real life
July 14, 2017

To recap: The president's son is in trouble for meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer during the campaign to receive potentially incriminating information concerning Hillary Clinton, a rendezvous that was set up by Harambe-defending music publicist Rob Goldstone, who, in addition to wearing "silly hats," happens to represent an Azerbaijani pop star named Emin Agalarov.

Believe it or not, this is where things get interesting.

Agalarov — who tours under his first name alone — once featured Donald Trump, playing himself, in a music video about a man (Agalarov) who daydreams that Miss Universe 2013 contestants have invaded his home (despite this being slightly terrifying, he appears to like it, and jumps on his couch to illustrate his enthusiasm). The man then wakes up only to find himself being fired by Trump in a boardroom. It makes sense when you watch it, sort of.

During the "you're fired" cameo at the end of the video, Trump unnecessarily brings Agalarov's looks into the equation, telling him: "You're just another pretty face, I'm really tired of you." In real life, this sentiment does not carry over. "EMIN was WOW!" Trump has tweeted, without context.

On his website, Agalarov brags that he is "the first person ever to persuade Donald Trump to appear in a music video." He might have had some leverage, though: Agalarov's father, a billionaire real estate developer who rented Trump the Crocus City Hall in Moscow for the Miss Universe 2013 pageant, was afterward informed by Trump, in all-caps, that TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next.

Any questions? No? Watch the music video below and you might think of a few. Jeva Lange

January 30, 2017

President Donald Trump accused Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) of crying "fake tears" when Schumer delivered an emotional opposition Sunday to Trump's executive order on immigration. "I noticed Chuck Schumer yesterday with fake tears," Trump said Monday. "I'm going to ask him who was his acting coach because I know him very well. I don't see him as a crier."

Schumer got teary-eyed in his speech Sunday, calling Trump's order "mean-spirited and un-American."

"There's about a 5 percent chance it was real," Trump said.

It is not the first time Trump has weighed in on the validity of someone's emotions. Last January, Trump confirmed he believed Barack Obama "was sincere" when the president teared up announcing his executive action on gun control. Jeva Lange

January 23, 2017

If you're just tuning in, "President Donald Trump" is no longer a CGI fantasy — but it once was. In June 2016, a month before the Republican National Convention, a video called "Japanese Donald Trump commercial" went viral for its zany prediction of what life would look like after Trump is elected "world president":

Director Mike Diva made the video, and in it he envisions a kaleidoscopic planet where Trump "is everywhere," ABC News reports, "on the trees, on the head of an alpaca, as a military leader, and as a dancer." Trump also turns into a robot and destroys the planet, but the video is apparently intentionally ambiguous on if it supports Trump or is made against him.

No matter what its exact intention, the "commercial" is certainly entertaining — especially now that, in some form or another, it could actually become reality. Learn more about Diva and his motivation for making the commercial here. Jeva Lange

May 24, 2016

You know it's bad when North Korea calls you out for propagandizing, but that's exactly what a senior official said Monday when slamming Donald Trump's suggestion that the mogul would meet with leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump said last week that he would be willing to meet with Kim to try to halt Pyongyang's nuclear program, Reuters reports. However, North Korea said Trump's proposal was a "kind of propaganda or advertisement" in his election race.

"It is up to the decision of my Supreme Leader whether he decides to meet or not, but I think [Trump's] idea or talk is nonsense," North Korea's ambassador to the U.N. So Se Pyong said. "This is useless, just a gesture for the presidential election. There is no meaning, no sincerity." Jeva Lange

May 23, 2016

For the price of $1,195, journalists headed to Cleveland for the Republican National Convention can go into the affair with the kinds of skills needed to report in a war zone. Paul Burton, the training director for Global Journalist Security, usually counsels photographers and writers preparing to enter conflict zones like Afghanistan and Iraq, but he recently offered a special course to journalists covering the Republican convention in Cleveland, The New Yorker reports.

A retired British commando, Burton served in the invasion of the Falkland Islands and ran operations in Northern Ireland before joining Global Journalist Security. "Trump's supporters have been primed to be aggressive," the former military man told his students. "We've got a feeling something may happen, especially if Trump doesn't get what he wants."

Training included learning jiu-jitsu moves as well as how to treat burns, breaks, and chest wounds. Burton also walked his students through simulated conventions, rallies, and Black Lives Matter protests:

Next: a maze called the Old City, in the rear of the warehouse. In one scenario, a mock Trump rally, a tape of Trump's voice played ("The money that's being drained out of our economy is enormous"), while six instructors, posing as amped-up supporters, set upon the press. "Get the f--k out of here!" one yelled. Another yanked on the photographer's camera strap and shouted, "F--king scumbag!" The journalists retreated to safety.

"You did well," Burton said. "You're not going to be able to reason with them. You're not going to get any good interviews. All you're thinking of is trying to deescalate and get the hell out of there." [The New Yorker]

Desperate times do indeed call for desperate measures, it seems. Read more about how journalists and photographers are preparing for the convention in The New Yorker. Jeva Lange

March 2, 2016

The newly appointed chair of the Republican Party in Travis County, Texas, has what you might call "a reputation." Robert Morrow, who will assume his new post in June, has scandalized the other Republicans in office with his recent win.

"We will explore every single option that exists, whether it be persuading him to resign, trying to force him to resign, constraining his power, removing his ability to spend money or resisting any attempt for him to access data or our social media account," vice chair Matt Mackowiak told The Texas Tribune.

Morrow's response? "Tell them they can go f--k themselves."

While many of Morrow's tweets are so sexually explicit and libelous that they aren't worth sharing (a quick scroll through his Twitter feed turns them up quickly enough for anyone curious about what kind of person can actually get elected in this country), The Texas Tribune included enough details to give a marginally cleaner portrait of Morrow. Below, some of Morrow's most outrageous statements that are just barely fit to print. Jeva Lange

1. "Is Hillary Clinton really an angry bull dyke? Bill says so!!"

2. "Many women say Bill Clinton's penis is 'not presidential timber.'"

3. "The Bushes are criminals and should be in jail."

4. "Marco needs to go to those gay foam parties."

5. "Very likely Marco Rubio a gayman who got married."

6. These insane emails he sends to reporters:

7. This:

Though Morrow has tweeted often about sexually explicit acts involving Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton and his last several Facebook profile pictures were of scantily clad women, he said he denies any charge that he is sexist.

"It's derogatory toward Hillary Clinton because I hate Hillary Clinton," he told the Tribune. "But I'm not sexist. Why would you ask that? I'm not sexist."

"I like beautiful women, I celebrate feminine beauty," Morrow added. “I'm like Donald Trump — I love women." [Texas Tribune]

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