This is the story of what happens when you launch a presidential campaign while having the basic organizational capacity of a broken pretzel. This is the Shampaign Report.
This week on the Shampaign trail:
Did the Trump campaign accidentally publicize an affair between two staffers? Apparently!
Donald Trump is criticized by a Supreme Court justice, and reveals that he is not entirely sure what a Supreme Court justice is.
Trump picks a vice-president … or not!
In which the Associated Press maybe reveals that two Trump campaign staffers had an affair.
On Wednesday, barely a week before the opening of the GOP Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, the Associated Press reported that Trump was suing a former campaign staffer for $10 million. Why? Because, according to legal documents filed by that staffer, Trump is trying to cover up an affair between two of his top aides.
The staffer, Sam Nunberg, was actually fired twice: Once for arranging this BuzzFeed profile that Trump hated, and once for racist Facebook posts. For his part, Nunberg believed that Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was behind his firing. In an interview with GQ about Lewandowski, Nunberg said, "I literally will suck the fucking blood out of his skull by the time I’m done with him."
What does this have to do with the lawsuit? Nunberg is being sued by Trump for violating his nondisclosure agreement by telling the New York Post about an argument between Lewandowski and campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks that sounded, um, less than coworker-ly. And this wouldn’t be the first time a Hicks-Lewandowski affair has been alleged. According to the U.S. political editor of the Daily Mail, Trump’s widow's-peaked best friend, Roger Stone, told him they were "secret lovers." So, in short, according to Nunberg, Trump is suing him so that the media doesn’t find out that his spokeswoman and his former campaign manager were hooking up.
There is a phenomenon known as the "Streisand effect" — named for the singer — which holds that trying to hide something usually draws more attention to that something. Like, say, launching a $10 million lawsuit over an affair no one knew anything about. A week before Donald Trump receives the GOP nomination for president maybe wasn’t the best time to accidentally reveal a sordid affair among his own employees. But since when has anything in this election affected the election in the way we expected?
In which Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gets in hot water, and Donald Trump manages to somehow make it worse.
In interviews earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shared some thoughts about Donald Trump. They were not good thoughts. Justice Ginsburg called Trump a "faker" and said, "I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president. For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that."
This is not typical. Though it wouldn’t be the first time a Supreme Court justice said something controversial (see the late Justice Antonin Scalia, noted for duck-hunting with Dick Cheney and criticizing Obama), this is probably the furthest any SCOTUS judge has ever gone in criticizing a presidential nominee. The New York Times said that Justice Ginsburg needed to "drop the political punditry and the name-calling." The New Republic called her remarks "unwise." We all agreed: Donald Trump could be compared to an over-warmed chicken salad sandwich, but probably not by a sitting Supreme Court justice.
What does this even mean? A swamp of "real legal opinions"? Does Donald Trump believe that one could simply drown a Supreme Court justice into doing his bidding? Does he not think this would have been tried before were it an option? Where is this swamp? Is it near where I am? Can I go to it? Can I sink myself ever deeper in its briny depths? Can I do so immediately after finishing this post?
In which Donald Trump chooses a vice-president. Or doesn’t.
Donald Trump has had some trouble rustling up a vice-presidential candidate. Many politicians wish to avoid him, as one might avoid opening a refrigerator after a lengthy power outage. But there are some brave souls who are willing to hold the position of Trump’s second-in-command. One of those brave souls is Indiana Governor Mike Pence.
On Friday, Trump announced that Pence would, in fact, be his running mate. This makes sense, because Mike Pence is a wet paper towel amalgamated into a silver-haired lobbyist fantasy. He is not very good at sticking to his guns, but he is very good at writing opinion pieces for opinions that are not great. Newt Gingrich would use the vice-presidency as a machination with the goal of ultimate power. Mike Pence could not define, nor spell, machination. He would challenge Donald Trump in so much that he would ask Donald Trump whether he would prefer the chicken or the beef, a decision that would likely end with Trump choosing the ham. That is a perfect Donald Trump vice-president.