If there’s one thing you can always count on with Donald Trump, it’s that he’ll bilk the people who do work for him out of the money they’re owed. If there’s one thing you can count on with Rudy Giuliani, it’s that his lawyering more or less amounts to performing absurdist legal theater and occasionally butt-dialing reporters. When they entered into their professional relationship, each man should have known what they were getting into based on the other’s long track record. But, despite soliciting his services again and again and again, Trump has apparently found himself unhappy with his end of the bargain, given their effort to overturn his election loss not only failed, but also resulted in him being impeached for the second time in a year.
Giuliani may come to regret the arrangement himself. According to the Washington Post, Trump is about to treat perhaps his staunchest ally like every contractor he’s ever hired. The president has reportedly told aides not to pay Giuliani’s legal fees. He also wants to personally go through his travel expenses line-by-line before reimbursing him, raising serious doubts as to whether Giuliani will ever get reimbursed for his trip to Philadelphia’s Four Seasons Total Landscaping in November. To some extent, it’s easy to see where Trump’s coming from: Giuliani was trying to charge him $20,000 a day to help him undermine democracy, and all he got for his money was…well, this:
It appears that Rudy Giuliani is sweating through his hair dye. pic.twitter.com/OY3dGL1BtX
— The Recount (@therecount) November 19, 2020
Trump wanted Roy Cohn; he got Barry Zuckerkorn instead. Still, Trump’s plan to stiff Giuliani out of his cigar money reflects more than his longstanding status as America’s most prominent deadbeat and his lawyer’s shoddy work. It also underscores how isolated the president has become in the final days of his term. Trump had already been increasingly lonely as he raged against the dying of the light, with administration officials steering clear of a West Wing he filled with somehow even more sycophantic loons. But now, after inciting a deadly insurrection at the Capitol, he’s put himself in an even more solitary position: Previously loyal administration officials, including some of his Cabinet secretaries, have abandoned him. A handful of Republicans have flown the coop, while more are hiding in the bushes until he leaves office. And businesses, including his beloved PGA and the only bank that would still work with him, want nothing to do with him. His most important relationships in Washington—with Mitch McConnell and Mike Pence, a target of the MAGA mob that stormed the Capitol—have imploded. Only Lindsey Graham remains at his side, and even he has acknowledged that Joe Biden won the 2020 election.
“That’s tough,” Graham told the Post. “He thinks he was cheated, but nothing’s going to change that.”
Rapidly approaching a post-presidency rife with legal and financial perils, Trump is finding defenders harder to come by—and, banned from his precious Twitter, his preferred mode of defending himself is no longer an option. He could take to the bully pulpit—he’s still the president, after all— but, seething with rage and consumed by self-pity, he has not opted to make many public appearances in recent weeks, save for the pump-up speech he gave to supporters before they stormed the Capitol and the reluctant, mostly scripted videos calling for peace the White House released in the wake of the siege. He did give remarks as he boarded a flight to Texas and upon arriving in Alamo to tout his border wall construction earlier this week, but networks were wary of carrying them in full, concerned that he might say something to further inflame tensions ahead of Biden’s inauguration. He and his allies have been singing the same tunes for years now. But after hearing them every day, over and over, everyone finally seems to have had enough. “Not everything is about Trump,” a prominent news anchor told Politico, explaining why they had no interest in putting him on air. “After four years of this, I’m thoroughly sick of it.”
— Jared and Ivanka’s Final Chapter in Washington Demolished Their Future— After a Day of Violence, Trump’s Allies Are Jumping Ship— The Unbearable Whiteness of Storming the Capitol— Gary Cohn Is a Test Case for Trying to Wash Off the Trump Stink— The Deeply Unsettling, Not Entirely Surprising Images of Trump’s Capitol Hill Mob— Twitter Finally Muzzling Trump Is Too Little, Too Late— The Eerie Charlottesville Echoes of Trump Supporters’ Capitol Coup— From the Archive: Inside the Cult of Trump, His Rallies Are Church and He Is the Gospel
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