New York (Dagbladet Book): Donald Trump is almost like a cancer for the Republican Party. It is not a simple tumor, but it has entered the tissues. with spread. This will continue if a proper settlement is not reached, Høeg tells Dagbladet.
In the past, Republican politicians had to resign quickly if they were arrested for adultery or did not adhere to Christian values. Then Trump came and survived countless accusations and scandals. He gave people permission to be assholes. Unfortunately, this may have been why many core voters liked him.
Hans Hoegh is a Drammen man who became chief of staff of a US congressman in 2012, joining the deeper circles of power in the United States.
He has now written Our Man in Washington, which describes the dirty tricks and corruption of American politics. A world surprisingly similar to the Netflix series “House of Cards,” about a satirical power game set in Washington, DC
Hogg makes no secret of the fact that neither he nor the other elected Republicans are big fans of Trump.
Behind closed doors, I heard all kinds of bad words about that guy. They called him the fool, the damned, the clown and the moron. He is said to have no ideology other than himself. He shows no concern as to whether the procedure is conservative or liberal. We’ve seen it early on, Hogg says, he’s not a good guy.
He maintains that the insults did not come from Massey, but from other Republicans.
a man you trust
It started in 1991, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Here Høeg and hillbilly Thomas Massie became good friends.
Hogg decided that when Massey starts something exciting, he’ll join him. In 2012, Massey entered politics in Kentucky, on the Republican side, and was elected to Congress. He needed a chief of staff he could trust. It was Hans Hoegh, a Norwegian with a background in business and technology.
The meeting with Washington, D.C. was brutal, and one of the things that shocked Hogg most was the strong position of bureaucrats and lobbyists.
Elections are held throughout the United States in a democratic manner. The problem is that democracy pretty much stalls when the candidates get to Washington, and people don’t see what the zombies are up to. In the end, lobbyists get a bigger role than the electorate.
From his job in Congress, Hogg stood on the sidelines and shared Donald Trump’s journey to president.
I don’t think the plan was to end up with someone like Trump, but many voters were very disappointed with what happened in Washington. They felt taken advantage of, and they would take on just about anyone except Hillary Clinton and more of the same.
He saw Trump’s chances of winning early on.
– We were laughed at. I was home in Norway on summer vacation in 2016 and said Trump would win. People said I was crazy.
On November 8, 2016, it was clear that the United States had just got Donald Trump as president.
The task of forming the administration began, and Hans Hoegh was on the list of lobbyists – as a candidate to become Trump’s director of science.
That would make him Trump’s chief adviser on science issues in the White House.
Hans Hogg entered the thinking box. In Norway, the family was surprised that he did not just jump at the opportunity.
I may not have lived longer than my first encounter with him. We might have disagreed and he threw me out the door. No, it wasn’t me.
Instead, he continued as Massey’s Chief of Staff until early 2018.
I paid the bail
Høeg believes Trump has a complete lack of knowledge of how politics actually happens, and he has many stories about color phone calls from the then President of the United States.
When Congress met to adopt one of the crisis packages during the pandemic in 2020, Thomas Massey reportedly asked the House of Representatives to debate and vote before adopting the package. That was not Trump’s plan. As Massey was standing on the floor of the House of Representatives, his phone began to ring loudly. again and again. It is forbidden to answer the phone inside the hall, so Massey came out and called.
It was Trump who reprimanded him, says Hogg and imitates the former president:
– “Massy, this is the third time you’ve done this to me. It’s the third time. I’m going to chase after you in a way you’ve never experienced before.” Trump was very angry, but did not understand what was actually happening.
Høeg shows how Massey alone didn’t really have a chance to stop anything.
– But Trump thought he could completely destroy his scheme.
Hogg thinks Trump would also have won the 2020 election if he had acted smarter
If this man could have avoided some of his childish arguments, shown more humanity about the pandemic, and a little more sympathy, he might have won.
In Our Man in Washington, Hogg wrote about the deadly attack on Congress on January 6 last year. On that day, Trump supporters stormed Congress in an attempt to nullify the election results.
Hogg was not in Congress that day, but he reached out to Massey, who barricaded himself in his office. By connecting two cell phones to Facetime and placing them outside the door, he was able to monitor the entrance outside while the violent mob raged.
After the attack, many Republican politicians initially chose to distance themselves sharply from Trump. Nevertheless, the former president managed to maintain control of the party, and most Republicans began to ally with him again.
There are likely to be hard-line Trump supporters, so if you’re a conservative candidate, you stand no chance of winning without bringing them in, says Hogg about why more politicians won’t stand up to Trump.
Republican politicians must balance. Somehow, they have to try to seem sane, while at the same time they have to please this slightly crazy crowd. It’s a very difficult dance.
– He’s your favorite boss
Massey was among the Republicans who voted to approve Biden’s appointment as the next president of the United States in January 2021 – quite contrary to Trump’s wish. He could have lived politically because he stood strong in his constituency.
The previous year, for example, Massey won his Kentucky constituency primary with 81 percent of the vote against an opponent who was betting everything to challenge him as Trump’s vice president. He was on his way to a landslide victory when he received a call from Trump
“Thomas! He’s your favorite president. I’ve decided to support you,” said Trump. Thomas thanked politely. Indeed, it was about the opponent being on the verge of a crushing defeat. So Trump wanted to make sure at the last moment that he supported the winning horse, And that he wasn’t related to the loser, Hogg says.
He believes the midterm elections now taking place in November could send signals about how parts of Republicans are preparing to move on from Trump.
Everything must be in place for an early Republican election. The Democratic president, Joe Biden, is unpopular. There are big problems on the border with Mexico. The economy is doing poorly, inflation is too high, and gasoline prices have risen sharply.
But instead of focusing on this, the Republican candidates should deal with the Trump dynamic, says Hogg.
Do you think Trump will be re-elected if he runs again?
– I thought for a long time that he wouldn’t come back. Now I’m more suspicious, unfortunately, says Hogg.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is the most likely successor to Trump.
Hoegh left politics in 2018. Massey is still in Congress. At the same time, the two are still collaborating on an entrepreneurial project.
—We run a tech startup, as we discussed in student dorms at MIT 30 years ago, says Høeg.
The project began on the farm where Massey lives in Kentucky and includes developing high-tech solar-powered chicken houses.
Are you thinking of entering American politics again?
– Believe it or not – I actually considered running against Trump in the 2020 primaries. I don’t have a chance, but at least it would be very interesting for the Norwegians to follow. This would be good for book sales, but I would be devastated, Hogg says and laughs.
At the same time, he adds, he is more likely to get involved in local politics if he wants to become politically active again.
What if Thomas Massey decided to run for president then?
– Then I have to jump, yes. Can’t say no to that.
“Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer.”