Trump Kicks His Chief of Staff out of the Oval Office for Coughing in His Presence

“You just can’t. You just can’t cough.”

Shawn Thew/ZUMA

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For all the anonymous, bruising leaks that have detailed palace intrigue inside the Trump White House, only a few moments have emerged on tape allowing the public to glimpse the administration’s chaos for themselves—and see that none of this is normal. 

Luckily, the latest installment of ABC’s headline-making interview with the president provides such a rare opportunity.

The moment came while Trump discussed the longstanding fight to release more information about his personal finances with George Stephanopoulos. He claimed he hoped a so-called “financial statement” will one day be publicly available because it is “fantastic.” Seconds later, he abruptly stops.

“Let’s do that over. He’s coughing in the middle of my answer,” the president said referring to his own chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.

The ever-media minded president, who is a noted germaphobe and a former reality television star, continued: “I don’t like that, you know. I don’t like that.”

“If you’re going to cough, please leave the room. You just can’t. You just can’t cough,” Trump added, as microphones captured Mulvaney’s exit. “Boy, oh boy! Okay, do you want to do that a little differently then?” Trump asked the television crew.

The scolding is only the latest instance in the president’s long record of humiliating and undermining aides. Many of them have quickly found themselves discarded from his inner circle.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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