not saying I like your your boyfriend, Ben Sasse. I hate Ben Sasse. You have no idea.


But there's a group of people who could end this bullshit and they could stop the damage. They could end what they can in the damage this is doing to our country. They can in defense right this minute today, right now, if 20 of them or ten of them or even five of them went out, did a press conference and said, Mr. President, it's time to go. Yeah, you lost. It's over. You are hurting our country.


You're breaking our democracy. You must cease these actions at once. It is over. And unfortunately, not one of them has the stones to go out and do it in a real clear, crisp way. And part of that is the very obvious explanation. The bunch of them want to be president and they know that the major base of Trump ism is not going away. It's going to be there. The percentage of the Republican base vote in twenty, twenty four for the presidential election is going to be high enough where they can't afford to have to have, you know, Agent Orange on the sidelines tweeting at them in twenty twenty four, said Rubio was never loyal.


To me, I didn't like the way Cotton behaved. What happens when he's going to be out there sniping away at these guys for a long damn time and it's just no good. It's just no damn good at all. And they're paranoid and freaked out, as they should be on the one hand. But the only way you get away from that fear in the end is to burn the bridge down is to be strong and to say, not me, not anymore, I'm done, but they won't because they do not have the moral courage that God gave the common slime mold.


And so we're going to be here for for the indefinite future, the next 60 odd days of Donald Trump trying to play games. You're going to hear a lot, folks, in the next few days about the 12th Amendment, about throwing the election results into the House of Representatives through a long and complicated story from 2016. I have actually somewhat of a scholar of this particular amendment and something of of a painfully educated expert on the subject. It is a very, very, very hard lift.


But you never want to let it get there. But that's one of the that's one of the Alamo. Things that the Trump people are doing right now is they're trying to say, oh, well, we'll get into the house because no one got to 70 and therefore it has to go to the house.


That's never happened. And it's bullshit. It's never happening. But you're going to hear a lot about it because as you may have noticed, and I'm not sure if you picked up on this, much like the Trump audience, the true believers, the many millions of them, they're not always persuaded by what's the word I'm looking for facts, reality, the law, the Constitution, and also facts. So you're just going to hear a lot about that.


I'm trying to give people a heads up. You're going to hear a lot of that shit in the next couple of weeks. It's going to be kind of louder and louder. So be ready.


You still think, even though it's going to be I mean, remember Georgia certified on Friday and Michigan is certifying today that we'll still be going on?


You think you and I both know it's over, but the crazy lawyer team around Trump, which is only slightly less crazy now that Sidney Powell is gone, they're going to keep up the scare as long as they can and try to make this thing run for a couple more weeks. They would love to get us past what they call the safe harbor dates for the electors. The Safe Harbor date is December the 8th. For most states, that is the date where the Electoral College certifications must be passed on to the electors in the states.


If those electors don't get those results by that date, we enter a window from the 8th to the 14th where these state legislatures in some states, including Michigan, if they did, it, could go back and look again and submit a different slate of electors. And if the Republican controlled government in Michigan got its way, they would select an all trunk's slate. Now, look, that is not going to happen if we keep our fingers on the on the pulse here.


But the fact that it is even being discussed is not an apparent affront to our democracy.


It just is kind of nuts that we're even here. But you met with two Michigan lawmakers and about trying to get them to change the election results for them and throw out. I mean, the thing that's scary about all this is like it's a coup, but it's a stupid coup. But the problem is it sets up for a real coup next time.


The problem was and I'm going to get in so much trouble, but here we go. Hitless first coup didn't work out either because it was a stupid, clownish bubble fuck operation.


And this is why Trump ism as a movement is so pernicious. My big concern here is that is that the next coup will be engineered by a Tom Cotton. Yeah, OK. Or the next true coup will be engineered by a Josh Hawley or a Ted Cruz. And while these people all have their limitations, none of them are as stupid as Trump, nor are they surrounded by a bunch of buffoonish dimwits like Donald Trump's legal and professional political team. Right.


So, Molly, speaking of various dimwits in the Trump orbit, there's one thing, one mythical monster, one leviathan of the deep that was promised to us in the last few days, the crankin, if you will.


I tried to channel like a Scottish fisherman on that one for you. Great game. It's coming off from a deep sea. Let the record state that riposted is trying to say cracken. Right.


Can I make my Scottish. No, I can't. No, you can't. You don't even know what it was. They wouldn't let me do it.


Let me tell you a secret. If you have to ask if you think you might not be able to, then you should not write.


Like if it's even a. Question, then the how about if I just tell you the punchline, not the joke now, OK, there is a lot of. You just need that you should just just be just beep the whole thing out, OK? Please. Please. OK. OK, back to back to back to the most boring woman on earth that somehow has turned into a monster.


I think I had you explain this last last week, too. But what the fuck is wrong with her?


You know, that's a whole six hour episode is a very special edition of The New Abnormal.


I get that if you are the lawyer for Michael Flynn, you have to be pretty wacky. But it seems to me that she is, one might say, wackier than the norm.


I think the phrase you're looking for is batshit because she lives in a world of of phenomenally complex, baroque, lurid conspiracy theories that have zero bearing on even the most tangential aspects of what really happened in the election. And when she's out there ranting like there were secret servers in Germany and Spain and Iceland and I get them, what what are you even talking about?


My favorite part of that was she's like, these servers are everywhere around the world. Well, so one of the vote counting companies uses Amazon cloud services. Right. Which has services all over the world. Right. So the cloud services companies automatically distribute loads all over the world. There's nothing going on. There's there's no, like, human programming these things overseas. They're just using the Amazon cloud as it gets used every day for a jillion other purposes so that that's one of her conspiracy's in this whole programming thing.


Then time traveling. Hugo Chavez.


Yeah, Hugo Chavez. That was pretty great.


She's just a complete whack a doodle. And, you know, in America, we're told to be sensitive to people who have, you know, issues. Cydney Powell needs help. She needs she needs a legitimate I mean, I'm not being facetious right now. That woman is is suffering from legitimate delusions. Right.


How bad must it be for Giuliani, the law firm of Giuliani, Giuliani known associates. Right.


They keep on Giuliani. But I mean, Giuliani sounds just as wacky as she does.


Well, here's the thing. Rudy is playing the role and she actually believes this garbage right. Again, in this in this culture, we're always trying to be so sensitive to people who believe strange things like, you know, flat earth may have a point. No, no, they don't. They don't have a point. No, no, they don't write. These are not things where you have there's no both sides argument to the idea that Joe Biden has engineered a gigantic electoral fraud throughout the country involving tens of thousands of poll workers involving major audited software companies.


You know. Look, I love Joe Biden. I'm glad he's going to be our president. But anybody who thinks that Joe Biden and the and the Biden campaign could organize a national voter fraud conspiracy.


Yes. To get their heads examined, conspiracies are hard.


This concept from from Trump World that is so top of mind for them right now is very simple. The base of Trump will always believe by design that they were cheated. Donald Trump got robbed and that Sydney Powell was a hero. And she was always right. And oh, my God, how do we ever allow these George Soros to run voting machines to be, you know, yada, yada, yada? What I think is a truly dangerous and hideous problem with that belief set is that it does, by design, undermine the confidence of the American people in the election and justify going forward a set of behaviours that are going to be very harmful to this country because Republicans will say, well, the election was illegitimate, therefore, fuck you, Joe Biden, and they will say we can take any actions we choose.


We can then do anything we want. Any opposition is legitimate, justified and appropriate. And so this is a very ugly spot. And in part, the coup already had a success on the social basis of convincing Republicans that nothing is real and that everything, everything that happens now going forward is the fruit of the poisonous political tree.


It is tragic, right? Rick Wilson. Yes. What are you seeing in Georgia? Talk to me about Georgia, the state that will control the Senate.


Georgia is the state that will control the Senate. There is a rising tide of of very angry Magga folks who believe that Donald Trump was denied the election and that everyone in Georgia, from Raffensperger to the governor to Loffler and Perdue, are not fighting hard enough for Donald Trump. They are saying that they should boycott the primary. And I completely. A great Republican voters should boycott the primary. I strongly support this outcome, and I believe it would be the best way to show America and the Liotard media how angry they are because because they'll show those commercials once and for all by staying home on Election Day.


It's the best way to.


How do you think Lenswood got to this complicated decisions? That makes no sense to tell people to boycott the one of the most important elections that's going to happen.


I don't have any direct knowledge of how this happened, but I'm going to speculate. It involves a steady diet of lead paint chips, deliberate head trauma and drinking cheap vodka out of plastic jugs. Delicious.




Now, let Lynwood is not the sharpest tool in the drawer quite objectively. Tell me more. He is also on the Muga Grif train where he is going to try to raise money off of his stalwart defense of Donald Trump and yadda, yadda.


He did raise money for Kyle Rittenhouse. Two million dollars in bail. Yes. And I want you to keep your your eyes on this name for the future. His name is Anthony Sabattini. He's a member of the Florida House of Representatives. Anthony Sabattini makes Matt Gaits look like, I don't know, Alan Watts. He is a hyperactive, œuvre ultra super Margol Looney Tune who tweeted yesterday, Kyle Rittenhouse for Congress.


Oh, Jesus. You know, Lin Wood is he's now one of these parts of the sort of the MCG lawyer carnival freak show observes Lobster.


The Lilit would he'll be wrestling with Snake Lady Sydney Power. And can you imagine the amazing Rudy on a bed of nails? What will leak out now?


I stabbed her, Don is a New York Times reporter covering Congress. Thank you so much for coming on here. No, thank you for having me. I appreciate it. I have been dying to have you for like a million years. But you did two of the most important pieces about the new Congress. I feel like they sort of like of this season. And so I'd love to like if we can start by talking about that. Are you in Atlanta?


I just left Atlanta. I am back in New York City.


Oh, my God. How is Atlanta? I mean, it's good.


I mean, I think it's really going to kick up after the holiday. I think that's where most of the groups are going to start there, like big investment. But I mean, I think it's a pretty clear recognition from all sides that, like, this will be the Senate battle. I think we can expect just like crazy amounts of attention, people on the ground and obviously money. It's going to be like the most expensive two months in political history.


But no, I mean, it's a great city, so always an easy place for me to go to.


I just want to go back to Atlanta for one more second, because it is so interesting when you see that those two races, they seem like even though they're happening simultaneously, they seem like very different races to me.


Yeah, I mean, the tone of it is different. I mean, even when they're doing their joint rallies, they talk specifically about Warnecke and they build Lefler up as like the final speaker and new like is kind of floating above rosoff. Like think that he doesn't need to engage. He doesn't need to debate in that, like, he'll be fine. I think that's just because he has a longer and more established brand in the state that he didn't come out of this like knife fight with Doug Collins.


And I think they think of us as kind of a lightweight. And so you're right that like, they are running different styles. We also expect there to be like that big of a split, like the Democrats will win both or lose both.


Yeah, no, that definitely historically, that has always been the case. But just like it strikes me, we had we had more knock on the pod and I really thought he was amazing and was very taken with him.


I think that Mallock is definitely someone who seems kind of quintessential Georgia and like who's who's watching would say a lot for like kind of the different rise of political power there. I mean, not only is obviously the church historic, but just like the embrace of a more progressive voice, I think would be a historic one. And obviously he'd be the first black person elected the senator from there, too. So, I mean, definitely think that, like, there is interest in energy around him and he's been able to run like a positive campaign, considering he did not have to do the kind of fighting on the jungle primary side.


But I mean, it's still Georgia and it's still a runoff. And so I think the thought is like they are still underdog. Yeah.


So you wrote these two very amazing pieces that I'm quite obsessed with. And first, you interviewed AOC and you just got her to say everything, right? I mean, I feel like sometimes you get people to say stuff and sometimes they don't tell you stuff. And I thought it was like an amazing piece. And then you interviewed pretty much like the opposite of Heisei in some ways. Can you talk to me a little bit about how that came about?


And you've sort of seen all the parts of the Democratic Party, what you think is going on there?


Yeah, I mean, it's it's funny because I think it's a lot more organic than people thought. You know, it's not like we you know, it was literally I was assigned to write a kind of what comes next for Democrats story whenever we knew Biden won. Right.


The thing is that lasted for so they didn't write for so long that, like, I had like a couple of extra days with this story done.


And I literally thought, oh, let's see if AOC has available to those kind of functions kind of informally. I just like hit her up, see God soon. And then she was clearly wanting to go. And that part of that was because of that house call that it happened right before, which we had seen kind of and we had heard the Bamberger's and the more moderate I really became that blamed the left for the losses. Yeah. And I think that she was like trying to hit back and that kind of voice to say this is how we view the races.


We don't see this as a repudiation and kind of like letting the Democratic Party know that they're not going to just take the blame for this stuff, you know, sitting down. And so I think that after that happened, though, of course, we're hearing from a lot of people about what she said. You know, she mentioned lam on the record by now about what he was spending and that. But that type of specificity when they reached out and said, hey, we want to we want to say how we feel also, you know, thinking.


Sure. You know, ends up becoming a kind of starting point for the reasons that we all know exist within the party. But, you know, I also think the ways in which they're similar was notable to me, the ways in which they both saw Trump's surge and white rural areas as a big problem for the party, the way that they both. We see the party's older leadership as a problem. And so they're identifying similar things, even if they come to big different conclusions.


And I think that that is kind of what, you know, President Biden is going to have to wrestle with.


Rick and I always have this fight because it's very easy to say that socialism is the problem, but really, they are not. No one is even talking about socialism, right? They're talking about different. I mean, they're really talking about bad messaging, about policy. Yeah.


And so that's the thing. It's like the socialism is the Republican side of that attack, which can be potent. Right. Right. I don't know exactly how you defensive crouch your way out of that, you know. And so I think that what you're hearing from a left is a kind of exiting the party to embrace the kind of affirmative and offensive side of these things that they're pushing to say, hey, you know, what they're calling socialism is a good thing for you and your family and the like.


I think at the same time, particularly when we talk about issues like race which come up in here, it's not necessarily socialism when people are talking about the scare tactics of defund the police and the like, but just the kind of isms in general, the kind of a rising tide of multiculturalism and the like and kind of what Biden represents. And so the thing is that that's not something that you can policy finagle your way out of. People are scared about the type of voters who are electing you.


You know, that's something you're going to have to deal with directly.


So interesting. I mean, this Congress is going to be really like it's very smart. I mean, it's a majority, but it's a smaller majority. Nancy Pelosi is a complicated figure. Like what do you how do you see this even possibly working? And like Mitch McConnell has been such an obstructionist, like, do you see good stuff or bad stuff which you're thinking here?


I think it's really hard to know. I mean, so much depends on whether if Democrats can win Georgia, then so but possibilities are expanded of what they can think about and dream about if they can't. Right. And we are talking about Mitch McConnell led Senate, not just drastically collapses the ideas of what Congress can do here. So you would need a Biden administration that's really creative. You know, in some ways, kind of like Trump was to use the executive power and to use kind of administrative branches to execute big policy changes without Congress.


But if it is a united front, I think that that's going to allow kind of all sides to have a bigger say than than than what we've seen and know. Biden himself, for all the talk of a moderate, he's done his you know, he's tried to act like the FDR model and he's tried to talk about build back better and and all of those things he hasn't just said kind of return to normal and will fundamentally change like he did in the primary.


He's tried to get away from it. And so the question is somewhat on that administration. It's how big of a scope are they going to take? How real is is their commitment to those things?


And so if it is the primary version of Joe Biden and it was about removal of Donald Trump and the return to normal, then you don't need the eyes of the world. Right. But if this is about kind of an expansive reclaiming of kind of big ideas and he thinks that he could become a kind of transitional figure for a far bigger thinking Democratic Party, then that's going to have to include some of the progressive. Oh, yeah, we just don't know the extent that they're ready to do that.


It's interesting because like Corey Bush and we had Jamal Bowman on, there are a lot of young, very exciting, I think, Congress people coming to Congress that are more in the shape of AOC. And I'm curious to know how you think that Democratic Party can more seamlessly. I mean, it's a big tent party. The job is just to be able to listen to represent all of its members.


Right. And so that's the thing is, you know, who is prioritized amongst the tent? And so I think that there is a group who, after helping Biden win, who are expecting to see to get some wins. And I think that, you know, that's from all sides of the party. And so it can't just be I think, you know, we have to prioritize moderates because those are the districts in which we have a House majority.


I think that's what equation there of people who will be looking here. But there's other places where I think that progressives will be looking to be heard and not even just that. We're talking about black voters. We're talking about Latino voters across the spectrum. I mean, I think there will be communities that supported Biden in ways that will be saying, hey, we didn't do that just to get Trump out of office, but we want you to give us something back for that.


You know, there's been some explanation of like, you know, oh, South Carolina delivered Joe Biden in the primary, which is how you lead up to a Kamala Harris. And that's one piece of the importance of representation. But I also think that folks are looking for a real agenda. To come from that White House, you know, the purpose of that representation is that it leads to different actions from from the administration. And so I think that that people are going to expect that.


And it's up to the Biden administration to balance that, because as I said in that interview, if you don't going back to those groups to ask them again for their vote in the midterm or in the next cycle is going to be that much more difficult, right?


I mean, not that is the big question. I also my personal obsession is like the indigenous people who have really shown up for Biden.


Yeah, yeah. That was a big part of what we saw in Arizona. That was a big part of increases in Minnesota. I mean, I think that that's you know, you can't say one group, you know. No, no. Except for one place. It's all of these places, particularly in the state.


Yeah. I'm curious if you think that Biden will be able to really I mean, it does seem to me that he is very earnest guy and that his intentions are good. What would it even look like to do that to do? Want to deliver for these, like, for example, like in the Navajo Nation or Georgia, where like places where these groups have come out for him? How would he deliver for them?


I think it depends on the community. And I think that folks are first off looking to be heard and kind of have a leg in to the administration. So even right now, when we're thinking about transitions and appointments, I think people are looking for, you know, what the racial and ethnic diversity will be like. But I think also folks are looking for people who are persuadable on these issues right now, not necessarily that it needs to be the cabinet of their dreams, but that it needs to be people who not only have expertise, but have shown themselves willing to listen to a grass roots.


And so I think that when we think about the way the next four years are going to go, it's not necessarily from where Biden starts, but where he finishes. And if he is open to getting pressured by some communities that are planning to do that work. And so I think that's a little early to say exactly what folks want and exactly what those pressure points will be. But I think it will become clear when those first crises. But whether we're dealing with an administration that's going to say, hey, we're not Trump and we're your better options, or one that's going to be able to kind of think ahead and be responsive to what I think is going to be an engaged Democratic base.


It'll be so interesting to me, and it's just a fascinating topic. Were you surprised by anything that Conor Lamb said? Because we had him on the pot and I was I found him interesting. You know, if he is so radically different, you know, I was surprised if that makes any sense. Yeah.


I mean, to win in these places, you know, you have to win Republicans and you have to create. And that's just the reality of how these maps are drawn and the places in which Democrats have to gain back power.


And and so I think that that does lead to a huge diversity of ideology and just types among Democrats, I guess. I think that where I think he makes his best points is just when it's being, like, purely political, it's saying, hey, like, you know, I'm with you on the morals or I'm with you kind of on the larger arc. But what you have to just wrestle with is that you need me for a majority and B, to have we have space, the kind of politically operate and how I win there.


And so that could be a tough thing because how much is the party deferring to these people in these district? But the kind of the world are the difference between, you know, a speaker Paul Ryan and a Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which made a big difference in the last. So I think that those kind of like what seems like cynical political points are true ones. I think the party is going to have to acknowledge, like is the bargain we're making one that is necessary and has worked out.


So let's just lock in said recently that there should be more Midwestern errors in the leadership. What do you think about that? I was thinking about it because I was like, that's dumb. And then I was like, wait a second, that's brilliant. So I'm just curious to know what your take on that is.


I mean, I think that there should be more of a lot of things you can go down the line, like the fact that they're all three of them are 80. And, you know, that's probably not the time. And so the thing about it is, should there be more Midwesterners in leadership? Maybe. Does the party and does the kind of caucus cater itself to a very Midwestern like type? You know, are those folks prioritized often by Democrats?




Imagine a presidential campaign like more about the Midwest as well as the Midwest. And I don't think we complain too much about not getting enough political attention.


But the leadership of the Democratic Party is not regionally, ideologically or or age or racially diverse. So, like, right to that point, everybody's got a point. Yeah.


I'm so interested to see what happens with this Congress because there is so much talent. It's funny to me. Like the people that that the right wing media pick on are like these incredibly talented politicians and young people, and then they're sort of people that the Democrats are horrified by in the Republican Congress are like literally terrifying people.


You know, I mean, the thing about it is like at some point these circles have to square. You know, it's not just the bushes and the axes of the world coming from the left. You know, it's the marginally Taylor Greens and Madison conference coming from the right.


Right, exactly.


And that's also a huge change that's happening to you know, when people ask me about what we think about twenty twenty four in the post Trump era, I'm like the Georgia Republican that has the brightest future to me is clearly marginally tailored.


Oh, well, I mean, in this moment, the base is wildly concerned with a conspiracy founded about an election still that only certain people are willing to speak out. I mean, it feels like birthers, them or Donald Trump is able to actually gain some political points among the base by dealing in these terms that the establishment won't deal with, because obviously it's a democracy by point. Right. But if I would have to place money on who in that Georgia Republican place has the brightest future.




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So what's going to happen with Brexit? The U.S. and all things business covid vaccines, wedding numbers and patent possibilities.


Meetings, marches. And for when you meet a march, well, time will tell and we'll find out with 42 percent of an annual premium digital subscription to Independent Dorahy, you will to this Black Friday find out what the year holds in store. It's the best week to get the whole year visit independent efforts. I subscribe hurry offer ends November 30th. Upclose an independent.


Before we get into things, we have a fun little treat. There are so many insane things happening in the world right now and two episodes a week just aren't enough to cover it all. So the new abnormal is going to release a limited run series of bonus interviews over the next few weeks for beast inside members only. We'll release a new one each Sunday. But listen carefully. Only beast inside members will have access to these. So head over to the new abnormal DOT, The Daily Beast dot com to become a beast inside.


No, now that's new abnormal dot the Daily Beast dot com. Sandra Alstrom is a freelance writer and Vanity Fair contributor. I'm very excited to have you today. First, let's talk about the article in Vanity Fair. What was the thing that got you to the place where you felt like you could you could write about it?


Well, I have really been grappling with whether to do this for so long, obviously, since since Ivonka that announced that he was running. And I don't know if you guys remember, but I don't think this is the first time he's announced that he was going to run for president. I remember it happening quite a few times when we were growing up.


Yes. I don't know if it ever got that far this far, but it was very easy for me to dismiss it because he'd done it so many times before. Right. And so in the beginning, actually, even though I was not close to the bunker and even though I found his racist rhetoric about Mexicans when he first went down those escalators and said that terrible speech, even though I found that abhorrent, I still, you know, prized my friendship with the Vanke over my political feeling.


Initially, I actually refused all requests from journalists to explain to us what your how your relationship with Ivonka.


I think it's important we know. When did you start being friends with Ivanka? I know it's in the article and I read all about it.


But just for the listeners, I moved from Greenwich to Manhattan in seventh grade. Yeah. And I have not fit in in Connecticut. I was not athletic. I was a big dork there. So when I got to Chip and I really wanted to be popular, quite frankly, you know, it was really an insane year. I can't express to you what tenth and seventh grade class was like.


I've heard. Yeah, it was really I mean, it was all good, clean fun, except very entitled. You know, I shudder to think of the entitlement that I had in seventh grade. Anyway, Ivonka, as I said in the article of Uncle, was part of the top six most popular girls. And I kind of made my way and from the bottom and got invited to her birthday party. And in seventh grade we became friends casually.


And then in eighth grade we got a little closer. And then we all went to the summer program in Paris. The summer after eighth grade, before ninth grade, I don't remember. Ivonka went to church that year or the year after, but that was when we really became like best friends. And when she was a child, we became even closer because she was always driving into the city for modeling gigs and she would always pick me up and I'd go to sleep at her house.


And we just kind of both had parents that didn't really supervise us very much. And so we were just always together. And then you both went to college? Yeah, we both went to college.


She went to Georgetown. At first I went to Trinity. We remained really close. I didn't really like Trinity. So I was always going into the city on the weekends and we were hanging out in the city on the weekends. And she didn't like Georgetown either. I think she liked Georgetown. I just think she kind of was always going to go to Penn. So you stayed friends? Yeah, we stayed friends. And then I actually. So then senior year of college, I was really over college at that point.


And I came back to the city and I got my mom didn't want me to live with her, so I got my own apartment. And Ivanka was always at my apartment and a lot of girls were always at my apartment that year.


Ivanka was always sleeping over. And yeah. So we just we pretty much stayed very, very close, even though we were doing different things until I went to Beirut. And even then we remained close. But that was kind of when we started moving on divergent tracks.


So in the piece you talk about the conversation where you realized that she had become very conservative, right? Wasn't that sort of the moment?


I wouldn't say it was one conversation. Right. And I also wouldn't even call her conservative. The conversation when I realized that we had increasingly different values about life and agendas, one of them was the conversation about Empire Falls.


But there were many ways Empire Falls. Yeah. So Ivanka always used to get book suggestions for me and I recommend it. When I was in Beirut, the first of the two years that I lived in Beirut, I went there to report for an English language newspaper and it was a pretty tumultuous time. A lot was going on there. There were a lot of political assassinations and big war. So I just mentioned that to give the backdrop. Yeah.


Which the comment was delivered. And she called me one day and I remember her saying, why? Why would you tell me to read a book about fucking poor people? What would make you think I'd be interested in that? Yeah.


Jesus, did she call you in Beirut?


Yes. Yes. I remember being on the street, walking right near my office in Beirut and receiving the phone call.


What did you say? I honestly don't remember. I don't remember other instances of her using the, you know, such derisive words like fucking poor people. Right. You know, the the general desire to not really socialize with people outside of your own socioeconomic segment was consistent throughout our life.


It does seem to me, though, that there's like the thing that I've always noticed about Obama compared to like Ginger and Eric is that Ivonka seems better at hiding her general contempt. Yeah. Until recently. Right. I think that's why it was so difficult to not say anything. I was in her wedding. And just to be clear, I've always been really pro Palestinian. So this is not like a new thing. But it was not right.


It was not. But that must have been a conflict with the cushion. It was not.


That's what I was saying. It wasn't a conflict before the questioners. But then when I got back from Beirut the first time she was dating Jared, it wasn't such a big deal initially. But then as they got more serious, it kind of became a bigger deal, I think, and especially as she started her conversion. And as I said in the article, I wear a necklace that says my name in Arabic that I got made for me at the end of my first stint in Beirut.


And I wear it every day. And she would, you know, just kind of make little comments about it. And at one point towards the end of our friendship, when we were really not seeing eye to eye on things, she looked at me and said, you know, how does your Jewish boyfriend feel when you're having sex? And that hits him in the face like that necklace just screams terrorism.


Oh, Jesus Christ.


And I think I said at the time, I would like to think I said at the time of that you can't ever say anything like that aloud again. Arabic is a language like that's a really racist comment, but I don't actually remember if I said it.


So that was kind of one of the last instances. And after her wedding, we just really stopped being friends. And part of it, I think, was because my pro Palestinian stance was not a publicly acceptable one. And I'm not someone who's not going to discuss these things. That's never been who I am. So then I moved back to Beirut for two years and really didn't speak to her at all at that point. Married a Lebanese dude, invited her to my we eloped, but I invited her to my engagement party because, you know, I invited everyone right in.


So she couldn't she didn't really say anything to me much about that. She sent me a necklace when I had my son with his name on it when I moved back to the city. And then, yeah, and that was pretty much it. And I was very fine with not being her friend. You know, it was very clear that we had nothing in common anymore. And then I refused. I was fine with this and all the press requests.


And even at one point, a former colleague of mine at The Observer, a reporter, got in touch with me via her. So I responded and said, sorry, I'm not speaking about Ivonka. And he said, Oh, well, her publicist told me to get in touch with you. So I forwarded the email to a banker and I said, Is this true? And she said, no, it would be great if you could. And I said, OK, just so you know, I've refused all these requests and I'm not speaking to the press about you.


And she said, OK, it will be great if you could afford me these things in the future. So I know what kind of stories are being worked up about me. And I did that actually until her dad won. I even did that because I did not think he was going to win and she was my old friend. So when people say I'm being disloyal, like, please keep in mind how much I was not disloyal like that came first to me in the beginning.


But as she stood by and watched what her dad did, it just became increasingly untenable for me to have that position. And now he and I discussed all the time, should I say something? But after the Access Hollywood tape came out, it was like, what am I going to say that's actually going to change anyone's mind if that can come out and it won't make a dent in his support. And what's the point in me saying anything? Because I'm just going to get, you know, run through the course.


And then what changed? What changed is, as my kids are a little older, you know, I have a two year old and a five year old. So I'm I just started the daily writing practice and I've started working again for the first time in August. They've been freelancing. And I wrote an essay that really meant a lot to me about the Beirut blast. So I was in the habit of writing and I went to vote early at my polling place in Brooklyn.


And I ran into one other person I know who went to show with a Ivanka and they were not friends. But we were waiting in the one hour line together and we were discussing how it was so surprising that no one from Shapen or Chote had come forward to say any. And I just went home, I sat at my computer and I started writing a long essay about why her dad shouldn't be president and it was very much pegged to my recollections of growing up with him.


Why do you think everyone has closed ranks around her and protected her?


Well, because I don't think you want to mess with them. I mean, it's very clear what they're going to say about you in public, but they're so gross.


I mean, I'm just thinking about this, like from my own personal opinion, because I you know, I didn't go to cheapen, but I went to schools, you know, adjacent to cheap and totally. And I you know, I knew a bunch of I didn't know Ivonka because I'm older than you guys, but I knew Junior's horrible first wife and I knew this one and that one. And like, I'm just curious because it is true, people have closed ranks around them, even though they were objectively not very nice people.


And I'm just curious, like, it almost feels like there's some kind of people are loyal to their class in a certain way.


Yeah. I mean, one of my favorite Twitter comments on this article was by someone who called me a class traitor and I loved it.


Me, I mean, there's no higher badge of honor and I'm not really one because I like my expectations and stuff. But anyway, long story short, I do think one of the biggest things that happened in the aftermath of this article is that and I was talking about the thing I was talking to on the phone yesterday about this huge gap between, I would say seventy five percent of, you know, friends from the private school world, friends of friends who are writing me letters saying this is so brave, friends of Ivonka who are writing me incredible, like confessional letters, some of them about their Jewish faith and how they were so conflicted about not saying anything because, you know, they'd spent their life thinking about complicity and regimes and just these very some are just good job and some are very emotional and intense.


And I wasn't expecting the breath of those on such a wide array of people and people who used to be friends with her who are saying, we're so glad somebody did this, we're so glad that somebody said something. However, there was also I was expecting to get regular calls on Twitter, but I was not expecting this small cadre of close friends from the cheapened world to kind of not be into it and just have the general sense that it was easy to discuss my private friendship with her.


Because you're a doctor and a tipa. No, I'm yeah.


What I said was I think it's icky to permanently separate 666 children from their parents. And if you promise to never do anything that evil, I promise that I will never discuss the details of our private relationship. And that landed with a giant thud.


Yeah. So that's kind of my attitude about it. I think that if you appoint yourself public official, you are public a public duty to hold you accountable. And especially as a journalist, you know, I went to Columbia. This is what they tell you at Columbia. You are there to hold the public accountable. Like this is the ideal of journalism. So it's very hard to kind of have been nurtured on this idea and then have to be silent when you see such terrible things.


What struck you about Donald that was surprising? That wasn't sort of the usual of the dad of the chip and dad.


I mean. Well, he was nothing like the usual chairman that I was with Ivanka and her dad. I don't even know how many times, like a hundred at least I would say. And I don't remember many substantial conversations. You know, it was, oh, everything's transactional. Everything's about where you rank in the hierarchy of power and beauty and superficial characteristics. So I can't say there's anything shocking about there was anything shocking about him from what we know now.


But it was definitely shocking as a young kid, that definitely wasn't what you know, most dads didn't make comments about your weight. Most dad didn't kind of call all of my young friend after different models. What do you mean? I remember that there was always two girls that he was referring to. No, I remember there's always one girl that he was referring to as Cindy Crawford. I'm a guy actually. I actually hadn't spoken to her in eighteen years and she called me after this article and we were just reminiscing about Mr.


Trump stories. And I said, oh, did you recognize yourself as Cindy? And everybody thought she was Cindy. But she was like, no, I wasn't Cindy. Somebody else was Cindy. I was actually Christy Turlington. And then she started listing all of the model names and. This is not my story, right? A mutual friend story. So he was just overly familiar. No, but not to me so much. He ignored me because I wasn't very I wasn't very attractive.


And he almost never remembered my name. Yeah, I do remember one I do remember one conversation that I remember he and I having about myself. It was the only time you ever asked me a personal question about myself was when we were on the way to the US Open, I believe in a limo with him. He had just bought 40 Wall Street, which my great grandfather built. Total coincidence. And it was the tallest building in the world in the 1930s before the Chrysler and the Empire State Building.


And so I thought this would impress him a little. So I just mentioned it and he said, oh, I built it. You mean it was a construction worker? And I said, no. I mean, he built it. And he said, Oh, you mean who was the developer? And I said, no, he was you know, he financed the construction and was the anchor tenant of this building in the 1930s. And he said, oh, so there must have been a very rich man.


And I said, not by your standards, but. Yeah. And anyway, but that was really the only conversation that we ever had about me.


Do you wish Ivonka wouldn't have gone this way? I wish that Ivonka had the first you know, rather than go with her dad, she should have used all of her political capital and cachet among these people to start a super PAC and like locally opposed her dad out our friendship. There were so many instances where her dad would be behaving in a way that was so inconsiderate to other people. And I would just think to myself, if my father was behaving this way, I would say, Dad, stop it in front of everyone.


And I would challenge him to behave better. But I guess that's what separates us.


Do you think that Ivanka can come back to New York based on the number of people who will not go on the record about about their comments, vowing that she can't? I would say, yes, she'll be she'll be right back there in five years.


Interesting. You think so? Because you think people just don't, but they just don't care what you asked before why people close ranks about Iraq.


I think some of it is like that. It's just seems pretty tacky to talk about your friends. But I also think part of it is that she was really nice and fun and great to her friends. Sometimes amidst all the I think I said in the article, trump the the use of the euphemism. You know, she was super fun to be around. And so I think a lot of it is people just are remembering that maybe and they don't care about the larger.


I don't see how you couldn't care at this point. That's where I am. Yeah, that's where I am, too. And I was there a long time ago. I basically was there at the family separation policy. And then it just got worse and worse and worse. But I guess there are some people who just truly we don't talk about politics.


It's just not polite in accordance with state federal law and international treaty. But were you surprised?


Know you're tired. We're all going to die in the end. The actuarial tables catch up with everyone. But actually, I want to be uploaded into the. Yeah. Did you see that show on foreign on foreign servers? Oh, gosh.


I'm going to come back. Come back as a spambot.


You're going to come back as one of Junior's many bots. That generic Landro. That's right. Who is your fuck. That guy. My fuck.


That guy is soon to be former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is the week saw racing around Europe with a gas and the Middle East with a gas can try to service the arsonist of state. He has gone to France blowing shit up. He has gone to Saudi Arabia blowing shit up. We were suddenly parking B, 52 bombers back in the Persian Gulf again here at the last minute. Because what could go wrong with that?


What do you think his end game is besides my presidency? Yeah, that's what I think, too.


Mike Pompeo is going to run as the pure Mauga for president. He's also anticipating that. And this is not a dumb strategic view of the playing field. He's anticipating that sometime between now. Well, because the last four years we've actually had a fairly quiet foreign policy front, nothing.


Right, except leaving the Kurds to die. Right.


Well, you know, the little things, the little things they care so much about. But what they're what they're thinking is, is that my Pompeii's going to establish his foreign policy cred in the world and that he is going to punch the button on the Israel stuff until it is absolutely, you know, utterly clear in the minds of the Marga's that he was the pro-Israel guy in the administration and that he did X, Y and Z for Israel.


C, I feel like Mike Pompeo is so deeply unlike. Of all that, it shouldn't that he doesn't have a shot, but am I wrong? You know, I don't think he has a shot, but but deeply unlikable hasn't stopped people before from being elected president.


Right. Trump is horrendous and horrible, horrible person. But he is people find him, find his supporters like him. Whereas I don't think anyone thinks Mike Pompeo is funny at all.


You know, I don't think Mike Trump has got a big fan club out there, really. He's not a very pleasant fellow.


Yeah, my fuck that guy. And actually, I can have this for that guy because I have seen his terrible movie, Unplanned, which was funded by him about how abortion was written by this insane woman who used to work at Planned Parenthood. Yes, I know who it is and I know the story.


And so I have seen that movie. I saw that movie in theaters. So I am really allowed to say, fuck, make it Lindahl, who is you'll know. You may know him from his Hitler mustache. He is the my pillow guy Dotcom, and he is a major donor and major sepak donor. And I heard him speak at CPAC twice and a douchebag, one of the only advertisers on Fox News. And also he offered to he had he was going to have some to go where he was going to make mask's.


I don't know what happened with that. Mike Lindahl, fuck you.


But why Molly?


He contributed with Ricky Schroder to Kyle Rittenhouse is two million dollars of bail. As you remember, Colerain House is what we call a murderer. He murdered two protesters. He drove across state lines with illegally purchased firearms. It's this further lotting of Kyle Rittenhouse, who is a domestic terrorist and also a murderer. Wait until Trump pardons him. You think that's going to happen?


I don't think that's going to happen, really.


I have heard a rumor that there is a gigantic raft of requested pardon papers from the White House to the Justice Department. So we'll see what shakes loose.


On that note, we'll wrap up this episode of The New Abnormal for The Daily Beast. In future episodes, we'll be talking with smart folks from The Daily Beast and beyond, from media, culture, politics and science to help us understand what's happening to our country and the world.


We hope you'll subscribe to us on your favorite podcast app and share the show on social media. We're just getting started and don't want you to miss an episode if you'd like to follow us on Twitter. I'm Molly Chang Fast and he is the Rick Wilson. Thanks so much for listening and we'll see you again on the next episode.


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