Meet The Mercers

Vicky Ward is mostly an author and investigative journalist who happens to be editor-at-large at Town and Country magazine. Her last book, The Liar’s Ball: The Extraordinary Saga of How One Building Broke the World’s Toughest Tycoons, was about midtown Manhattan’s “real estate royalty” and how “their empires came crumbling down in the 2008 financial crisis.” The inside flap of the book reads:

The Liar’s Ball is a story of naked, unregulated capitalism, of the sometimes bloody free-for-all of the free market. It’s a tale of brilliant and enormously ambitious billionaires fighting bare-knuckled to get what they want. And they all wanted the GM Building.

Through over 200 interviews with real estate’s best and brightest—Donald Tr-mp, Harry Macklowe, Samuel Zell, Mort Zuckerman, and many more—New York Times bestselling author Vicky Ward exposes the lies and schemes and insecurities behind the deals made by some of the world’s biggest egos. The Liar’s Ball is the riveting real-life tale of just how far these people would go to get the money, power, and attention they so desperately crave.

Ward has been keeping her eye on Tr-mp and those surrounding him. She has appeared several times on television news discussing, among other things, the roles Ivanka Tr-mp and her husband Jared Kushner play in the Tr-mp regime. Her latest writing effort is an expose in the Huffington Post’s magazine, Highline. The expose, “The Blow-It-All-Up Billionaries,” is about the eccentric Mercer family, big-time donors to Tr-mp and other right-wingers.

To give you an idea of the Mercer family’s eccentricity—okay, political nuttiness—they once supported a congressional candidate from Oregon, a chemist named Art Robinson (Rachel Maddow famously battled with him in 2010), who thinks global warming is a hoax, believes we should sprinkle radioactive waste over the ocean (and possibly America) because it might be good for us, once believed HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, and who, as Vicky Ward pointed out in her article, “was best known in his district for co-founding an organization that is collecting thousands of vials of urine as part of an effort it says will ‘revolutionize the evaluation of personal chemistry.’” The Mercers also supported a candidate in Arizona (running against John McCain) “who once held a town hall meeting to discuss chemtrails—chemicals, according to a long-standing conspiracy theory, that the federal government is spraying on the public without its knowledge.”

You get the idea. Ward sums it up:

In short, unlike other donors, the Mercers are not merely angling to influence the Republican establishment—they want to obliterate it.

Ward’s eye-opening story mainly focuses on 42-year-old Rebekah Mercer, the most politically active of the family, who demanded a position on the executive committee of Tr-mp’s transition team—and got it. Ward wrote of her:

it quickly became clear to her new colleagues that she wasn’t content just to chip in with ideas. She wanted decision-making power. To her peers on the executive committee, she supported Alabama senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general and General Michael Flynn for national security adviser, but argued against naming Mitt Romney secretary of state. Her views on these matters were heard, according to several people on and close to the transition leadership. Rebekah was less successful when she lobbied hard for John Bolton, the famously hawkish former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, to be deputy secretary of state. And when Bolton was not named to any position, she made her displeasure known. “I know it sounds sexist, but she was whiny as hell,” says one person who watched her operate. Almost everyone interviewed for this article, supporters and detractors alike, described her style as far more forceful than that of other powerful donors.

It was Rebekah who talked Tr-mp into dumping Paul Manafort and bringing in Bannon, whom she believed, with good reason, shared her political vision. And although some people around the regime say Rebekah Mercer’s and Steve Bannon’s “relations are strained,” others told Ward “not to count Rebekah out.” Why? The Mercer family, it turns out, “made one of their most consequential investments” in 2011. They put “a reported $10 million in a new right-wing media operation called Breitbart.” This of course led them to initially hook up with Steve Bannon and to get inside the regime, especially get inside Tr-mp’s head. Ward wrote of Rebekah’s future:

She still has a stake in Breitbart, which holds tremendous sway over Trump’s base and has recently gone on a no-holds-barred offensive against the GOP health care plan. And on March 13, Politicoreported that some Trump officials were already disillusioned with America First, which they felt had been slow to provide much-needed cover for his policy initiatives. There was talk of turning instead to a new group being launched by Rebekah Mercer. And so she may yet get another chance to realize her grand ambitions. “She’s used to getting everything she wants, 100 percent of the time,” says another person who knows her well. “Does she like getting 90 percent? No.”

In the short clip below, which is Ward appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, you will hear a summary of the Mercer’s influence and how the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizen’s United made what they do possible. And you will hear a little bit about a British data science company the Mercer’s invested in, around 2012, called SCL Group. It’s American branch was rebranded as Cambridge Analytica, which Rebekah Mercer tried to use to control various campaigns, including Tr-mp’s. Watch this and then go read Ward’s interesting piece:

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3 Comments

  1. ansonburlingame

     /  March 18, 2017

    The Saturday Morning WaPost has a front page article on the Mercers. The reporter is Matea Gold. That article is far broader than the above but reveals strong conservative views held by the Mercers. As well they are latecomers, it seems to major political funding, another reaction to liberalism created in the early years of the Obama Administration.

    The real question is just how much “money” influenced the recent election, on both sides. If one is to condemn the Mercers then why not MoveOn.org as well? As I recall the $ given to and spent by the Clinton campaign (and associated PACs) exceeded, by far the $ gained and used in support of Trump. Pundits suggest that Trump focused his $, targeted his audience, far more effectively than did Clinton. In other words how $ were USED made a much bigger difference than total $ donated or spent on either side.

    The bottom line however is not WHY Trump won the election. It is what can be done now to move America forward, given the power structure currently in place in DC. So far the Left, is doing all it can to remove Trump from the Presidency ASAP and NOT wait for another election. It is a replay of 2009 to a degree when the shoe was on the other foot.

    How many presidential elections must we have now until “America” is satisfied the right power structure is in place and we can make incremental progress to improve America, not stop it dead in its tracks with stalemate? All the argument today is simply a replay of the 2016 campaign, by and large. When I wonder will we finally settle on something, like HC, fix it as best we can and then move on to say North Korea, ISIS, who runs “meals on wheels”, etc.?

    Anson

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  2. Anonymous

     /  March 19, 2017

    Anson,

    How that you can determine the Mercers latecoming to political funding i

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  3. ansonburlingame

     /  March 20, 2017

    I formed that opinion based strictly on the timeline provided in the WaPost article. Yes, they dabbled with a few million $ here and there for some time. But about 2010 is when they came into the big money manipulation of information. They were newcomers in that league that was dominated by MoveOn and Koch Bros. before. Their rise (Mercer’s) corresponded with rise of Breitbart and Bannon beginning around that time frame.

    Anson

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