When Donald Trump Jr. published his emails in which he openly colluded with Russian agentsto receive damaging information on Hillary Clinton, a number of articles saw parallels with The Godfather films, and compared Trump’s son to the hapless Fredo Corleone:
— Jerry Lanson (@jerrylanson) 12. Juli 2017
Donald Trump is the head of the family in the same way that Brando’s Vito Corleone was the head of his clan. Vito was a self-made man who dragged himself up from poverty though crime and made himself and his family rich and powerful in the process. Trump likes to put himself forward as a self-made tycoon who is the greatest of dealmakers—neglecting to acknowledge that his wealth was inherited from his father.
As Martin Carter notes in the IB Times,
Ivanka, the most visible of the Trump children, corresponds neatly with Vito’s daughter, Connie (played by Talia Shire, Coppola’s sister). Connie is supposedly the good daughter, not involved in the family business, but is eventually scarred by it. Connie becomes something of a black widow but also enormously influential in the Corleone clan structure. By the third part of the trilogy, she is not only feeding poisoned pasta to rival mobsters but is also the de facto capo bastone (underboss) of the Corleone family (almost unheard of in such a patriarchal organisation).
On the other hand, Matthew Norman in The Independent asks, hilariously, “When most of the planet reckons you’re running a mafia crime family from the Oval Office, and things are beginning to fall apart, who better to hire to speak for you than someone by the name of Anthony Scaramucci?”
He goes on to say that Scaramucci seems ideally cast:
With his…slickly abrasive manner, and hair an unlikely shade of raven for a 53-year-old, this is just the guy any frantically worried Don would want fronting an operation with the Feds and media closing in.
Within hours of Friday’s allegiance-swearing ceremony, when he became a made man, he was burying the evidence. Admittedly, deleting tweets is futile in the age of the screenshot. But, by going through the motions, he showed proper respect and loyalty to the capo di tutti capi.
Norman is referring to Scaramucci’s deletion of old Twitter posts that might have proved embarrassing to Trump:
Full transparency: I’m deleting old tweets. Past views evolved & shouldn’t be a distraction. I serve @POTUS agenda & that’s all that matters
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) 22. Juli 2017
Some of those tweets praised Hillary Clinton (“incredibly competent”) and Jeb Bush (“will make a great President”). Others argued for stronger gun control (“just common sense”), attacked climate change deniers, and called Islam “a religion of peace”. In one, from 2012, he labelled himself “for gay marriage, against the death penalty, and pro-choice.” Last year, he tweeted “Walls don’t work. Never have, never will.”
Now Scaramucci has to handle Trump’s Russia woes:
Trump’s palpable desperation to fire Robert Mueller, although thwarted for the moment, illuminates his terror of what the special counsel investigating collusion might find. As does his musing about the presidential right to override the justice system of the US, which prides itself on being as a nation of laws. “All agree the US President has the complete power to pardon,” he tweeted yesterday.
All do not agree. Since no President has ever tried to pardon himself, which must be the notion implicit in that “complete,” this is uncharted constitutional territory. But all may agree that the tweet points to a deeply troubled state of mind.
In The Sopranos, Norman notes, a sense of almost inevitable doom hung over the central character. With the FBI on his case, close associates “turning rat” and talking to the Feds, and rivals encircling him trying to scent blood, it felt less like a question of whether the axe would fall than when and how. “More and more,” he says, “this is how it feels watching Donald Trump.”
Like Tony Soprano, Trump is going to fight dirty with every weapon at his disposal:“obfuscation, blanket denial, lawsuits, half-truths, outright lies, veiled threats, overt threats, blackmail and bribery, firing lawyers, hiring lawyers, smearing investigators, projecting his sins on to his enemies”—a strategy has served him well, at least until now.
But by openly contemplating using the pardon for his family and himself, Trump is cementing the impression that his story is driven by an internal dynamic too powerful to be reversed—even by a hyper-aggressive communications director.