Would a theoretical Donald Trump White House be the most ruthlessly paranoid and slimiest administration since probably Richard Nixon? Intuitively I think we would all say “Yes,” and new evidence suggests: “Yes!!!!”
BuzzFeed has a new and great report about Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago compound. You remember Mar-A-Lago from this photo of 15-year-old Ivanka Trump caressing her father’s face as they sit on two concrete parrots, and also from having employed a butler who advocated hanging Barack Obama. Mar-A-Lago is an enormous mansion with hundreds of rooms that Trump rents out to guests, but his family keeps a residence on the grounds as well.
According to BuzzFeed’s sources, Trump kept what was essentially a switchboard in his bedroom that allowed him to tap into phone calls made by any of the hundred or so people staying at Mar-A-Lago:
BuzzFeed News spoke with six former employees familiar with the phone system at the estate.
Four of them — speaking on condition of anonymity because they signed nondisclosure agreements — said that Trump listened in on phone calls at the club during the mid-2000s. They did not know if he eavesdropped more recently.
They said he listened in on calls between club employees or, in some cases, between staff and guests. None of them knew of Trump eavesdropping on guests or members talking on private calls with people who were not employees of Mar-a-Lago. They also said that Trump could eavesdrop only on calls made on the club’s landlines and not on calls made from guests’ cell phones.
The existence of the switchboard was confirmed even by BuzzFeed sources who maintain that Trump did not use it for nefarious purposes, but I’m having a hard time thinking of someone who I would trust less with the power to choose to eavesdrop on his guests than Donald Trump.