At the bottom of Trumpworld, once you’ve wound your way through the maze of hollow luxury, despicable bigotry and insecure self-promotion, lies the deep sadness amongst the revelation of the depths that these people will go to in order to establish some sort of self-esteem.
Even in the shadows of the spotlight, where Paul Manafort prefers to operate, it is evident. And there will always be innocent victims.
Although she’s not acting like a victim in this case, one of the people who have suffered the consequences is his daughter, Andrea Manafort Shand. In leaked text messages, she refers to her father as a “power hungry egomaniac”, “very manipulative” and “a psycho.”
She characterizes him as a thuggish gas-lighter who is so utterly without morals that Donald Trump is more of a “moral” figure by comparison. She seems to hold him in a contemptible light, using him like she would a business connection: to get ahead and make money. She “hopes that someone can benefit (from) my relation to the count of Monte Cristo.”
Going on my sixth year in D.C., I understand the set up: work in this city is a cultural thing. People are competitive to the point of being ruthlessly ambitious. Life is fast-paced. If you’re not working harder than the next person, you’re probably “falling behind.”
That last phrase isn’t only cliche, it’s patently false. I would know: when I was younger, I wanted to be a Paul Manafort. I wanted to be someone in politics. To cut my teeth, I busted my ass for eight months for the 2012 U.S. Senate campaign of Tim Kaine. The days were long (12 hours a day, seven days a week) and the pay was awful. But it was worth it: I loved the people I worked with and enjoyed the work too.
One Friday night, I got a call from my supervisor. He asked me to represent the campaign at the Arlington County fair in Arlington, Virginia. I was pissed. Friday nights were a rare down time on the trail and after going at it from eight to eight or nine to nine for what seemed like an endless string of days, I was looking forward to watching baseball from the comfort of my converted futon bed in my studio apartment.
I kicked off my shoes and turned on the pre-game show. I was fully intending on blowing off the assignment. But my conscious got the better of me and I didn’t feel like lying to my boss about it. I piled into my minivan and drove to the fair.
The booth we were at was stationed next to a very beautiful woman selling recycled glass jewelry. I went over, pretending to be interested in her jewelry. We struck up a conversation and I could see that her stunning looks were a reflection of her gorgeous mind and personality.
I reached an awkward moment of the night where we were packing up and leaving. I had fully intended to get her number, but the opportunity hadn’t arisen. Disappointed, I turned to leave when she appeared beside me, carrying suitcases full of equipment and in need of a ride. I took her to the metro and we made plans to meet at a sushi spot in Chinatown the next Friday night.
That woman, as you might have guessed, is my wife, who I am so lucky to have by my side. We’ve been blessed to be joined by a daughter, who has helped me find out what’s really important in life.
It hasn’t been easy because I’m in grad school and I’m still a very career oriented individual. And I’d lie to you if I told you that I was always successful. But I try to do the best I can to be an active, present, engaged family member because my wife and daughter are amazing, wonderful people and they deserve my best effort.
I don’t ever want my daughter to say that she was raised by a career consumed, power hungry psycho. I want her to know how much I love her and that I’ll always be there for her. I feel bad that Manafort Shand had to have someone like that for a father. Who knows, maybe she and the Trump kids would’ve turned out different if they weren’t raised by sociopaths.