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The Butler Did It: Democratic Machine kicks into high gear

Anthony Senecal, a longtime butler to Donald Trump at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., March 4, 2016. Few people at the club can anticipate Trump’s demands and desires better than Senecal, 74, who has worked at the property for nearly 60 years, and for Trump for nearly 30 of them. (Eric Thayer/The New York Times)

By  | Salon

Anthony Senecal, onetime butler at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, seemed like such a nice if slightly reserved old man in this New York Times puff piecetwo months ago, where he shared charming observations from his years working for the mogul. It was a sweet little story that offered some insights into Trump. Senecal himself came off as almost a stereotype of the loyal household servant, something of a cross between Mr. Belvedere and the sort of Florida retiree who regularly hits the early-bird specials in every chain restaurant on Biscayne Boulevard.

Who would have guessed from that piece that Senecal is also a racist lunatic? Yet there are his Facebook posts, uncovered by Mother Jones and splashed all over the Internet on Wednesday. In them, the former butler suggested that “our pus headed ‘president’” and “kenyan (sic) fraud” should be “hung for treason,” among other amiable entreaties.
After the Mother Jones story published, Senecal spoke to NBC’s Alexandra Jaffe. Given a chance to blame the posts on something out of his control (temporary insanity, drunkenness, brain damage caused by years of inhaling Trump’s hairspray), he instead doubled down. He expressed his anger at the hordes of Muslims he apparently believes are overrunning American cities and suggested they should all be “shot at the shore” instead of being allowed to immigrate. And just for good measure, he suggested Obama “should be hung from the portico of the White Mosque.”

On the plus side, the Secret Service, which investigates all threats against the president, is currently providing Trump with protection, so it will be easy for agents to track Senecal down and interview him.

By the end of the day, the Trump campaign was in damage-control mode, although insisting that Senecal has not worked at Mar-a-Lago “for many years” is more than a little disingenuous. (The Times profile said that the butler retired in 2009, but that Trump had insisted he stay on as the unofficial “staff historian,” and he makes money leading tours of the estate.)

This is shocking news. The part about Trump promptly disavowing Senecal, I mean. The fact that an angry racist birther worked for Trump for many years (yes, Senecal appears to also be a birther) without his boss either noticing or, worse, caring? Eh, he seems to fit right in with the rest of the Trump organization.

This is, after all, the same Donald Trump who stood by campaign manager Corey Lewandowski when allegations surfaced of the latter’s penchant for directing abuse and misogyny at female co-workers. The same Donald Trump who has been slow to disavow endorsements from white supremacists like David Duke all throughout this campaign. The same Donald Trump who let a known white nationalist onto his list of convention delegates from California. The same Donald Trump who employed as a close adviser Roger Stone, one of the most obscene clowns to ever ooze his way into American politics, who was recently banned from appearances on CNN after tweeting racist cracks about some of the network’s commentators.

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