SUNDAY, MARCH 4, 2018
IN COLLABORATION WITH
ABCDE NATIONAL WEEKLY
Trump and Mueller
Both born to wealth and raised to lead. Then, sharply different choices.
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Trump’s trade war — with GOP BY
A MBER P HILLIPS
rom the moment Republicans made President Trump their party nominee, they knew this day would probably come: an intraparty battle over trade, on which neither side may ever be able to compromise. Trump and a number of congressional Republicans have fundamentally different views on trade. Trump has a protectionist worldview: He just announced controversial tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, potentially the first strike in a trade war with not only China but U.S. allies such as Canada, Mexico and Brazil. Leading Republicans in the Senate are dismayed. They fear that making foreign steel and aluminum more costly to U.S. buyers could cause other countries to slap tariffs on U.S. imports in retaliation. That’s the opposite of the free-trade policies Republicans tend to champion, which in its truest form has no restrictions. During President Barack Obama’s final year, it was Republicans in Congress who were trying to help get a free-trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, over the line. (Bluecollar Democratic voters and powerful Democratic institutions tend to be wary of such deals.) The TPP effort failed, and Trump officially ended that deal when he came into office. Republicans criticizing their president isn’t new — but this is one of the party’s first major policy disagreements, at least one that doesn’t stem from the president’s indecision. Here, unlike the debate on protecting “dreamers” or Trump’s vagaries on gun policy, we know where the president stands. He thinks tariffs are good policy. And top Republicans very much disagree with his position.
In a remarkable statement, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) — one of Trump’s most steadfast allies during the tax debate — said this amounts to a tax hike on Americans: “Tariffs on steel and aluminum are a tax hike the American people don’t need and can’t afford. I encourage the president to carefully consider all of the implications of raising the cost of steel and aluminum on American manufacturers and consumers.”
AGENCE-FRANCE PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
A Chinese worker cuts steel. President Trump has announced tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) simply called this bad policy: “Let’s be clear: The President is proposing a massive tax increase on American families. Protectionism is weak, not strong.” Making imported steel and aluminum more expensive, Republicans argue, will make all of the products that rely on such imports more expensive. U.S. car companies have warned that the last time there were such tariffs, in 2002, they lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Critics of Trump’s policy point to the Dow Jones industrial average falling 500 points after the announcement. Hatch’s use of the word “tax” to criticize Trump’s tariff policy is not an accident. Republicans in Congress are also worried that this
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new policy could distract from and even undermine the tax plan they passed in December, the centerpiece of their legislative agenda they hope to run on this November to keep control of both chambers of Congress. But the politics of trade are also shifting underneath Washington. During the campaign, a fascinating shift happened in Republican circles, one that gives Trump leverage in this intraparty debate on tariffs. The GOP base became openly wary of trade. And Republicans probably have Trump to thank for that shift. Toward the end of the campaign, Republican voters’ opinions of free trade were at their lowest since 2009, according to polling. It’s not a coincidence that normally protrade Republicans such as Sens. Patrick J. Toomey (Pa.), who wrote a book praising past trade deals, and Rob Portman (Ohio), who was literally the U.S.’s top trade representative before becoming a senator, had to shift their trade policy in their reelection campaigns. Both of them declined to support the TPP. Trump would argue that he’s tapping into a populist sentiment that favors the steel and aluminum manufacturers in West Virginia and Ohio over countries such as China, which the United States has long criticized for producing too much steel. A June 2016 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution found that a majority of Americans said free-trade agreements were more harmful than helpful — with Trump supporters the group most inclined to say they are harmful. Trade is an issue that doesn’t fall neatly along political fault lines. But it’s rare that an issue divides a party in such stark ways. And for all of Republicans’ disagreements with their president, this is one on which they may never be able to see eye to eye. n
©The Washington Post
ON THE COVER President Trump photograph by JABIN BOTSFORD, The Washington Post. Robert S. Mueller III photograph by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI, AgenceFrance Presse/Getty Images.
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Democrats struggle with attack angle E RICA W ERNER Kokomo, Ind. BY
emocrats predicted a political backlash for Republicans when the GOP pushed through a deeply unpopular tax cut in December that added more than $1 trillion to the federal deficit and disproportionately helped the wealthy. But at the outset of the 2018 campaign season, Democrats’ early optimism appears less well founded in Indiana, where Democrat Joe Donnelly is facing a tough Senate reelection fight. The new law is rising in popularity as businesses here and elsewhere trumpet bonuses and bigger paychecks. And while Donnelly and fellow Democrats struggle to craft a consistent attack on the law, Republicans — boosted by outside spending from groups backed by the billionaire Koch brothers and others — are united in touting the tax cuts and slamming moderate Democrats who voted against them. The three Republicans vying to replace Donnelly hit that point repeatedly as they met on a debate stage recently. “He said he would work for a tax plan that would help middleclass families,” said one of those candidates, Rep. Luke Messer. “We delivered a tax plan that helped middle-class families, and he was nowhere to be found.” Americans just started to see the tax cut show up in their paychecks last month, and along with those boosts in pay have come a spate of recent polls that show public opinion turning in favor of the tax legislation — leaving Democrats the unenviable task of trying to convince voters that a law increasing their paychecks now will be bad for the country later. “That’s a great thing that people are getting some benefits,” the low-key Donnelly said in an interview at a coffee shop in downtown Indianapolis. But the firstterm senator contended that if voters understood the full implications of the legislation, they
ASTRID RIECKEN FOR THE WASHINGTON POST
Growing paychecks make it a tough sell to paint the GOP tax cuts as a bad deal in the long term might be inclined to turn down those $1,000 bonuses or retirement- account contributions from Midwestern businesses such as Anthem, a health insurance firm, and Fifth Third Bancorp. “Here’s the proposition that they’re not saying but that’s the truth,” said Donnelly, 62. “We’ll have a thousand dollars out there. And you’ll get that. And in return — and this is the part that goes unspoken — we’re going to send your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren the bill for that. They will pay it with interest, repeatedly, year after year after year, much of it going to the Chinese and others. “If you laid that out and said, ‘Will you sign up for this?,’ not one person in my state would sign up for that,” Donnelly said. “Not one.” Such arguments stand to be tested in Indiana and around the country in the next eight months as Democrats defend Senate seats in 10 states that Donald Trump won in 2016, including Indiana and four other states Trump won by double digits. The outcomes in Indiana, North Dakota, Missouri, West Virginia and elsewhere will
determine whether Republicans can hang on to their slim 51-to-49 Senate majority or Democrats will regain the advantage they lost in 2014. Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, which is running ads against Donnelly and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), said the tax law will be the most important election issue for his group, which is backed by the Koch brothers. Democrats who opposed it “chose partisan politics, and the price they pay is going to be extremely high,” Phillips said. And while Republicans are united in promoting the tax law and attacking Democrats who opposed it, Democrats are juggling a range of responses. The GOP law included cuts to income tax rates at all levels, although the benefits of those cuts are overwhelmingly tilted toward the wealthy. And while the massive corporate cut in the law is permanent, the income tax cuts are set to expire within a decade unless a future Congress takes action to extend them. Activist groups on the left are clamoring for the law’s full repeal,
Sen. Joe Donnelly (DInd.), seen in Congress in January, faces a tough reelection fight this year as a Democrat running in a state President Trump won in 2016.
putting pressure on liberal lawmakers who for the most part are stopping short of pushing to undo it entirely. Meanwhile, red-state Democrats such as Donnelly must craft an even more nuanced response. It is a communications challenge many Democrats appeared to have not foreseen when the tax bill passed late last year over their unanimous objection. It had polled abysmally amid forecasts that some voters would pay higher taxes in years to come. Some Democrats play down evidence that public sentiment has moved in favor of the tax bill. Although several surveys have shown that supporters of the tax law now outnumber opponents, a Quinnipiac University poll released Feb. 20 found that voters say they still trust Democrats more than Republicans to handle the issue of taxes, by a slim margin of 46 percent to 41 percent. Meanwhile, Republicans have relentlessly promoted the benefits of the tax law. The No. 2 House Democrat, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (Md.), traveled through Rust Belt states including Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana the other week in what he billed as the “Make It in America” listening tour. His mission was to craft an economic argument for Democrats in their bid to pick up the 24 seats they will need to retake control of the House. Republicans structured the law so that withholding tables have already been adjusted, so many Americans have seen their paychecks go up. But accountants warn that when it comes time to file their taxes next year, voters might get an unpleasant surprise when they realize they are getting a smaller refund than expected or none at all. By then, however, the 2018 midterms will have come and gone, a point Hoyer ruefully acknowledged. “They’re not going to pay their taxes for ’18 until ’19, so they won’t really see what it did, how much it did, how much it didn’t do,” Hoyer said. “And I think that was smart timing.” n ©The Washington Post
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Has the Iditarod reached its ﬁnish? BY
G AVIN J ENKINS
n 45 years of existence, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race — the annual 1,000-mile competition in Alaska — has never experienced a stretch as rough as this. A documentary released in the United States last year, “Sled Dogs,” accused the race of cruelty toward its canine competitors. One of the Iditarod’s major sponsors severed ties in May. The race announced a substantial budget cut in September. The following month, the sport’s biggest star, Dallas Seavey, became embroiled in the Iditarod’s first doping scandal. And now, as the race began Saturday, the Iditarod’s board is under pressure after an independent report commissioned by four top sponsors. The report suggested that the board’s relationships with mushers and sponsors are so strained that they threaten the race’s survival, and it proposed that six of nine board members resign because of conflicts of interest with the race’s outcome. The Iditarod Official Finishers Club, a de facto mushers’ union, has echoed those calls for resignations. “It’s a very divided community at the moment,” said Craig Medred, an Alaska freelance journalist who has covered the Iditarod for 35 years and first published the report on his blog. “And given the outside threats they’re facing [from animal rights activists], it’s not a good place to be in.” The Iditarod’s troubles have come amid a broad shift in public opinion about animal-centric sports and entertainment. In recent years, SeaWorld — which was also the subject of a negative documentary, “Blackfish” — ended its killer whale shows and captive orca breeding, while Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, citing changing public tastes, retired its elephants and later closed for good. Greyhound racing is practiced in only six states, while horse racing’s popularity and profits have fallen. That cultural shift has not gone
The race is hounded by budget woes, infighting, allegations of cruelty and a doping scandal unnoticed by Iditarod officials, who have discussed what it means for dog racing, said Chas St. George, the Iditarod’s chief operations officer. In an interview, St. George acknowledged that the race needs to evolve, though he would not specify how. “How this next generation feels, thinks emotionally about animals, that’s critical to us,” St. George said. “I guess there was a time in this race, and other events like this, where dogs were not as ‘human’ as they are today. . . . We need to evolve down that path because we think it’s important that we reflect the same kinds of values that any dog owner would have when it comes to caring for their family member. Because that’s what they are.” Animal advocates have been calling the race cruel since its launch in 1973. But the Iditarod’s recent troubles began in December 2016, when “Sled Dogs” was released in Canada. The film alleges that many huskies that pull sleds in the race
or for tourists at crowded commercial kennels are chained to a doghouse for the majority of their lives. The film also claims that the dogs often have little shade or untethered social time, and that neglect and physical abuse, as well as euthanasia for dogs that don’t perform well, are common throughout the sport. Iditarod officials and mushers denounced the movie, and St. George called it a biased and disingenuous depiction of the sport and its kennels. Nevertheless, the race announced in December that all competitors will be required to meet the standards of a “Best Care” kennel management program to be implemented later this year. Wells Fargo ended its 29-year sponsorship of the race last spring. Even before Wells Fargo’s departure, the race was $49,000 short of its sponsorship goal and had depleted financial reserves. As a result, the Iditarod reduced its budget, which included shrinking its prize winnings for
A team competes in the 2017 Iditarod, the annual sled dog race across the Alaskan wilderness.
2018 by about $250,000. St. George said similar reductions occurred in 2010. A doping scandal, however, is new for the Iditarod. The race began drug testing dogs in 1994, and it had a clean record until the end of last year’s race, when four of Seavey’s dogs tested positive for tramadol, an opioid pain reliever. Seavey, 30, is a four-time Iditarod champion and was the youngest to win at 25. Seavey was not punished. At the time, the Iditarod’s rules stated that the race had to prove a musher gave dogs a banned substance. The board changed the rules in October, placing the burden of proof on the mushers. Seavey withdrew from this year’s race, deciding instead to compete in the Finnmarksløpet, Norway’s 750-mile answer to the Iditarod. Seavey has said he is a victim of sabotage. Can the Iditarod ride out this barrage of controversies? It has survived turmoil before. In 1994, Timberland almost derailed the Iditarod by ending its $500,000 sponsorship deal. The company cited the Humane Society of the United States’s denouncement of the race as playing a role in the decision. But over the past month, infighting within the mushing community has escalated the Iditarod’s problems to a new level, according to Helen Hegener, an Alaskan historian who has written 11 books about her state, including six on sled dog racing. “There hasn’t been a precedent-setting mutiny like the one happening now,” said Hegener, citing her own conversations with several mushers. They’re at odds about how to deal with the Iditarod’s leadership and its conflicts of interest, she said. The accumulation of controversies has put a “huge ding” in the Iditarod’s reputation, Hegener said, and even dogsled racing fans in Alaska are wondering about its fate. “I expect it to weather this storm,” Hegener said. “But there are a lot of people out there who think this might kill it.” n ©The Washington Post
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U.S.-Russia relations get even chillier BY
K AREN D E Y OUNG
t may still be far from the depths of the Cold War, but Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Thursday speech, outlining new, “invincible” weapons to overcome U.S. defenses, lowered the already chilly temperature of the relationship by several degrees. Few experts on either side believe that the new weapons, assuming they actually exist and are ever deployed, would change the balance of power between two nations that already have the ability to destroy each other many times over. At the same time, there is widespread agreement that the rhetorical attacks, stalled diplomacy and military escalation that increasingly characterize U.S.Russia relations are counterproductive to global security. Russia and the United States have a lot to talk about, on such topics as arms control, cyberintrusions, Ukraine, Syria and beyond. But there are no easy answers on how to break what appears to be an inexorable slide into a deeper freeze and little optimism that dialogue is about to break out. “The tension level is high, higher now than it was several months ago, in part because the Russians have gotten past the phase where they thought with President Trump they would be able to move the relationship in a different direction,” said Thomas Graham, senior director for Russia on the George W. Bush National Security Council staff and now managing director at Kissinger Associates. “This is qualitatively worse than any post-Cold War period,” Graham said. Trump appears to be the only senior member of his administration who still believes in a thaw. He has praised Putin’s honesty and directness after meeting with him in person and recalled his own campaign aspirations for closer ties. He has yet to take a stand against the election interference that U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed, largely
Moscow sees Trump as a ‘lost cause’ as tension grows to the worst it has been since the Cold War because he fears it will undercut his own legitimacy, according to administration officials. But as he has failed to move relations forward, “the Russians basically see the Trump administration as a lost cause,” said Andrew Weiss, who held senior Russia policy positions during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations and is vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “On the one hand, [the administration] is mired in this intense political crisis,” in part over allegations of Trump campaign ties to Moscow. “On the other hand, it’s got this obvious level of dysfunction and incoherence. Trump is saying only nice things about Russia,” Weiss said, while “the national security cabinet around him has pretty mainstream views of Russia as an adversary.” U.S. defense officials have consistently cited Russia as the most significant strategic threat to the United States, and the primary reason to build up its defense budget. Gen. John Hyten, who
leads U.S. Strategic Command, said in a speech Wednesday that Russia poses “the only existential threat to the country.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that there will be no warming of relations with Russia until it abandons its 2014 annexation of Crimea, something Russia has vowed never to do. The administration has reversed an Obama-era prohibition against providing lethal weapons to the Ukrainian military. In the first major implementation of that decision, it notified Congress on Thursday of plans to sell 210 antitank missiles to Ukraine. Tillerson has also come down increasingly hard on Russia for failing to control the brutal attacks against civilians by the government of President Bashar alAssad that it supports in Syria. Russia not only is providing air cover for the regime, but it also is “responsible” for Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Tillerson has said on numerous occasions. “They can deny it all they want to, but facts are facts,” he told Fox News last month.
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the Russian legislature in Moscow. In the two-hour speech, he said Russia had tested a cruise missile with a nuclear-powered engine that would have virtually unlimited range and render U.S. missile defense systems “useless.”
Both the United States and Russia have outlined expansions of their nuclear arsenals, and it remains unclear whether New START, the primary armsreduction treaty in effect between the nations, will remain viable beyond its expiration date of 2021. Each has also charged the other with violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. As both have rapidly increased their defense budgets, “this is a time when there ought to be some serious conversations about arms control,” said Steven Pifer, a Russia expert during 25 years as a Foreign Service officer and now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “What I worry about is, I’m not sure where the push comes from, Washington or Moscow, to get to a serious arms-control dialogue,” Pifer said. There must be “some sensible thing” to be done to “find a way to save INF and give a quick extension to New START.” Despite their criticisms, both Tillerson and defense officials have stressed the importance of finding a path to dialogue with Moscow. That is not the case with Congress, which overwhelmingly passed recent legislation directing Trump to impose new sanctions on Russia. So far, the president has not taken action. The legislation and congressional restraints create even more complications for the administration, Weiss said, because “anything that looks like a giveaway to Putin would be dead on arrival in the Senate.” Faced with an array of problems in the U.S.-Russia relationship, some experts cautioned against overreacting to a speech they said was mostly aimed at a domestic audience, in advance of this month’s presidential election there. Others drew a larger lesson. “If you missed the Cold War, it looked a lot like right now,” said Joe Circincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, a foundation based on nuclear weapons policy. n © The Washington Post
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TRUMP and BY MARC FISHER AND SARI HORWITZ
hey are the sons of wealth, brought up in families accustomed to power. They were raised to show and demand respect, and they were raised to lead. They rose to positions of enormous authority, the president of the United States and the special counsel chosen to investigate him. They dress more formally than most of those around them; both sport meticulously coifed hair. They have won unusual loyalty from those who believe in them. They attended elite all-male private schools, were accomplished high school athletes and went on to Ivy League colleges. As young men, each was deeply affected by the death of a man he admired greatly. Yet Robert Swan Mueller III and Donald John Trump, born 22 months apart in New York City, also can seem to come from different planets. One is courtly and crisp, the other blustery and brash. One turned away from the path to greater wealth, while the other spent half a century exploring every possible avenue to add to his assets. At pivotal points in their lives, they made sharply divergent choices — as students, as draft-age men facing the dilemma of the Vietnam War, as ambitious alpha males deciding where to focus their energies. Now, as they move toward an almost inevitable confrontation that could end in anything from deeper political discord to a fatal blow to this presidency, Trump, 71, and Mueller, 73, are behaving much as they have throughout their lives: As the president fumes about a “witch hunt” and takes his frustrations to his supporters, the special counsel remains publicly mute, speaking through inquiries and indictments. The months flip by, and the showdown looms: Mueller and Trump, the war hero and the draft avoider, two men who rise early and live mainly at the office, two men who find relief on the golf course. They circle each other, speaking different languages. Their aides talk in fits and starts about whether and when the two will meet, but it remains unclear whether that will happen. So they continue on their missions, one loudly, the other in silence. Neither knows how this will end.
ORIGINAL PHOTO BY JABIN BOTSFORD/THE WASHINGTON POST
From Princeton to the Marines Mueller was born to a social rank that barely exists anymore, a cosseted WASP elite of Northeastern families who sent their sons to New England prep schools built with generations of inherited wealth. Mueller’s father was an executive at DuPont, part of a family firmly planted in the country’s plutocracy. Mueller, who grew up in Princeton, N.J., and the Philadelphia Main Line, was sent to St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire, where the Astor, Vanderbilt and Mellon families educated their boys. At the Episcopal school, Mueller became captain of the soccer, hockey and lacrosse teams. He played hockey with classmate John F. Kerry, a future secretary of state and one of three St. Paul’s alumni who would run for president. Mueller epitomized the tradition of “the muscular Christian” at the top prep schools, the archetype of the strong boy who embodies “values of kindness, respect and integrity,” said Maxwell King, 73, a classmate at St. Paul’s. “Bob was a very strong figure in our class. . . . He was thought of as somebody you could count on to be thoughtful about everybody on the team and to have very high standards.” King, a former editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer who runs the Pittsburgh Foundation, said Mueller “had a good sense of humor, but he wasn’t smartass at all. He was serious, but in a way that everybody liked him and liked being around him.” Mueller was, from early on, a role model. As a group of boys gathered one day at the Tuck, a snack shop at St. Paul’s, a student made a derogatory comment about someone who wasn’t there. “Bob said he didn’t want to hear that,” King said. “I mean, we all said disparaging things about each other face to face. But saying something about someone who wasn’t there was something that Bob was uncomfortable with, and he let it be known and just walked out.” Just a few weeks after he finished Princeton with a degree in politics in 1966, Mueller enlisted in the Marine Corps, a rare choice for an Ivy League graduate at a time when many young men were casting about for ways to avoid the draft. Mueller, who declined to be interviewed
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mueller for this article, has often said he was inspired to join the Marines by his lacrosse teammate David Hackett, who had graduated from Princeton a year earlier and gone off to fight in Vietnam. “As we were graduating, we . . . faced the decision of how to respond to the war in Vietnam,” Mueller said in a speech last year. “And a number of [Hackett’s] friends and teammates joined the Marine Corps because of him, as did I.” In April 1967, as he led his platoon in evacuating fallen Marines from a battleground, Hackett was shot in the back of the head by a North Vietnamese sniper. Mueller to this day speaks of Hackett’s death as a turning point, as the event that pushed him to a career of public service. Before beginning his military training, and while recovering from a knee injury, Mueller studied international relations at New York University. Then he started Officer Candidates School at Quantico, Va., where he excelled, although he did get a D in delegation. Mueller followed that, according to military records, by going through the Army’s grueling Ranger School and Airborne School — unusual training for a Marine, signaling that he was going places. By November 1968, he was leading a rifle platoon in the jungles of Vietnam. Off to military school Like Mueller, Trump was raised in rare comfort. The Trumps had a family chef and chauffeur, but they never considered themselves part of the country’s ruling class. Theirs was immigrant stock, from Germany and Scotland, hardy entrepreneurs who tackled the new land with a blitz of new businesses — restaurants, hotels and, finally, real estate. The president’s father, Fred Trump, made his fortune himself, building middle-class housing for the union workers and civil servants of New York’s outer boroughs. Even after he’d established himself as one of the city’s biggest builders, Fred Trump still toiled in the trenches, taking young Donald along on weekends when they went door to door at Trump Village in Brooklyn, collecting rent. Donald Trump grew up in a 23-room manse in Queens, a faux Southern plantation house
with a Cadillac limousine in the driveway. He attended private school from kindergarten on; his focus in school, Trump told The Washington Post in 2016, was “creating mischief, because, for some reason, I liked to stir things up and I liked to test people. . . . It wasn’t malicious so much as it was aggressive.” In second grade, he said, he punched his music teacher in the face. He got into trouble often. Before eighth grade started, his father sent him to military school. At New York Military Academy, where the rules were so strictly enforced that a desperate cadet was said to have leaped into the Hudson River in an attempted escape, Trump thrived. For the first time, he took pride in his grades. He won medals for neatness and order. He also won notice from fellow cadets for touting his father’s wealth and boasting to friends that “I’m going to be famous one day.” Trump competed to become a cadet leader and enjoyed wielding authority. As a junior supply sergeant in E Company, he ordered that a cadet be struck on the backside as punishment for breaking formation. Another time, while inspecting dorm rooms, Trump saw cadet Ted Levine’s unmade bed and blew up, ripping off the sheets and tossing them on the floor, Levine said. Levine threw a combat boot at Trump and hit him with a broomstick. Trump, infuriated, grabbed Levine and tried to push him out a second-story window, Levine said. Promoted to captain of A Company, Trump won respect from some of the other boys, who said they never wanted to disappoint him. Trump introduced them to a world of fun, setting up a tanning salon in his dorm room, bringing beautiful women to campus and leading the baseball team to victory. But other cadets said Trump tried to break boys who didn’t bend to his will. During Trump’s senior year, when one of his sergeants shoved a new cadet against a wall for not standing at attention quickly enough, Trump was relieved of his duty in the barracks, said Lee Ains, the student who was shoved. Trump denied being demoted, saying he was actually moved up. “You don’t get elevated if continues on next page ORIGINAL PHOTO BY J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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you partake in hazing,” he told The Post in 2016. He was put in charge of a drill team that would perform in New York City’s Columbus Day Parade. Fleeting victories and fiery retreats Mutter’s Ridge was a killing ground, a craggy hellscape in Quang Tri province where the Marines had been fighting for years, setting up and abandoning bases as they tried over and over to assert control of one of the main routes the North Vietnamese used to infiltrate the South. Year after year, the ridge was the scene of fierce assaults, fleeting victories and fiery retreats. On Dec. 11, 1968, Mueller led a platoon of Marines into an eight-hour battle around an extensive complex of North Vietnamese army bunkers. The enemy hit Mueller’s men with a “heavy volume of small arms, automatic weapons, and grenade launcher fire,” according to a Marine Corps account. As his platoon suffered heavy casualties, “Second Lieutenant Mueller fearlessly moved from one position to another, directing the accurate counterfire of his men and shouting words of encouragement to them,” the account said. Mueller set up a defensive perimeter and “with complete disregard for his own safety, he then skillfully supervised the evacuation of casualties from the hazardous fire area,” as the Marines put it. Mueller led a team across the smoldering terrain and into a North Vietnamese-controlled area to recover a mortally wounded Marine. For that, he earned a Bronze Star Medal with “V” distinction for combat valor. He was promoted to first lieutenant. Four months later, the North Vietnamese attacked a squad of about a dozen Marines from Mueller’s platoon. Responding to the ambush, Mueller led the rest of his men to assist the Marines under assault. They pushed ahead against heavy fire, and Mueller was shot in the thigh. “Although seriously wounded during the fire fight, he resolutely maintained his position and, ably directing the fire of his platoon, was instrumental in defeating the North Vietnamese Army force,” said the citation on the medal Mueller received. His year in Vietnam was a turning point, friends said. “He never speaks to that horror and what he did,” said Thomas B. Wilner, a longtime friend and Washington lawyer. Draft deferments The country felt as though it were coming apart at the seams. At the University of Pennsylvania, where Trump had transferred after two years at Fordham University in the Bronx, protests against the Vietnam War grew larger and more insistent. There were sit-ins, candlelight vigils, demonstrations against university contracts with the military — a metastasizing culture of conflict as a new generation pushed back against war, segregation, dress codes and curfews.
JOE MCNALLY/GETTY IMAGES
Trump took part in none of that. Nor did he pay much attention to his coursework, fellow students said. He was already spending nearly as much time working for his father’s real estate business in New York as he was on campus in Philadelphia. He said he spent many of his off-hours while at school scouring the neighborhood for apartments to buy so he could rent them to students. Trump never burned a draft card, but he never enlisted either. He benefited from five draft deferments between 1964 and 1968 — four for being a college student and one for a medical disqualification. Trump has said he had bone spurs in his foot. During his presidential campaign, Trump said he could not recall which foot had the spurs. Later, his campaign said he had them in both heels. At another point, a campaign statement said that in 1969, Trump was fit for service and “had his draft number been selected, he would have proudly served.” His draft lottery number was 356 out of 366 — high enough that he almost certainly would have been spared from mandatory service. ‘Mueller, Homicide’ Mueller spent the first two decades of his legal career putting bad guys behind bars. He worked as a prosecutor in San Francisco and Boston. And in Washington, he headed the Justice Department’s criminal division as an assistant attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, supervising high-profile cases such as the prosecution of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega and the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. But by 1995, he was ensconced in the $400,000-a-year luxury of a white-collar litigation job in the Washington office of a Boston law firm, Hale and Dorr. It was not a happy time. “He hated it,” said Wilner, the longtime friend. “He couldn’t stand selling his services to defend people he thought might be guilty. . . . There was no hesitation for Bob in leaving a lucrative job to . . . do what he thought was helping make the world a better place.” So one day, Mueller called the District’s local prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Eric H. Holder Jr., and asked for a job, not handling the office’s big
Left: Donald Trump in his New York office in 1987. Right: From left, New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, U.S. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, New York Gov. George E. Pataki and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III meet at the World Trade Center site in New York on Sept. 21, 2001.
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national cases but working the line, prosecuting homicides on the streets of Washington. He wanted no title, no supervisory position. He told Holder that he was shaken by all of the killings in Washington, then the nation’s murder capital, and that he just wanted to try homicide cases. “I was taken aback,” Holder recalled. He reminded Mueller that coming to work at the “Triple Nickel” — as the prosecutors’ office at 555 Fourth Street NW was called — would mean a pay cut of more than 75 percent, a big step down in stature and a daunting job. The District, plagued with a crack cocaine epidemic and about 400 homicides a year, was a nightmare for prosecutors, who faced huge caseloads and witnesses who often were too scared to talk. Mueller said he knew what he was getting into. Holder hired him but insisted on giving him a title — senior litigation counsel — and eventually made him head of the homicide section. Day to day, though, Mueller was “just a line guy,” Holder said. “He would be in those parts of Washington that were most affected by the violence. . . . He would be interviewing people at crime scenes, going to people’s homes to build cases, working with street cops.” Through the decades, Mueller has often said that what matters even more than the content of one’s work is “how we do it,” as he put it in a commencement address in 2013. “You are only as good as your word. You can be smart, aggressive, articulate and indeed persuasive, but if you are not honest, your reputation will suffer, and once lost, a good reputation can never be regained.” Tough enough to make it Trump was determined to push beyond his father’s realm in New York’s outer boroughs and make it big in Manhattan. He had neither time nor patience for climbing the ladder rung by rung. He believed in big, bold leaps, even if that meant breaking with tradition or rules. “The key to the way I promote is bravado,” he wrote in “Trump: The Art of the Deal,” his best-selling book. “I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts.”
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It was Trump’s older brother, Fred Jr., who was originally supposed to take over the family business. But Freddy, mild-mannered and, in Donald’s view, not tough enough to make it, struggled to live up to his father’s demands. Freddy left the family company to become an airline pilot, but he began drinking excessively. In 1981, at age 43, he died of a heart attack after years of alcoholism. Donald had adored his brother, and now he resolved never to drink alcohol and always to remember a lesson he drew from Freddy’s failure: “To keep my guard up one hundred percent. . . . Life is a series of battles ending in victory or defeat,” he said at the time. “You just can’t let people make a sucker out of you.” In contrast to his brother, Donald Trump was determined to do whatever it took to “be a killer,” as his father had repeatedly insisted. While working on his first hotel project in 1976, Trump persuaded a New York Times reporter to profile him as “a major New York builder,” even though he had never built a thing and had no financing. Trump’s knack for drawing attention sometimes embarrassed or persuaded those in power to cede to his demands. When city politicians who opposed granting Trump a tax incentive called a news conference outside the shuttered Commodore Hotel, Trump showed up and threatened to abandon the project if the city didn’t give him tax relief. Trump had prepared for the event by directing his workers to replace the clean boards that covered the once-grand building’s windows with dirty scrap wood, accentuating the decrepit state of the midtown eyesore. The dramatic flourish had the desired effect. Trump got the exemption. He beat the system. G-man After Mueller did a stint as U.S. attorney in San Francisco, President George W. Bush nominated him to direct the FBI. He was sworn in on Sept. 4, 2001, one week before the planes hit the twin towers. For the next 12 years, in both Republican and Democratic administrations, Mueller led the FBI through one of the most difficult periods in its history. The bureau shifted from a domestic
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law enforcement agency largely focused on criminal threats to a global intelligence organization reoriented to fight terrorism. Although more terrorist attacks were feared, Mueller was intent on protecting civil liberties, according to those who worked with him. “He didn’t allow FBI agents in the post-9/11 era to engage in interrogation techniques that he thought were inconsistent with American law and tradition,” said Holder, who, as President Barack Obama’s attorney general, was his boss once again. Mueller worked around the clock, traveling from his Georgetown home to FBI headquarters in a black SUV that arrived shortly after 6 a.m. for morning security briefings, heading back late at night. He wore a traditional J. Edgar Hoover-era G-man uniform: dark suit, red or blue tie and white shirt — always white. “He won’t wear a blue shirt,” Wilner said. “He is so straight, he always wears a white shirt. . . . He’s conscious that he’s a public figure, and he doesn’t want anything to compromise his integrity. Even a blue shirt.” Mueller usually avoided the limelight. He frustrated his speechwriters by crossing out every “I” in speeches they wrote for him. It wasn’t about him, he told them: “It’s about the organization.” Family and politics Mueller burrowed into the bureaucracy and won allies by eschewing publicity. Trump charged into one industry after another, from casino gambling to steaks to for-profit education and finally to politics. The only through line in his career was his own celebrity — the power and allure of his name. In nearly every possible way, from their family relations to their political involvement, the two men have presented themselves in opposite ways. Three months after he graduated from college, Mueller married his girlfriend, Ann Standish, whose ancestors had come to the United States on the Mayflower. The couple, who met at a party when they were 17, have two daughters. One of them has spina bifida, and at one point, Mueller took a job in the U.S.
Left: Trump, second from left holding the ball, poses with the New York Military Academy varsity baseball team in 1964. Right: Mueller, No. 12, sits next to John F. Kerry, No. 18, with the St. Paul’s School hockey team in 1962 in New Hampshire.
attorney’s office in Boston in part to be near the treatment she needed. Mueller has asked reporters not to discuss his family life; Trump for decades regularly sought coverage of his love life by gossip columnists, and talked about his dates and bedroom activities with radio host Howard Stern. Trump has five children by three wives, each of them newcomers to New York City, two from Central Europe and one from a small town in Georgia. None was born to privilege. Like his father before him, Trump was distant from his children when they were very young but grew close once they were mature enough to learn the family business and join him on his daily rounds. Mueller is a lifelong Republican who has worked for administrations of both parties; Trump was raised in a Republican home by a father who spent many weekends visiting the Democratic clubs of Brooklyn, building relationships with the politicians who might help him get his projects built. For four decades, Trump toyed with the idea of entering politics. He changed his party registration seven times between 1999 and 2012 — he was a Democrat twice, a Republican three times and an independent. In 2000, he briefly ran for president under the Reform Party banner. Once, when asked in a television interview why he was a Republican, he said, “I have no idea.” A friendly conversation In the Rose Garden on June 21, 2013, Obama announced that James B. Comey would replace Mueller as FBI director. “Like the Marine that he’s always been, Bob never took his eyes off his mission,” Obama said. “It’s a tribute to Bob’s trademark humility that most Americans probably wouldn’t recognize him on the street, but all of us are better because of his service.” Four years later, last May, the new president invited Mueller back to the White House. President Trump had abruptly fired Comey and now, at the suggestion of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Mueller was coming in to talk about his former job. Mueller and Trump spoke for about 30 minutes, according to a person familiar with the interview. It was a friendly conversation but seemed almost pro forma because Mueller made it clear from the start that he was unlikely to take the job he had held for 12 years. Trump liked Mueller, according to the person. “He thought he was smart and tough,” a type Trump admires more than almost any other. The question became irrelevant within days, as Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein appointed Mueller as the special counsel to investigate whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign. Trump heard the news and asked one of his aides, “Wasn’t that guy just in here interviewing for the FBI?”n © The Washington Post
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Fierce women dominate Oscar nods BY
S ONIA R AO
llison Janney is known for playing the C.J. Creggs, the authoritative figures, the glue that holds everything together. With her Oscarnominated performance as hostile stage mom LaVona Golden in “I, Tonya,” she ripped that image to shreds. “I like characters who challenge me, who surprise you and who are not all just one thing,” she said in a recent interview. “They’re complex and dangerous and wonderful and awful — the messier, the better.” Fierce women like LaVona dominate this year’s array of Oscar nominees, diverging from the gentle figures of past awards seasons. Sure, actresses have won for playing abusive characters like Kathy Bates’s Annie Wilkes in “Misery,” but winners are more often honorable like Viola Davis’s long-suffering wife in “Fences,” or heart-rending like Julianne Moore’s Alzheimer’s-afflicted professor in “Still Alice.” Many of the characters in this year’s nominations don’t just defy the long-held notion that women must always be sympathetic or redeemable to captivate audiences — they’re also driven by anger. And that anger feels especially potent in a year bookended by the Women’s March and the #MeToo “Silence Breakers” being named Time’s Person of the Year. The phenomenon echoes the peak TV era’s abundance of antiheroes, a term that recalls Walter White cooking meth on “Breaking Bad” or Tony Soprano putting out hits on “The Sopranos.” Women infiltrated that boy’s club on television — Edie Falco’s character on “Nurse Jackie” and Keri Russell’s on “The Americans” come to mind — and this year gave a host of their big-screen counterparts the same opportunity. No one embodies the antihero persona like Mildred Hayes, the vengeful firebrand Frances McDormand plays in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Months after her teenage daughter is raped and murdered, Mildred wages war with the local po-
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MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES FOR SBIFF
lice department after its failure to thoroughly investigate the incident. She spirals, hurting innocent people and even committing arson. “From page one, she’s in a place of no return,” writer-director Martin McDonagh told The Washington Post’s Michael O’Sullivan in November. “She’s either going to die or she’s going to solve this case. It’s take-no-prisoners. The emotional collateral damage is something we talked about.” Mildred’s imperfections rage on screen, compelling viewers to rubberneck as we do with most calamities. Though her actions can be inexcusable, it’s refreshing to see her take matters into her own hands. She’s militant in her efforts
Frances McDormand, above, plays Mildred Hayes in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Allison Janney, left, plays LaVona Golden, the mother of Margot Robbie’s Tonya Harding, in “I, Tonya.” Their portrayals of female characters — particularly mothers — aren’t often seen in movies or nominated for awards.
to bar others from shaping her path — an uncommon characteristic for a female protagonist, let alone a mother. She operates in the same morally gray area that screenwriter Steven Rogers explored with “I, Tonya,” which depicts Tonya Harding’s tangential relationship to the 1994 attack on Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan. “Tonya is a polarizing character,” he said in a recent interview. “The story we got [at the time] was not a nuanced version. I wanted to say, these people are human, not stereotypes. I wasn’t trying to give anyone a Hollywood ending.” The film mostly blames Tonya’s tendency to lash out on the physical and emotional abuse from her
Gentler figures of past years give way to more nuanced portrayals, antiheroes
then-husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) and her expletivespewing mother. But it still emphasizes her aggressive nature, as she fights to refute her unbecoming reputation. The figure skater yells profanity at a judge who criticizes her outfit, and later nearly takes out her coach with a skate. LaVona would deny that she ever did more to Tonya than “hit her once with a hairbrush,” said Janney, who theorized that the resentful mother had a rough childhood herself. We witness horrific behavior from each woman — LaVona memorably throws a paring knife at her daughter — but can’t look away. They command attention. “Obviously this is a very damaged relationship, but those are the most timeless and fascinating ones to explore in the worlds of fiction, literature and film,” Janney said. “There never ceases to be interesting conflict there. It was hard to imagine being that kind of mother and treating your daughter like that.” Many characters who appear in the lead and supporting actress categories are to some extent defined by their motherhood. Those played by Janney and McDormand — the likely winners in their categories — share a fierceness with the detestable mother played by Mo’Nique in “Precious.” All three are a far cry from more traditional depictions of supportive mothers like Sandra Bullock’s in “The Blind Side,” Patricia Arquette’s in “Boyhood” or Brie Larson’s in “Room.” But both ends of the spectrum are necessary, according to Melissa Silverstein, founder of the Women and Hollywood initiative for greater gender diversity in the industry. (So is racial diversity, a quality absent in many of this year’s nominated films.) “What we’re all trying to say is that there are women who are happy, women who are sad, women who are multifaceted, women who are angry and who are vengeful,” she said. The mother-daughter relationship between Laurie Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan’s characters in
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ENVIRONMENT “Lady Bird,” quietly revolutionary in its candid depiction, falls somewhere in the middle. Metcalf plays Marion McPherson, a character whose fierceness stems from anguish over her teenage daughter’s well being. Marion’s remarks often come off as tactless, especially when she and Lady Bird (Ronan) butt heads. Writer-director Greta Gerwig scatters tense moments throughout the film, such as when Marion criticizes her daughter while they try to find her a prom dress at a local thrift store. They bicker while wading through racks, and Lady Bird yells at her mother, “Why can’t you say I look nice?” Marion counters, “Okay, I’m sorry. I was telling you the truth. Do you want me to lie?” Marion’s uncompromising comments parallel the one-liners of snarky sister Cyril Woodcock (Lesley Manville, nominated for supporting actress) in “Phantom Thread.” “Don’t pick a fight with me — you won’t come out alive,” Cyril says to her brother while sipping tea. “I’ll go right through and you’ll end up on the floor.” It wouldn’t have been surprising to hear those same words uttered by so-called poker princess Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) in “Molly’s Game,” nominated for adapted screenplay. A drug addict and criminal, Molly develops a brash, increasingly combative personality while running underground high-stakes poker games. But as with characters like Marion and Mildred, this aggression is rooted in admirable values, according to writer-director Aaron Sorkin, who met with the real-life Bloom. “What was apparent in the first meeting was that she was very smart, very strong, with a wry, sly sense of humor and built out of integrity,” he told The Post in December. “I left that first meeting . . . knowing that the thing I was supposed to be writing at the time, I’m not writing anymore. I’m writing this.” And, though disagreeable, even characters like LaVona resonated with viewers. “A lot of people come up to me and say it reminded them of their mother,” Janney said. “I was floored by that, to imagine that LaVona is a mother that’s out there.” n © The Washington Post
Melding environmentalism, exercise is a real pick-me-up BY
A LLISON K LEIN
ave you recently spotted people toting trash bags while jogging? Or their hands filled with old plastic bottles? You might soon. Sweden’s latest fitness craze — plogging — is making its way to U.S. shores. The term is a mashup of jogging and the Swedish “plocka upp,” meaning pick up. In this case, litter. Across Europe, there are plogging groups in Scandinavia, Germany and beyond. In the United States, it’s just starting to catch on among exercisers who are fed up with rubbish along their route. “I’m not going to just let litter sit there. I’m not going to just walk past that plastic bottle,” said plogger and Alexandria, Va., resident Emily Wright. “It’s not that I don’t think it’s gross to pick it up. I do. But I also think it’s gross for a person to not take responsibility for it.” Wright, 40, has been plogging for several months along the Alexandria waterfront, but just a few weeks ago learned that what she’s been doing has a name. Her partner used to lovingly tease her about her habit of going out for a run-walk for about an hour with a trash bag and plastic gloves. “He used to call it my trash runs,” said Wright, a writer and cellist. “A few weeks ago he said, ‘the Swedes have a name for your trash runs!’” She mostly picks up cigarette butts, bits of foam containers, plastic bottles and bottle caps. “There are an alarming number of full diapers,” she said. “They turn my stomach the most.” Plogging not only helps the environment, it’s quite good for your health. Think squats while jogging. According to the Swedishbased fitness app Lifesum, which made it possible for users to track plogging activity, a halfhour of jogging plus picking up
Maja Tesch, 28, plogs — jogs and picks up trash — in Stockholm.
trash will burn 288 calories for the average person, compared with the 235 burned by jogging alone. A brisk walk will expend about 120. “It makes me feel good for so many reasons,” Wright said. “My pants fit differently. I’m more nipped in at the waist. I think it’s because of balance and flexibility.” In Sweden, plogger Maja Tesch, 28, said she learned about plogging last year, when it became popular in the Scandinavian country. It spread through word-of-mouth, and the hashtag #plogging started popping up on social media. Tesch, a nurse, said she regularly organizes plogging events in which she and friends will pluck litter for a few hours, then spend time hanging outside together around a fire. “I run a lot and I love to spend time in nature. When I find litter out in the woods or in the archipelago it makes me sad and a bit angry. When I heard about plogging it was a natural way to do something about that agitation,” Tesch said in an email. “It’s so easy to just bring the litter and put it in the nearest bin, and it makes you feel that you’re doing a difference!” Laura Lindberg, who lives in Hoboken, N.J., said a few weeks ago she learned about plogging and had what she called an “aha moment.” “It was a no-brainer. I knew I
could incorporate it into my runs,” said Lindberg, 36, who runs four or five days a week. “I suddenly felt guilty for not doing it for all these years I’ve been running. All you need is a bag.” She also takes along a pair of gardening gloves she stuffs into her pocket. “I’ve yet to return without a bag of recyclables and garbage,” said Lindberg, who works in sales for a health insurance company. She said seeing litter on the street used to upset her. “I’d be frustrated by it,” she said. “Then it clicked, duh, I don’t have to be frustrated about it. I can do something about it.” Lindberg said that while she thoroughly enjoys picking up trash in Hoboken, she wouldn’t attempt it where she works in New York City. “With the pace on sidewalks, I’d be infuriating people if I started doing that here in Manhattan,” she said. The environmental organization Keep America Beautiful recently started promoting plogging as a way to encourage trash-free communities. Spokesman Mike Rosen said when the group put out the plogging message to its 600 affiliates, it got a surprising response. “People started saying ‘we do things like this already,’” Rosen said. “In Tennessee they do an event called ‘Trashercize’ that combines exercising with cleaning up community.” But he said for those people who love to jog, going for a plog in its place might not be realistic every time. “I don’t think plogging replaces jogging as a daily activity,” Rosen said. “If you turn your jog into a plog once a week or once a month, or turn your walk into a palk or your hike into pike, you’ll get personal satisfaction. You’ll have an endorphin high from running, and you’ll know you’re helping your community.” n © The Washington Post
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Lippman’s latest is classic noir tale
Looking for a win — and an identity
P ATRICK A NDERSON
aura Lippman, whose novels have won numerous crime-fiction prizes, calls “Sunburn” her first venture into noir, in part inspired by her admiration for James M. Cain’s classic “The Postman Always Rings Twice.” It is indeed a dark tale with no shortage of sex and violence. It is also an impressive achievement, particularly in her creation of Polly Costello, a sometimes lethal woman who may or may not be more sinned against than sinning. Polly, although blessed with a happy childhood, had the misfortune to be impregnated at 17 by a man six years her senior. She married him, and he soon became a drunken, corrupt Baltimore cop who beat her. When he threatened to kill her and their child, who has cerebral palsy, Polly responded by stabbing him in the heart while he slept. In court, her battered-wife defense failed, and she was sentenced to life in prison. Four years later, the governor pardoned her. Freed, Polly again married because of a pregnancy, again regretted her decision and finally set out to escape. It helped that she knew something her husband didn’t: that with the help of a crooked insurance man, Polly had sued the hospital where her first daughter was born and won a settlement that should net her $2 million. Her daughter was by then a ward of the state. Early in the novel, on a beautiful spring day, Polly and her husband and younger daughter are on a trip to a beach near Ocean City (That’s where sunburn comes in). Polly uses this as an opportunity to flee: She ditches her family and catches a ride that leaves her stranded in a small town in Delaware. Polly is broke — her lawyer has yet to deliver Polly’s share of the settlement — so she takes a job as a waitress. Her plan is to win a divorce, collect her money and retrieve both her daughters. One day, a good-looking fellow
named Adam Bosk turns up in the restaurant. He says he’s a traveling salesman, but soon he’s so smitten with Polly that — being an excellent cook — he takes a job there. Polly didn’t want to fall in love, but Adam is clearly a step up from the two men she married. In truth, Adam is not a traveling salesman; he’s a private detective sent to find Polly by the crooked insurance man, who wouldn’t mind seeing her dead. But Adam’s job was to find her, not kill her. Having found her, he complicates matters by falling for her. If I had any problem with this novel, it was accepting that Adam, a bright guy who knows Polly killed her first husband and deserted the second — and may have committed another murder since he met her — would want to marry her. Polly is said to be attractive and to possess an “innate wildness in bed,” but his rush to matrimony nonetheless struck me as dubious. Still, given Lippman’s confident storytelling and the truth, universally acknowledged, that we men are often numskulls where women are concerned, I came to accept Adam’s passion. Everybody’s somebody’s fool. Lippman sums up Polly’s pragmatism thusly: “The goal is never a man. Never. Men are the stones she jumps to, one after another, toward the goal.” Her goals are the insurance money, her daughters and her freedom. Polly is no saint, but she still dreams of a decent life. Lippman’s story builds toward two questions: Whether Polly and Adam will live happily ever after, and whether the crooked insurance man or her spurned husband will try to kill the lovers. That cannot be revealed here, but it’s fair to say that the ending Lippman has devised for her experiment in noir is a total surprise and, this reader thought, a good one. n Anderson writes regularly about thrillers and mysteries for The Washington Post.
T SUNBURN By Laura Lippman Morrow. 292 pp. $26.99
SUPERFANS Into the Heart of Obsessive Sports Fandom By George Dohrmann Ballantine. 202 pp. $27
S TEVEN V . R OBERTS
ed Peetz grew up in Milwaukee, a dedicated fan of the Green Bay Packers. He’s moved around a lot, but as George Dohrmann writes in “Superfans,” “wherever he went, Ted Peetz searched for them, for his people.” His fellow Packers Backers. In Bowling Green, Ohio, Peetz frequented a sports bar where Packers fans drank only beer brewed by Miller, a Milwaukee company. In Las Vegas he found a hangout where “if the Packers scored you got a refill of whatever you were drinking.” And in Nashville, he joined the Music City Packers Backers because “he loved how they tailgated in the parking lot of the Scoreboard Bar & Grill, cooking brats and drinking before the bar even opened.” Peetz embodies the core argument in Dohrmann’s lively book: To real sports fans, the team they root for is central to their identity. What they wear on their T-shirts and ball caps tells the world something important about them. The author quotes Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson: “People must have a tribe. It gives them a name in addition to their own and social meaning in a chaotic world.” One of the best chapters examines a variant on Wilson’s theme: Fans want to be part of a tribe and yet stand out at the same time. Teddy Kervin donned a banana costume one inebriated night at a Milwaukee Brewers game in 2012. A TV camera focused on Kervin, and suddenly he became a media star, the Rally Banana. He wore the costume to games for about a year, until one day, a young woman showed up in a similar get-up. “She is ripping me off,” Teddy fumed to himself. “How can she do this?” That overreaction, writes Dohrmann, “was because his ability to satisfy his need for distinctiveness was threatened, and people might view him (and he might view himself ) as just another fan.” Fandom often connects people
to a specific place, not just a tribe. Sociologist Roger Aden studied supporters of the University of Nebraska football team and concluded, “For Nebraskans, both those living in the state and elsewhere, the team represented a way of life, an agrarian identity, the ‘ethos of the state.’ ” Sports bars have been overshadowed, in a way, by online message boards that give far-flung fans instant access to one another. The risk is that these groups, floating in cyberspace, unmoored from the “values and rituals” Peetz prizes, can quickly turn virulent and vicious. Dohrmann insists that “being an extreme sports fan” makes many people “happier and (mentally) healthier individuals,” but his book is littered with examples of unhealthy behavior. Fans not only worship their teams but despise their rivals, and psychologists worry that children can absorb “black and white” views of the world from “extreme” parents that are damaging and dangerous. This is a compelling book but with sizable flaws. It barely includes baseball (let alone NASCAR) and never once mentions Cubs or Cards, Red Sox or Yankees — franchises that have been eliciting strong loyalties for more than a century. Yes, place and home are important factors in determining fan loyalty, but so are class and ethnicity — issues Dohrmann never touches. This is also a very male-centric book. Still, his basic insight rings true: Being a sports fan means asserting an identity, connecting to a tribe and a time. When I was a child, my dad took me to Yankee Stadium several times a year, and we sat in a box along the first base line owned by his business associate. When I visit the stadium now, I think of my father, look at the first base line and give him a silent salute. n Roberts teaches journalism and politics at George Washington University. This was written for The Washington Post.
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Want to ﬁx Facebook? Make users pay for it. ROGER MCNAMEE is a managing director at Elevation Partners and was an early investor in Google and Facebook. This was written for the Washington Post.
The indictments brought by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in February against 13 individuals and three organizations accused of interfering with the U.S. election offer perhaps the most powerful evidence yet that Facebook and its Instagram subsidiary are harming public health and democracy. The best option for the company — and for democracy — is for Facebook to change its business model from one based on advertising to a subscription service. Facebook has insisted that it bears no responsibility for the consequences of its design choices, despite voluminous evidence that bad actors are exploiting the platform’s design to harm innocent people and undermine democracy around the world. If there was any doubt about this before the indictment, there can be none now. The document outlines how Russia’s Internet Research Agency used Facebook and Instagram as its preferred platforms to gather American followers, spread misinformation and organize events — all with the goal of sowing discord, influencing voters and electing Donald Trump. Facebook and Instagram are mentioned 41 times. Facebook’s advertising business model is hugely profitable, but the incentives are perverse. Using a variety of psychological techniques derived from propaganda and the design of gambling systems, Facebook grabs and holds user attention better than any advertising platform before it. Intensive surveillance enables customization for each of its 2.1 billion users. Algorithms maximize engagement by appealing to emotions such as fear and anger. Facebook groups intensify preexisting beliefs, increasing polarization. And thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones, more than a billion
of Facebook’s users log on to the site every day — a habit no one had 14 years ago. As a result, many have come to identify with ideas that are manifestly not true. It is no exaggeration to say that Facebook’s business model may qualify as parasitic. Despite a firestorm of criticism, Facebook refuses to make material changes to its business practices. It has also refused to provide substantive data about Russian interference to congressional committees, despite several requests. As a result, we can expect interference in the upcoming midterm elections. Anyone can follow the Russian playbook; many are likely to do so. None of this is necessary. Facebook could adopt a business model that does not depend on surveillance, addiction and manipulation: subscriptions. Facebook is uniquely positioned to craft the online equivalent of cable television, combining basic services with a nearly unlimited number of premium offerings that could include news, television and even movies. Facebook could be the Comcast of Cord Cutters. I suspect that the vast majority of users believe that Facebook’s news feed is not as good as it used to be. The advertising load has risen dramatically in recent years, displacing many messages from family and close friends. Addicted customers continue to
JON ELSWICK/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Facebook postings by the group Being Patriotic were released by the House Intelligence Committee as part of its probe into Russia.
use Facebook, but they aren’t as happy. Facebook has disclosed that it generated $82.44 of advertising revenue per user in the United States and Canada over the past year. To match this revenue with a subscription business model, Facebook would need to charge $6.87 per month. In comparison, Netflix offers three streaming plans, at $8, $11 and $14 per month. Consumers spend more time per month on Netflix today than Facebook, but that may reflect product design, rather than value. With a subscriptionoriented approach, Facebook could easily overtake Netflix in usage, as well as value. A subscription model would allow Facebook to improve the user experience dramatically. For example, the basic bundle might include multiple news feeds, such as unfiltered feeds for family, friends and any number of groups, as well as news feeds organized by topic, including news, politics, sports and music. Premium news feeds could include newspapers, magazines, blogs and podcasts, each curated by the publisher. There could also be video news feeds for HBO, Netflix or regional sports networks, as well as audio news feeds for Spotify and Pandora. A cord cutter with a full suite of premium news feeds might
spend as much on Facebook per month as a premium cable customer spends today — $100 or more. Facebook would take a piece of the revenue from every premium service. Facebook could implement a subscription model with no customer acquisition cost because 223 million adults in the United States already use Facebook, roughly equal to cable and satellite television. With the accelerating trend toward cord cutting, Facebook is ideally positioned to win the battle for customers who get their media services over the Internet. There’s also flexibility in rolling out this business model: For example, Facebook might allow customers to choose between its current model and subscriptions. Customers who remained on the advertisingsupported service would still be subject to filter bubbles, addiction and manipulation, but growth in subscriptions would reduce the population of affected people. Subscription services could be implemented not only in the United States but also in most of the developed world. This wouldn’t just be good for Facebook. It would be good for America and for democracy globally. n
14 SUNDAY, MARCH 4, 2018
21 SUNDAY, MONTH DAY, YEAR
In gun debate, it’s apocalypse now MICHAEL GERSON is a nationally syndicated columnist who appears twice weekly in The Post.
It is one of the dirty habits of our political discourse that so many people use thermonuclear rhetorical weapons as a first resort. It is not enough for defenders of gun rights to be wrong; they must be complicit in murder. It is not enough for gun-control advocates to be mistaken; they must be jackbooted thugs laying the groundwork for tyranny. These competing apocalypses, paradoxically, make politics appear smaller — the realm of unbalanced partisans and professional hyperventilators. But more destructively, this type of argument makes incremental change — the kind that our system of government encourages — more difficult. This is a particular shame on the issue of gun violence. The maximal solutions — broad restrictions on gun ownership or fixing the mental-health system — are so difficult or unlikely that they have become obstacles to action. They are something like, on the issue of global warming, recommending that the Earth be moved farther from the sun. But on guns, there is hope in focus. While overall gun violence in America has gone down dramatically in the past few decades, the use of guns in suicides (constituting about twothirds of gun-related deaths) has spiked, and so have mass shootings. Gun use in domestic violence and gun use in gangrelated activity present particular challenges. No single policy
would solve all these problems. But in each discrete area, good policy would make a difference. When it comes to mass killings, we know what the perpetrators generally look like: disappointed loners, motivated by grudges, seeking fame and planning their violence carefully. So here is an answerable public-policy question: What can we do to identify these dangerous malcontents and keep militarygrade weaponry out of their hands? We should be considering: special police task forces that actively identify and track prospective killers instead of passively responding to warnings. Higher age restrictions on gun access. Broader application of gun-violence protective orders that forbid gun
ownership to people exhibiting warning signs. Better education on those warning signs among adults who deal with young men. Media norms against using the names of mass killers, which only encourages their deadly performance art. Surely there are other focused, proactive responses as well. Yet on the left, such ideas are sometimes dismissed as unambitious. And on the right, these proposals reveal a durable division. When it comes to American gun culture, the issue of motivation matters a great deal. If you defend access to guns for sport and self-defense, there is no logical reason to reject reasonable restrictions on firepower and access. Some compromise — focused on keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous and unstable people — is within the realm of possibility. But if you view the ultimate purpose of gun ownership as resistance to a future (or present) tyrannical government, then restrictions on firepower and access are exactly the things a tyrannical government would want. Because the goal of an oppressive state is to have a monopoly on sophisticated weaponry, any incremental movement toward that goal is unacceptable.
This argument — summarized by David French as “the concept of an armed citizenry as a final, emergency bulwark against tyranny” — is perhaps understandable in a country born of revolutionary violence. But more than two centuries removed from the revolution, the concept seems, well, frightening. When I look at many of the people holding the guns, I don’t really view them as legitimate protectors of my rights, or as qualified to make choices about the employment of violence in politics. I don’t view America as halfway to tyranny. And I am grateful that Americans such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — who suffered actual oppression by government — made a principled commitment to nonviolent political change. It is one thing when Thomas Jefferson said “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” It is another thing entirely when your well-armed neighbor says the same. It is not just apocalyptic language but apocalyptic thinking that paralyzes our political system on gun violence. And it is difficult to see how incremental progress can be made unless that mind-set is marginalized. n
SUNDAY, MONTH MARCH 4, YEAR 2018 SUNDAY, DAY,
Domestic violence BY
S USAN R . P AISNER
A documented history of domestic abuse, as we learned from the sto ry of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, right, does not preclude people from working in the White House. To many, such as Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (RUtah) and Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, it seemed shocking that a welleducated, highly accomplished profes sional could be violent. But domestic violence is a complicated and pervasive crime, and it is shrouded in misinformation. MYTH NO. 1 Domestic abuse is only physical. This is why experts, agencies and nonprofits focused on helping victims — such as the Justice Department and the National Domestic Violence Hotline — now describe the crime as composed of an array of elements. Typical is the information provided by the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence: Besides physical abuse, there can be verbal and sexual abuse, isolation, coercion, stalking, economic control, abuse of trust, threats, intimidation, emotional withholding, property destruction, and harm to pets. Because of this, the New York Office for the Prevention of Abuse has just started a campaign to help teenagers recognize the dangers of emotional and verbal abuse: “Teen Dating Abuse is #NotJustPhysical.” Many law enforcement officers, who often handle domestic violence calls, now receive training on how to detect nonphysical domestic abuse. MYTH NO. 2 Men are the only abusers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 7 men in the United States have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, and 29 percent of heterosexual men have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner. For gay men, “the lifetime prevalence of
severe physical violence by an intimate partner (e.g., hit with fist or something hard, slammed against something, or beaten)” was 16.4 percent, the CDC says. In 2008, it took four battered men and a lawsuit by the National Coalition for Men for the California courts to recognize that men are entitled to equal protection and advocacy support from domestic violence shelters. A different breakthrough happened in 2015, when the nation’s first domestic violence shelter for men opened in Arkansas. As Prince George’s County, Md., State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks told me: “It’s just amazing the number of male victims we have had in the last couple of years, including two run over by their wives.” MYTH NO. 3 Domestic abuse is a crime of the poor and uneducated. In truth, domestic abuse is what might be called an ecumenical crime, with no regard for age, ethnicity, financial status or educational background. The problem is learned behavior, not pedigree. Abusers carefully control their actions, choosing who and when to abuse; they don’t, for instance, beat up their bosses. Some label it a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” personality — violent at home, charming and thoughtful everywhere else. Which is why examples of smart and successful abusers abound. Just think of Ike Turner or Chris Brown. Last year, former South Carolina state legislator
ROB PORTER; PHOTO BY MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/SHUTTERSTOCK
Chris Corley pleaded guilty to felony domestic violence charges. Last month, “7th Heaven” and “Party of Five” actor Jeremy London was arrested in Mississippi and charged with misdemeanor domestic violence. I’ll never forget participating in police training in Howard County, Md., in 1978, when a victim told officers, “The first time my husband hit me, I thought: ‘This can’t be happening to me, I have a master’s degree.’ ” MYTH NO. 4 If the victim doesn’t leave, the situation must be tolerable. This is one of the most destructive myths because it diminishes the severity of the abuse and implies that the victim must be comfortable with it. Victims stay in relationships for many reasons, including fear of the abuser (who often threatens harm if they do leave), lack of money, worry about children and lack of transportation. Another, more recent, cause: the threat of deportation. With no reduction in domestic violence reporting from non-Hispanic victims, San Francisco and San Diego recorded declines of 18 percent and 13 percent, respectively, among Hispanics in the first half of 2017, compared with the same period
in 2016. Victims leave and return to a relationship an average of seven times before they leave for good — or are killed. Departure is the most dangerous moment for a victim, because the abuser suddenly faces a loss of control and may lash out. MYTH NO. 5 The abuser just snapped. Domestic violence is not about anger management or an inability to handle stress. Abuse almost always recurs in a cycle, according to Psychology Today, one that’s based largely on demonstrating control. As Natalia Otero, a lawyer and the executive director of D.C. Safe, told me: “One of the oldest myths is that the abuser is out of control. I’ve seen abusers come into court quite eloquent, quite clear about what they know and what they want from their partner and from the system. Violence for them is not a random act — it is a way of controlling a situation.” n Paisner, a Maryland criminologist and writer, formerly trained law enforcement professionals on responding to domestic violence calls and implementing domestic violence policies. This was written for The Washington Post.
Published on Mar 9, 2018