Ahh, this has been one of those days where the Schadenfreude ("malicious joy") was tasty and warm.
First Part: I don't know if I ever told you my sports fandom, but as a long-time Tampa Bay resident I am true to my school when it comes to rooting for the Bucs (NFL), Lightning (NHL), and the Rays (MLB). Ah, if only Arena Football was still playing...
You might have noticed it whenever I rant against donald trump: Thanks to his moronic ass, he manipulated the USFL - a spring pro football league that was struggling but popular - back in the early 1980s into a legal fight against the rival NFL that backfired on him, killed the USFL, and ended the Tampa Bay Bandits franchise. So yeah, that still hurts.
Anywho, right now is a great time to be a Tampa Bay sports fan. Our Lightning hockey team just accomplished back-to-back championship seasons (2019/2020 and 2020/2021), a difficult run in any professional sport. The Bolts have been one of the more successful southern ice hockey teams, proving the haters - the traditionalists who argue hockey should be played in cities that actually get snow - wrong with Stanley Cup wins in 2004 and a valiant effort in 2015.
Over in baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays are in the hunt for another AL East division title, having won that last season en route to their second overall World Series matchup (sadly losing to the L.A. Dodgers in 6). The Rays are at the top of the baseball world the past 13 years (since 2008) as one of the small-market teams that figured out a winning formula that's garnered a number of wild card berths, division titles, and so on. Even in the dire situation of playing in one of the worst ballparks, under constant threat of relocating, the Rays are winners while large market teams struggle to stay above .500 in the wins column.
On top of that, the Tampa Bay Bucs are coming off the high of a Super Bowl victory this past season. The first pro sports franchise in the area (1976), infamously one of the worst teams in the NFL having the first ever winless season in 1976 and losing their first 26 games, the Bucs were a laughingstock franchise due to bad ownership and dumb decisions (their rookie drafting faux pas remain some of the worst in league history). Things turned around with new ownership in the 1990s, a good coach finally leading the team (Dungy!) although he got traded out for another good coach (Chucky!) who did get the Bucs to their first Super Bowl in the 2002 season... only to have it all crash and burn by 2008 when Gruden's unbalanced team-building (over-reliance on expensive free agents) bankrupted the cap space and the team sunk back into malaise.
The Bucs went through another series of questionable coaching hires - ahem #FireSchiano - and desperation to find a franchise QB, leading up to the 2020 season when the team made the fateful decision to let could-have-been Jameis Winston go and bring in a veteran team leader... Tom Freaking Brady.
A little bit more later on about how big a move that was, because combined with an already great receiver corps (and adding Tom's BFF Gronk to the Tight End roster) and a developing defensive unit, that lineup had the Bucs' first winning season since 2010, the first playoff spot since 2007, and one of the biggest mind-blowing playoff runs in NFL history leading up to a 31-9 smackdown of the previous SB winner Kansas City Chiefs (told you back-to-back championships are hard to make).
There are few sports cities that have seen ALL of their franchise teams make the championships the same year, fewer still to have all of them WIN those championships (dammit, Rays...). Like I said, what a time to be a Tampa Bay sports fan. CHAMPA BAY, people!
We've made boat parades a thing, everybody!
Brady throwing the Lombardi Trophy at 1:05 on the YouTube clip became an instant meme.
That all said, what happened today was a recent sports tradition of the winning team visiting the White House to get congratulated by the President of the United States. So today the Buccaneers went, led by Tom Brady, who made some rather pointed jokes about his 2020 performance and the ongoing performance of a particular person by the name of trump (via Jonathan Chait at the New York Intelligencer):
Brady made two jokes at Trump’s expense. First, he made fun of Trump for refusing to accept defeat:
Tom Brady: "Not a lot of people think that we could've won. In fact, I think about 40% of the people still don't think we won."
Biden: "I understand that."
Then, twisting the knife, he made a second joke:
Brady: “We had a game in Chicago where I forgot what down it was. I lost track of one down in 21 years of playing and they started calling me Sleepy Tom. Why would they do that to me?”
While this sounds more gentle than this first joke, it is in fact much more deeply vicious. In Trump’s mind, Biden is a pathetic loser, and he is the winner. Like Tom Brady.
Yet here was Brady, inverting the whole hierarchy. Biden is the winner, like Brady, and Winners now are guys who get called sleepy by the Losers for making a small mistake on the way to their triumph...
I've mentioned before that trump's ego is driven by the need to be seen as a Winner at all times, as much as driven by the fear that he must never be seen as a Loser (or Sucker as he calls it). As Chait also notes:
In Trump’s mind, the two men were parallels to each other: both Winners, and natural companions on the basis of their mastery of their respective fields. “He’s a friend of mine, he’s a great guy, and he’s a great athlete obviously, but he’s a winner,” Trump told TMZ in 2016. “I think Tom is totally innocent. I think Tom is — first of all, I know him, he’s such an honorable guy, and I’m with him all the way.” Trump has repeatedly expressed his regret that he “could have had Tom Brady” as his son-in-law, rather than the nerdy Jared Kushner.
The relationship always had an asymmetric quality. Brady repeatedly expressed discomfort at Trump’s public adulation, and has declined to talk about who he voted for. In 2017, he skipped a White House invitation to celebrate a previous Super Bowl win, citing his need to attend to his ailing mother. The snub, according to the Washington Post, sent Trump into a rage...
Getting dissed like this in public will undoubtedly drive trump even further into madness. But what can trump really do? Any insult he lobs at Tom Brady will be weak and laughable. Brady has proven himself a Winner on the global stage multiple times, the only Quarterback in NFL history to win SEVEN Super Bowls and named MVP five times, holding nearly every passing record in the book, pulling this all off well into his mid-40s when most QBs retire by their 30s, and poised in 2021 to make a serious run for yet another Super Bowl with a veteran Bucs team that lost no talent from last year and may have an easier run this season.
Brady's a goddamned Winner. All trump can do is pose and pretend and
brag lie about wins he never really achieved.
And now, the Second Part of the Schadenfreude Day:
One of donald trump's closest business buddies Tom Barrack got himself hit with a ton of federal charges involving foreign shenanigans during the 2016 elections (shades of Manafort's and Flynn's shenanigans all over again). From Carrie Johnson at NPR:
Thomas Barrack, a longtime friend of Donald Trump's who chaired the former president's inauguration committee, was arrested Tuesday on federal charges that he acted as an agent of a foreign government.
Note: when the report first got out, the Justice Department had to clarify that Barrack wasn't getting arrested over the investigation into questionable fund-raising for that inauguration committee. Yeah, that's still ongoing...
Prosecutors said Barrack, 74, parlayed his close ties to the Trump White House to advance the interests of the United Arab Emirates.
Along with Barrack, Matthew Grimes, 27, of Aspen, Colo., and Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, 43, a UAE national, are accused of acting and conspiring to act as agents of the Middle Eastern nation between April 2016 and April 2018. Grimes worked for Barrack at an investment management firm.
Prosecutors said the three defendants did not provide the required notification to the U.S. attorney general that they were acting as agents of a foreign government.
Barrack is also charged with obstructing justice and lying to federal agents...
Court papers said Barrack exploited his close ties to Trump as far back as the 2016 campaign when he inserted language favorable to the UAE into a speech about energy policy. Prosecutors said Barrack also asked for a wish list of policy goals at various points throughout the Trump administration, and they said he advanced the UAE's interests in television appearances and an opinion article...
Barrack is the latest person in or near Trump's inner circle to be charged with federal crimes...
It's like you need a scorecard to keep up with all the people in trump's personal circle getting hit with federal felony charges. Seriously, I've been doing a mental check of all the people I've ever known from high school to now, how many of them have been charged with felonies, and out of hundreds of people I can't recall a single one. Okay, my family's history of speeding tickets don't count.
I mean, just think about it. Just with the campaign handlers from 2016 - Paul Manafort dealing with Ukraine (when it was a Russian puppet state), Mike Flynn dealing with Turkey, Steve Bannon dealing with China, Roger Stone dealing with Russia - trump had too many connections to too many corrupting influences, especially linked to Russia.
All of it based on trump's desperation for wealth backed by foreign powers, so trump can pretend being a billionaire Winner when he was really a clown living on credit.
What a Sucker trump's turned out to be.
What a day to be a trump hater! MMmmmmmmm, tasty tasty Schadenfreude indeed. Now bring us more tax evasion arrests from the New York grand jury PLEASE AND THANK YOU...