“This is the week that Trump found out everyone hates him—and I don’t mean people like me, I mean the people that work for him,” announced Bill Maher.
After a brief hiatus, the comedian returned to his HBO program Real Time to discuss the events of the past couple of weeks, including the one story everyone can’t stop talking about: the anonymously-penned New York Times op-ed from a member of the “resistance inside the Trump administration.” According to the piece, written by a Trump official, “many of the senior officials in [Trump’s] own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
Jimmy Kimmel—and many on Twitter—believe that the op-ed was written by Mike Pence, given how it used the curious word “lodestar,” a term that Pence has taken to using rather often.
But Maher has another theory. “I think it’s General Kelly. I do,” he said on Friday night’s Real Time. “First of all, I think the McCain funeral was the last straw for several people. Look, he’s not been happy for a very long time…The list of people who have called the president an idiot… Kelly has been in there. I think in the Woodward book he says something like, ‘We’re in crazytown, there’s no point in even trying to talk to him. He doesn’t understand anything.’”
Kelly’s full quote on Trump, according to Bob Woodward’s new book Fear, is: “He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.”
Unlike some who’ve criticized the op-ed as a lame attempt to insulate the Republican establishment from Trump post-2020, Maher commended the person behind it.
“I would like to say to them, ‘Thank you for your service.’ Seriously,” he said. “Let me explain why. The United States has made the same mistake overseas so many times. Take out Saddam Hussein or somebody we don’t like, and not think about: what comes next? Yes, Saddam Hussein was terrible, but what came next? ISIS. What comes next if these people, who are preventing him from doing really crazy things, go? I think General Kelly would love to leave. This has got to be worse than Iraq. He said it. He said, ‘This is the worst job I’ve ever had.’ He was in Fallujah.”
The one-two punch of the Times op-ed and the Woodward book has caused Trump to act even more unhinged than usual, with the president and members of his administration even floating the idea of administering lie-detector tests to officials.
“Trump is so pissed off,” said Maher. “He says The New York Times must turn [them] over. Turn Turn ‘em over? What fuckin’ country does he think he lives in, where we turn people over for ‘national security purposes?’”
“After these two things came out, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who worked in the administration who hasn’t at some point called him an idiot, or some version of that,” said Maher. “The paranoia level in that White House…They’re even talking about how everyone in the White House is going to have to take a lie-detector test. A lie-detector test? For the Trump administration? We don’t do that in America. We don’t have enough electricity.”