Why do they take the abuse?

In yet another new book about serial sex abuser Donald Trump (SSAT), we read about how he lets loose with lengthy abusive attacks on those around him whom he feels have let him down.

The extent of Donald Trump’s frustrations over the timing of his multiple scheduled court appearances in the thick of the 2024 presidential race, as well as the disdain with which he treats his own lawyers, is laid bare in a new book by Jonathan Karl.

The Washington correspondent for ABC News reveals Trump’s furious reaction when told by a Manhattan judge earlier this year that his criminal trial in the Stormy Daniels hush-money case would start on 25 March 2024. That places it right in the middle of the Republican primaries, and just 20 days before the all-important Super Tuesday in which 15 states decide their preferred candidate.

Karl relates in his new book, Tired of Winning: Donald Trump and the End of the Grand Old Party, how the former president responded angrily as he heard the date virtually as he sat in his Florida home, Mar-a-Lago.

He turned to one of his key lawyers, Todd Blanche, and yelled: “That’s in the middle of the primaries! If I lose the presidency, you are going to be the reason!”

Trump’s tantrum lasted almost half an hour, Karl reports, based on an anonymous source present in the room. When the court hearing was over, and the cameras were turned off, the former president launched what Karl describes as “a withering attack on perhaps the most highly regarded lawyer on Trump’s troubled legal team”.

“You little fucker!” Trump shouted in Blanche’s face. “You are going to cost me the presidency!” He went on to rant against other lawyers in his team, saying: “They want me to be indicted!”

I can understand low-level employees having little choice but to take the abuse. But powerful lawyers like Blanche are wealthy and don’t really need SSAT’s business. They could presumably tell him to go to hell and walk off.

But they don’t and seemingly sit there and take it meekly. Why?


  1. John Morales says

    Perhaps it doesn’t particularly bother them.
    After all, it’s just an old bloke venting and having a bit of a tantrum.

    Might even be entertaining!

  2. John Morales says

    This bit from the article amuses me the most:
    “The book also contains a priceless anecdote about an exchange between then president Trump and the former German chancellor Angela Merkel. Following the engagement, he bragged to a Republican congressman, who promptly shared the story with Karl, that Merkel had gone out of her way to compliment Trump over the large crowds he attracted at his rallies.

    “She said she could never get crowds like that,” Trump is reported to have gloated. “In fact, she told me that there was only one other political leader who ever got crowds as big as mine.”

    Karl notes drily that the congressman was left wondering whether Trump had any idea of the individual to whom Merkel was alluding. “Which would be more unsettling: that he didn’t or that he did?” the author writes.”

  3. jenorafeuer says

    I may have mentioned it before, but on another blog one of the regulars who happens to be a lawyer was pointing out language in one of the contracts Trump had with one of his lawyers, language that the court had mandated. (I don’t remember which case this was for, but it was one of the ones that required a security clearance on the part of the lawyer reviewing documents, so the court had to approve the lawyers in question.) This clause in the agreement basically said that failure of payment would not be sufficient reason to terminate the agreement.

    The obvious reason for this from the court’s standpoint is that otherwise Trump could keep up a legal team churn as a delaying tactic, as he’s done that in the past, and Trump has very obviously been wanting to delay any and all court cases until after the election if he can.

    So there has been at least one case where the lawyer puts up with the abuse because he’s pretty much been ordered by the court to, no matter what Trump thinks of him.

    In many of the other cases, I expect it’s down to selection bias. Anybody who would actually want to work for Trump at this point is likely a True Believer.

  4. says

    Another reason they take the abuse is that maybe they’re afraid of being ostracized (or worse) by Trump’s supporters if they walk out on him. That may not be much of a threat for someone who has other friends, interests and support-circles; but someone who’s stuck with an abusive bigoted toxic con-man like Trump long enough, may not have any alternative friend-circles left.

  5. SchreiberBike says

    What are Trump’s lawyers hourly rates? I’d take abuse for $200 an hour and I’ll bet they are charging a lot more than that. The other thing to keep in mind is that Trump doesn’t seem to mind wasting his own money yelling at people and accomplishing nothing.

  6. nifty says

    SchrieberBike- of course with Trump’s business history I would be darn sure to be paid in advance!

  7. says

    I’m not a huge fan of sociology. That’s my disclaimer.

    In “the authoritarians” Bob Altemeyer identifies what he calls an “authoritarian submissive” -- that is basically someone who’s just waiting for a boss to follow. They don’t care if that boss beats or abuses them or gets them killed -- in fact that ratifies their sense of importance. Sound familiar? Well, that’s sociology.

  8. lanir says

    Pretty sure I’ve heard of at least one of these high profile lawyers getting paid in advance. That’s what Trump has to do to get real talent these days. I would bet that came with some contractual obligations as well.

    Guessing most talented lawyers are not keen on the idea of trying to outrun contractual penalties the way Trump always wants to, either. Trump’s contracts may well give those penalties teeth since he’s acutely aware of how some random fool can try to outrun that sort of thing. Being somewhat on guard against someone using your own trick against you is the type of low grade clever almost any scumbag can pull off.

  9. Holms says

    Tantrums can be funny if you are taking lots of that person’s money and have been paid in advance.

    #9 Bam, there you go.

  10. flex says

    Well, I’ve heard lawyer’s talk about such a thing as professional ethics….

    Okay, stop laughing now.

  11. REBECCA WIESS says

    Retired lawyer here: in my state, and I think in most, a lawyer cannot just quit on a criminal defendant. You have to have the permission of the court. The contract provision referred to #3 above is boilerplate. Note that this applies to lawyers who officially appear in court proceedings as representing the defendant -- there may be a whole team of support lawyers, and they are free to go. The closer to trial, the harder it is for a lawyer to be released by the court. This prevents defendants from causing endless delays by breaking up with their lawyer just before trial. Better get the retainer up front.

  12. birgerjohansson says

    Rebecca Wiess @ 13
    With rules preventing them from breaking off from that abrasive dimwit, they should protest by showing up in court in a gimp suit.

  13. jenorafeuer says

    Nah, that just makes them look stupid. A lawyer who is really annoyed with a client has all sorts of passive-aggressive ways of undermining their client without making it obvious or making it look bad on them.

    Fair enough, I am not a lawyer myself (and the lawyer on the blog I was mentioning was English, so there may be differences in standard practices) so that may be more common than I thought.

    One of the few cases I know of a lawyer who ‘fired’ a client up here close to the trial was the original lawyer for Canadian serial killer Paul Bernardo. After his partner had accepted a plea deal at her own trial and turned Crown’s Evidence against him, his lawyer tried to convince Bernardo to plead guilty and accept a deal because he knew that there was no way this was going to end well. Bernardo kept up his ‘smartest guy in the room’ attitude and refused because he’d got away with everything so far and he was convinced he could get away with this as well. Eventually the lawyer said ‘I can no longer represent this client’ and handed off all of what he had in his possession with regards to the case… which included the video tape that Bernardo had previously hidden in his house and that the police had been looking for ever since the initial arrest. Needless to say, things went even worse for him after that, and the lawyer didn’t exactly escape unscathed either.

  14. says

    Why does any abuse victim stay with their abuser?
    First, they often have come to believe they deserve it, and don’t deserve better.
    And second, because the abuse escalates when they do try to leave. It takes, on average, seven attempts before a victim successfully leaves their abuser. And then you throw in the power dynamics in play, and you see the insane amount of control the abuser-in-chief had (thinks he still has), and his unstable (and declining) mental state? The safest option is to stay, keep your head down, and try to go unnoticed as much as possible until you have a safe way to escape.

  15. sonofrojblake says

    @16: sometimes things aren’t about you. Did you even read #3 and #13, or did you just read the title of the post and reflexively begin typing?

  16. Silentbob says

    @ ^

    So what if they did fuckwit? It doesn’t affect you in any way whatsoever, so how about pulling your head in?

  17. Holms says

    ^ So what if he comments, fuckwit? Sonof’s comment doesn’t affect you in any way whatsoever, so how about pulling your head in?

    I wonder if you will get the point of this reply.

  18. says

    sonofrojblake @17: How the hell was WMDKitty “making it about themself?” They talked about abusive behavior, on a thread titled “Why do they take the abuse?” And it’s certainly relevant here, both because Trump himself is well known to be an abusive hateful buffoon, and because this sort of abusive/controlling mindset is baked into the Republican Party itself, almost as much as it’s baked into longstanding Tsarist thinking.

    Just for starters, have a look at many Republicans’ stated contempt and disdain, not only for most of our longstanding allies, but for the very idea of having allies and engaging with the rest of the world. I know I’m not the only American who sees the similarity between that mindset and abusers’ tendency to isolate their victims from any kind of friends or friendships not 100% under the abusers’ control.

  19. sonofrojblake says

    @20: subtitles for the hard of thinking? Of course I can oblige.
    For starters, the “look at me” nym.

    They talked about abusive behavior, on a thread titled “Why do they take the abuse?”

    Well, yes, but as I pointed out they seemed completely oblivious that the “abuse” in question in this case was blustering verbal abuse of extremely well paid lawyers, dealing with a rather dull witted but angry client. To say this has very little connection to e.g. domestic abuse or coercive control is stretching the bounds of understatement.

    In short, they’d decided what they were going to say beforehand based purely on the presence of a single word in the title of the post, and fuck consistency with the actual subject, because what they had to say is IMPORTANT, dammit!

    Textbook narcissism, in other words.

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