The dance of Donald and Bob


They are the sons of wealth, brought up in families accustomed to power. They were raised to show and demand respect, and they were raised to lead.

They rose to positions of enormous authority — the president of the United States and the special counsel chosen to investigate him. They dress more formally than most of those around them; both sport meticulously coiffed hair. They have won unusual loyalty from those who believe in them. They attended elite all-male private schools, were accomplished high school athletes, and went on to Ivy League colleges.

Yet Robert Swan Mueller III and Donald John Trump, born 22 months apart in New York City, also can seem to come from different planets. One is courtly and crisp, the other blustery and brash. One turned away from the path to greater wealth, while the other spent half a century exploring every possible avenue to add to his assets.

Now, as they move toward an almost inevitable confrontation that could end in anything from deeper political discord to a fatal blow to this presidency, Trump, 71, and Mueller, 73, are behaving much as they have throughout their lives: As the president fumes about a “witch hunt” and takes his frustrations to his supporters, the special counsel remains publicly mute, speaking through inquiries and indictments.

The months flip by, and the showdown looms: Mueller and Trump, the war hero and the draft avoider, two men who rise early and live mainly at the office, two men who find relief on the golf course. They circle each other, speaking different languages.

Mueller was born to a social rank that barely exists anymore, a cosseted WASP elite of Northeastern families who sent their sons to New England prep schools built with generations of inherited wealth.

Mueller’s father was an executive at DuPont, part of a family firmly planted in the country’s plutocracy. Mueller, who grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, and on the Philadelphia Main Line, was sent to St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire, where the Astor, Vanderbilt, and Mellon families educated their boys. At the Episcopal school, Mueller became captain of the soccer, hockey, and lacrosse teams. He played hockey with classmate John Kerry, a future secretary of state and one of three St. Paul’s alumni who would run for president.

Mueller epitomized the tradition of “the muscular Christian” at the top prep schools, the archetype of the strong boy who embodies “values of kindness, respect, and integrity,” said Maxwell King, 73, a classmate at St. Paul’s. “Bob was a very strong figure in our class … He was thought of as somebody you could count on to be thoughtful about everybody on the team and to have very high standards.”

At Princeton, which his father also had attended, Mueller was accepted into one of the most socially exclusive eating clubs. Mueller had planned to go to medical school, but as a classmate who studied with him recalled, organic chemistry got the better of him.

Just a few weeks after he finished Princeton with a …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics


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