STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

We are all Sam Nunberg

Let's get something straight. I am Sam Nunberg. You are Sam Nunberg. In a way, every American who feels disoriente...

Posted: Mar 6, 2018 4:05 PM
Updated: Mar 6, 2018 4:06 PM

Let's get something straight. I am Sam Nunberg. You are Sam Nunberg. In a way, every American who feels disoriented by the bizarre reality of Trump World is Sam Nunberg.

A former Donald Trump campaign aide, Nunberg dominated a 24-hour news cycle with his wild rants about how he plans to defy special prosecutor Robert Mueller's subpoena -- a claim he later walked back from.

But earlier in the day, in an interview with Gloria Borger of CNN, he exclaimed, "Screw that. Why do I have to go? Why? For what?"

On one level, Nunberg might be seen as a man stripped of his power standing up to the most powerful. I mean, who hasn't fantasized about saying "No!" to a big demand?

But the key element of L'affair Nunberg isn't his response to Mueller's demand for records and testimony. It is the sad spectacle of a man whose torment appears to have begun when he got close to Trump.

Never an A-list political operative, Nunberg worked briefly for Trump but was fired in 2014 when he arranged for an interview that didn't go well for the boss. Trump then brought him back into the fold, only to fire him again when it was revealed that Nunberg had written a variety of racially charged social media posts.

The pattern is familiar. Trump dangles power and opportunity before a job candidate with few qualifications. He puts him under intense pressure and humiliates him when he fails.

After he was cast out for the last time, Nunberg apparently began to examine what happened and concluded that Trump "treated me like crap." He then argued that Trump brought the Russia investigation on himself. "Donald Trump caused this," said Nunberg on CNN, "because he's an idiot."

Nunberg isn't the only one who has experienced Trump's cruel leadership style. Trump has openly and repeatedly criticized his attorney general Jeff Sessions -- prompted by Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Trump has called Sessions' leadership style at the Department of Justice "disgraceful" on Twitter and reportedly called him "Mr. Magoo" behind his back.

But individuals aren't the only recipients of Trump's cruelty. Through Trump has claimed to love the Dreamers, he put them in legal limbo when he canceled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. And though he left it to Congress to fix, Congress has yet to succeed -- missing its March 5th deadline and adding to the anxiety of the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients.

In a similar way, Trump has toyed with survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting by supporting new gun-control regulations one moment and reversing himself in another. The pain experienced by the Dreamers and the survivors of gun violence is real and directly related to Trump's heedless way of operating.

The record of this behavior goes way back. Whether he was dragging his first wife Ivana through an ugly divorce that made tabloid headlines or yanking health insurance away from a sick grandnephew after the child's parents sued Trump, he has long demonstrated a remarkable ability to be cruel. With his social media attacks on the likes of Rosie O'Donnell and Ted Cruz's wife Heidi, Trump has shown he has no shame -- and rather enjoys indulging in it.

Comforted by his wealth and power and with apparently little empathy for those he hurt, Trump has made an art out of denigrating others and promoting himself. Along the way he has collected effective enablers and jettisoned those, like Nunberg, who didn't quite fit the paradigm Trump established. The same dynamic rules the White House, which explains the turmoil there, and it impacts every American who recognizes that Trump is at best, incompetent, and at worst, destructive.

Nunberg's response captured cable news' attention because most of us feel at least a little of the despair and anxiety he must feel as Mueller's subpoena brings him ever closer to the center of the storm. He's a bit player, lacking the resources to protect himself.

In one of his defiant interviews, he insisted to Erin Burnett that he hadn't been drinking. He then added that he was taking anti-depressants. The viewer's only reasonable reaction would be, "Of course he is," because anyone whose so close to the alarming mess that is the Trump presidency should be depressed.

Nunberg deserves our empathy. Yes, he brought some of the pain upon himself. However, he has also been abused and misused. He's a man who reached the end of his ability to cope with Trump. Most of us have an idea of how that feels.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16041

Reported Deaths: 767
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds103526
Lauderdale74568
Madison74525
Neshoba70742
Jones66331
Scott66112
Forrest59439
DeSoto5538
Leake44712
Rankin4468
Holmes43928
Copiah3154
Jackson30813
Attala30318
Yazoo2864
Newton2824
Leflore27334
Lincoln27029
Monroe26525
Harrison2637
Oktibbeha25314
Lamar2485
Lowndes2309
Wayne2242
Pearl River21131
Pike20411
Adams20015
Noxubee1916
Washington1917
Warren18110
Covington1732
Jasper1654
Lee1657
Bolivar16511
Clarke15419
Smith15311
Kemper14711
Lafayette1414
Chickasaw13714
Coahoma1274
Winston1211
Marion1179
Carroll11711
Clay1154
Claiborne1122
Lawrence1061
Simpson1020
Grenada993
Yalobusha966
Tate951
Hancock9112
Itawamba897
Wilkinson859
Union857
Sunflower853
Montgomery851
Panola843
Marshall813
Jefferson Davis803
Tippah7611
Webster683
Calhoun674
Amite641
Walthall610
Humphreys597
Tunica563
Prentiss563
Perry513
Choctaw482
Pontotoc433
Jefferson431
Tishomingo340
Quitman340
Stone310
Franklin292
Tallahatchie291
George261
Greene221
Alcorn181
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 18474

Reported Deaths: 651
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2283118
Jefferson1882103
Montgomery180243
Tuscaloosa81616
Marshall7059
Franklin5768
Lee55234
Shelby52220
Tallapoosa43166
Butler41618
Walker3782
Elmore3739
Chambers35826
Madison3444
Morgan2971
Baldwin2929
Unassigned2922
Dallas2823
Etowah26112
DeKalb2563
Lowndes25512
Autauga2395
Coffee2381
Sumter2267
Houston2235
Bullock2136
Pike2080
Colbert1872
Hale1789
Russell1770
Barbour1751
Marengo1746
Lauderdale1672
Calhoun1653
Choctaw15310
Wilcox1527
Cullman1501
Clarke1482
St. Clair1311
Randolph1287
Marion12411
Dale1230
Pickens1215
Talladega1175
Limestone1080
Chilton1041
Greene954
Winston910
Macon864
Jackson833
Henry812
Covington811
Crenshaw783
Bibb761
Escambia743
Washington726
Blount631
Lawrence510
Monroe442
Geneva430
Perry420
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar260
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Tupelo
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Columbus
Broken Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 74°
Oxford
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 68°
Starkville
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather