Mar-a-Lago (Far) East

I don’t know why everyone was surprised that Donald Trump showed North Korea’s Kim Jong Un a ‘propaganda’ video after their meeting earlier this month. Trump was just dusting off the sales technique that has worked so well for him in the past as a real estate developer.

Ask anyone that has been to a sales presentation for a vacation timeshare or condo. They are slicker than snot on a doorknob, using photos and videos to show you how sweet life would be if you would just sign up. If they weren’t that slick, people wouldn’t bite. Of course, once they sign up, many people find that the deal isn’t as sweet as they thought it would be.

Trump has been successful with slick sales presentations for years. He built his real estate career on it. And the sales technique worked over and over again. Wall Street bankers finally became immune to it, but that was only after being burned by Trump several times.

Trump is simply reverting to the persuasive tool he knows best. He is figuring that Kim is a greenhorn and will be wowed enough by the sales presentation to buy into Trump’s vision.

Maybe it will work and Kim will hire the Trump company to manage his new resorts and hotels. Or maybe Kim will see right through the slickness and play Trump right back. My bet is on the latter.


Trump Finally Hired The Right Lawyer

Donald Trump has known all along that his best defense against Robert Mueller’s investigation did not have much to do with the law. Yes, Mueller could uncover illegal behavior by Trump and Trump’s attorneys would use the legal system to fight any charges that might result.

However, it wouldn’t matter because early on, Trump understood three things:

  1. He knew that he broke the law in his campaign and business dealings
  2. If Mueller uncovered this (likely) he would build an airtight case against Trump before bringing any charges
  3. Therefore, he was not likely to win in a court of law. His case could only be won in the court of public opinion.

As time went on, the first two points became more and more obvious to Trump’s lawyers and they started to quit or got fired. Trump doubled down on the third point, and hired Rudy Giuliani as his lawyer.

People say that Giuliani is a poor choice because it has been a long time since he was a prosecutor and instead he has spent the last three decades as a lobbyist and politician.

That’s what makes him the perfect choice. He knows how to work the press. He knows how to shape public opinion. The one-two punch of Trump and Giuliani are doing a terrific job of turning the public against Mueller. They figure that if they can turn it far enough, whatever Mueller uncovers won’t matter.

It will be interesting to see if that is really the case or the courts end up with the last word.