Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is a weekly columnist and senior writer for The American Prospect. He also writes for the Plum Line blog at The Washington Post and The Week and is the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

The Shutdown -- and All the Other Trump Chaos -- Is Just What We Expected

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin President Donald Trump's hands are folded as he speaks in the Oval Office of the White House. W hen controversy arose in 2016 over Trump University, the defunct operation in which Donald Trump conned gullible and desperate customers out of thousands of dollars and in some cases their life savings, the Republican presidential nominee insisted that in fact the attendees at the real estate seminars couldn't have been happier with the wealth-creating secrets they had learned. In fact, he said , the program received "98 percent approval rating by the students that took the course—98 percent," a series of "beautiful statements" attesting to their satisfaction. "That's why I won't settle the case." In the end, Trump did settle the case, paying his victims $25 million. But I bring this up because what he's saying now about the government shutdown has such a familiar ring to it. The people Trump is victimizing are, in his telling, enthusiastic about not being able to...

Trump's Wall Keeps Getting Smaller

AP Photo/Moises Castillo Honduran asylum seekers are taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents after the group crossed the U.S. border wall into San Diego, California. I f you're an ardent Trump supporter, the president is not making things easy for you. This is particularly true when it comes to his "big, beautiful wall" that was supposed to stretch from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, not just a physical barrier to immigrants but a symbol of all the hopes you poured into Trump's candidacy. Two years into his presidency it still hasn't risen out of the desert, it doesn't look like it's getting closer, and all the president offers you for his failure to deliver on his promise is excuses and misdirection. For a brief moment last week, it appeared that some sense would prevail in Donald Trump's White House. Just as he had on multiple occasions before, the president threatened to veto the spending bill necessary to keep the government open unless he got funding earmarked...

The Worst Mistake of Their Lives

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, leaves the federal courthouse in Washington. W hen Michael Cohen first put Donald Trump in his sights, he obviously had a plan. Over a decade ago, Cohen owned a number of apartments in Trump-branded buildings when he intervened on Trump's side in a dispute on the condo board of Trump World Tower, in which some tenants wanted to remove Trump's name from the building. With Cohen's help the pro-Trump side prevailed, and The Donald was so impressed he brought Cohen into his inner circle. You can imagine what Cohen thought at that point. Here I am, working for the famous Donald Trump! This is going to be great for me. Money, prestige, globetrotting excitement—anything is possible. Cohen's association with Trump did indeed get him those things, at least for a while. But now that association is sending him to jail. We're seeing something similar with many of Trump's associates. They looked at Trump, a larger-than-life figure...

The Trump Scandals Were Inevitable

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson Michael Cohen walks out of federal court in New York. I n a sentencing memo explaining why they believe Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen should get substantial jail time, federal prosecutors contended on Friday that the president of the United States directed a scheme to violate election laws by making large unreported payments to buy the silence of two women who say they had affairs with him. Meanwhile, special counsel Robert Mueller argued for leniency, hinting at more revelations to come regarding Russia: "Cohen provided the [special counsel's office] with useful information concerning certain discrete Russia-related matters core to its investigation that he obtained by virtue of his regular contact with [Trump Organization] executives during the campaign," Mueller wrote. As extraordinary as it is to hear prosecutors make this accusation in an official document, you might not have greeted them with the shock they deserve, since we've know about...

Republicans Against Democracy

Steve Apps/Wisconsin State Journal via AP Wisconsin State Senator Scott Fitzgerald, right, smiles after being elected to the post of Senate Majority Leader during a meeting of the Senate Republican caucus in the State Capitol. " Can we really get away with this?" It's a question I've often wondered if Republicans ask themselves, but all evidence suggests that if it comes up, the answer they give is, "Sure—why the hell not?" And with good reason. Since Donald Trump became president we've heard a lot about norms, the informal expectations and patterns of behavior that govern much of the political world. We've discussed them because Trump so often breaks them, in ways small and large. There's no law saying the president has to release his tax returns, or can't publicly demand that the Justice Department investigate his political opponents—it's just how everyone accepted that things would work. But Trump, who has spent a lifetime being taught that he can do whatever he wants, determined...

Pages