The word assume is both quite funny and significant. It is true that when and if people assume too freely and easily, they often fall into the trap of being an ASS along with the person who mislead them.

Cohen Trump’s former personal counsel—now in jail for doing some of Trump’s dirty work—when asked during his trial how he understood Trump’s instructions, said Trump had a way of saying things obliquely. For example, if Trump wanted to see someone’s tax returns, he might say “I wonder if X has cheated on his tax returns?” Cohen took that to mean “Go get those tax returns!”

Cohen’s view was that Trump was clever enough to know what he should NOT do, that he never would say in so many words what he really wanted.

The QUID PRO QUO debate turns in large part on what Trump said. When there was still uncertainty about the connection between the withheld military aid to Ukraine and a Biden investigation Trump had demanded, Trump at that point in time volunteered out of the blue “Mind you there is no quid pro quo” which was the first time that phrase came into frequent use.

What possibly brought that phrase into Trump’s mind? Obviously, it was on Trump’s mind that there was in fact a quid pro quo which he had demanded, so in his oblique way, per Cohen’s observation, he said the reverse meaning there was in fact one that was worrying him.

This recalls a fascinating anecdote about J P Morgan. A Morgan partner –Lamont–had invited Mr. Morgan for tea.  Lamont invited his teen age son to join AND warned the boy NOT to notice or mention Mr. Morgan’s famous red nose. As the boy passed the tea and sugar to Mr. Morgan he asked Mr. Morgan “Would you like one or two noses with your tea.”

History is not clear on what happened to the boy.

But it was clear that the father’s advice on the nose was central in the boy’s mind which is how and why he made the mistake.

Trump spoke the truth in an inadvertent way when he brought up the very point he wanted to suppress.

I guess we could all agree that Trump at a minimum is an ASS!


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