Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is a weekly columnist and senior writer for The American Prospect. He also writes for the Plum Line blog at The Washington Post and The Week and is the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

All of Our Fears About Trump Are Coming True

AP Photo/Susan Walsh President Donald Trump walks off of the stage after speaking at a fundraiser in Fargo, North Dakota. E very once in a while, amid the relentless assault on one's psychological well being that is the Donald Trump presidency, it's tempting to say that as bad as things may be, we haven't had an outright catastrophe yet. The nuclear missiles remain in their silos, martial law has not been declared, and the citizenry does not yet lie trembling in their caves as they hide from roving bands of cannibals. So it could certainly be worse. True as that may be, when you step back to take stock, you soon realize that things are very, very bad. In fact, this presidency is living up to all of our fears. To see how, let's look at what happened just in the last week, a week that was only slightly more eventful than the typical one since Trump became president. Here are just some of the highlights: According to The Washington Post 's Fact Checker, Trump surpassed 5,000 false or...

Will Those Who Work for Trump Ever Face Accountability?

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik Attorney General Jeff Sessions, second from right, and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, right, speak together during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House. T he political world remains consumed with discovering the identity of the anonymous Trump administration official who wrote an op-ed in The New York Times last week saying that they are part of a group of Trump aides who "have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump's more misguided impulses until he is out of office." The president himself is certainly consumed with it; he called the Times ' decision to publish the piece "treason" and demanded that the Justice Department deploy the federal government's resources to ferret out the official, apparently unaware that disloyalty is not a crime. Meanwhile, members of Trump's administration have rushed to proclaim that it isn't them, lest Trump doubt their devotion; ambassador to the United Nations...

Trump Doesn't Want to Take Down the Elite. He Wants Their Acceptance.

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) President Trump on June 6, 2018 P resident Trump was not in attendance at John McCain's memorial service on Saturday, but nearly everyone else in official Washington was, from former presidents to current members of Congress to media figures. Were someone else president right now, the week of events honoring McCain might not have been so grand and drawn out, but it became for everyone a way not just to celebrate McCain's life and virtues but to make a statement about the current occupant of the Oval Office. Those in attendance on Saturday no doubt thought of the event as a rebuke to Trump—his naked corruption, his dishonesty, his bigotry, his lack of respect for the institutions of government, all contained in references one speaker after another made to the president without ever uttering his name. "John McCain's funeral was the biggest resistance meeting yet," read a headline in The New Yorker , but Trump himself almost certainly saw it as something more...

What John McCain Wasn't, and What He Was

AP Photo/Cliff Owen Senator John McCain speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill S enator John McCain occupies a larger space in the American political landscape than you could possibly expect for a politician who lost a presidential election and, over the course of a congressional career that lasted more than three decades, wrote only one significant piece of legislation (which wound up being overturned by the Supreme Court). But McCain differed from his peers in many ways, some of them admirable, some of them less so, all adding up to an unusually complex figure. Upon his death, we owe it to ourselves to reckon with that complexity. Over the years I have written many critical things about McCain here at the Prospect and elsewhere, not only because I took issue with his political ideology but also because reporters looked at him and reported on him in terms that were positively worshipful, more so than for any other politician in my lifetime. That perspective on McCain had a number of...

'Trump 2020: Truth Isn't Truth'

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik President Donald Trump attends a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House D onald Trump is many things, but subtle is not one of them. So at at an event with the Veterans of Foreign Wars last month—just one of the many gatherings that he turns into a forum for partisan attacks, which no president before him would have considered—he gave a warning to his supporters. "Just remember," Trump said, "What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening." To that bit of wisdom we can now add an extraordinary companion statement from the president's TV lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. On Sunday's Meet the Press , Giuliani had this incredible exchange with host Chuck Todd, who asked about the Trump legal team's unwillingness to allow the president to answer questions from Special Counsel Robert Mueller: GIULIANI: Look, I am not going to be rushed into having him testify so that he gets trapped into perjury. And when you tell me that, you know, he should...

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