From the “You can’t Make this Stuff up” File (Trump’s ex-Butler edition)

Via the BBC:  Donald Trump’s ex-butler calls for Obama to be killed

Anthony Senecal wrote in a Facebook post that Mr Obama “should have been taken out by our military and shot as an enemy agent in his first term”.

Mr Senecal worked for Mr Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, for nearly 30 years.

The Trump campaign quickly disavowed Mr Senecal’s remarks.

“He is not employed by Mr Trump, and hasn’t been since June of 2009,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement. “We strongly condemn these horrible comments from Mr Senecal.”


Later on Thursday, Mr Senecal, 84, told CNN that Mr Obama should be “hung” outside the White House. He also called the White House the “White Mosque”.

More on Senecal from the NYT:

Mr. Senecal tried to retire in 2009, but Mr. Trump decided he was irreplaceable, so while Mr. Senecal was relieved of his butler duties, he has been kept around as a kind of unofficial historian at Mar-a-Lago. “Tony, to retire is to expire,” Mr. Trump told him. “I’ll see you next season.”

The profile in worth a read–also more stuff that is hard to make up.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, US Politics, , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Of everything there is to say about Trump, I’m not sure it’s fair to hold him responsible for the Facebook rantings of a guy in his 80s who hasn’t officially worked for Trump for something like fifteen years.

  2. Tony W says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I disagree. Everyone runs around pretending Trump’s rhetoric doesn’t matter – but it does. Trump is inciting violence and hatred and bigotry. He is irresponsible with his power position, and has himself been a major proponent of the “Birther” nonsense.

    The butler, per-se, does not matter – but he is a bellwether of the impact a moron like Trump can have on America. Leadership comes with a responsibility to make the world a better place, and Trump’s vision of a better place is restricted to improvements for a very narrow segment of the population.

  3. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    who hasn’t officially worked for Trump for something like fifteen years.

    Check your math:

    “He is not employed by Mr Trump, and hasn’t been since June of 2009,”

  4. Franklin says:

    From what I read, he may not technically be “employed” there, but he is not only the unofficial historian, but he gives tours.

    That all said, I wouldn’t want people to hold me responsible for everything my grandparents said, for example. And honestly, I think Trump has said enough stuff *on his own*. If you already like what Trump says, then his ex-butler is probably right up your alley.

  5. LaMont says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    It does give you some insight on the kind of environment “bubble” Trump associates himself with. That’s about all. Conservatives slammed President Obama over Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s comments in a very similar discussion. Yet, Mr. Wright’s speech was not half as damning as Trump’s butler comments and was often times taken completely out of context. I agree with you, Trump ultimately shouldn’t be held accountable for remarks by his butler. But that is fair game in this world of politics! What, you don’t think Trump would use this material?

  6. KM says:

    @Doug Mataconis :

    I don’t know Doug, 30 years is a hell of a long close association and it’s not like butlers don’t talk to their employers. Trump cared enough about the guy to pay him/give privileges to hang around after retiring so it’s not like he’s a faceless nobody Trump can disavow. I agree with LaMont – it shows who he chooses to associate with well past the legal relationship of employer-employee. Add in this isn’t “old man yells at cloud” but rather “old man causally and repeatedly suggests violence against high elected official” means he more then likely expressed similar views out loud in their long acquaintance; it’s not like this is news to him.

    That said, it should get no more cred then the usual “Trump seeks out crackpots for associates” story. One of many so it just adds another data point to the blatantly obvious pattern.

  7. Hal_10000 says:

    I’m with Doug. Trump employs a lot of people and really can’t be held responsible for their rantings. I tire of this Outrage Culture where we have to denounce and fire anyone who says anything bad (granted, this is WAY post the usual dumb tweet).

    Ultimately, it’s a distraction. I am much more worried about what Trump says on any given day than all the things his ex-butler has ever said in his entire life. Trump’s butler isn’t running for President. He’s not going to have any power. Even if a bunch of racist jerks are excited by Trump, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. What matter is what Trump thinks and what he’ll do. That’s scary enough, thank you.

  8. al-Ameda says:

    Lesson #666: Hired help can be so annoying

  9. LaMont says:


    I think you’re preaching to the choir. However, I’d be willing to wager anything that this will not amount to the same level of outrage the Rev. Wright fiasco amounted to, even though what Trump’s butler said should be more damning to Trump in the world of politics. Mainly because progressives don’t have the same media propaganda machine that Conservatives enjoy through radio and Fox News. And also to KM’s point, the political junkie populace have become, to some extent, desensitized to Trump. A pattern of not-so-suitable things that comes out of Trump’s campaign has been established long ago.

  10. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I moved my mother into my guest room a couple of years ago because she wasn’t doing that great on her own after my father passed away. She believes some really kooky stuff, and she’s got that old person lack-of-filter. No way I should be held responsible for her stream of consciousness.

  11. gVOR08 says:

    @Doug Mataconis: You’re right, Doug. Trump isn’t responsible for this guy’s rants. The Republican Party as a whole, conservatives as a group, and mostly the Conservative Entertainment Complex are responsible for this. How are we supposed to run a democracy when a quarter of the electorate fervently believes insane nonsense like this?

  12. C. Clavin says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Doug is right.
    Trump is not responsible for this racist clown.
    Trump is his very own racist clown.
    Unfortunately Republicans don’t seem interested in holding Trump responsible for his racism
    Wonder why that is?

  13. Nikki says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    No way I should be held responsible for her stream of consciousness.

    You’re not running for political office, much less for the position of leader of the free world.

    Trump should be held accountable solely because it’s indicative of the people with which he surrounds himself. Trump’s bigotry and racism isn’t coming out of a vacuum. He appeals to the KKK and retweets white supremacists because that is who he is.

    The butler is not new to the world of the 1%. He knows how the people residing in that class conduct themselves and what they expect from their staff. This man’s racist RWNJ Facebook postings go back for years, even encompassing the period when Trump previously ran for president. He knows Trump is on the verge of clinching the nomination, yet he has not in anyway repudiated his words.

    Because he knows he doesn’t need to. After more than 30 years in Trump’s employ developing the intimate relationship that only a close personal servant can, he knows what Trump believes. And he knows that Trump has his back.

    My question is where are the inquiries as to how the New York Times managed to miss this man’s FB postings when it published its glowing article on him back in March?

  14. Gustopher says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: Do you have a history of appealing to white supremacists? If you did, then keeping an old racist about the house might raise questions that are harder to answer.

    Trump could say “I’ve known the butler for so long he’s like a member of the family, and I take care of my family, even the old racist uncles — give the man his privacy” and people would view that as a good thing — no disowning required, a modest eye roll at his comments would do. Except that Trump has been stoking racial resentment and animosity, and has happily welcomed white supremacists into the fold.

  15. Jenos Idanian says:

    Bill Ayers could not be reached for comment.

  16. For what it is worth, I was not posting this to make a point about Trump (he buries himself without help, quite frankly). Mostly I was simply commenting on the oddness of the headline and the general surreal-ness of the current campaign.

  17. (Serioisly, this is not the kind of thing one expects when checking the BBC for a review of global news).

  18. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Absolutely your intent was to deride the BBC, and you certainly had no intent to throw a little red meat to readers like Tony, LaMont, KM, gVOR08, and Nikki. And it only took you 12 hours to move from “The profile in worth a read–also more stuff that is hard to make up” to “Mostly I was simply commenting on the oddness of the headline and the general surreal-ness of the current campaign.”

    I’ll say this for you — you sure know your desired audience.

  19. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Point taken.
    @Jenos Idanian: Gee up ya worthless git!

  20. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Bill Ayers could not be reached for comment.

    Nor could George Zimmerman – apparently he’s tied up trying sell his murder weapon (umm … polite-society device) on e-bay.

  21. Jenos Idanian says:

    @al-Ameda: The subject was “shady characters affiliated with presidential candidates.” Just what candidate was whatshisname buddy-buddy with, anyway?

  22. @Rafer Janders:

    Other reports I read said that he left employ as Trump’s butler in 2000 and spent the time from 2000-2009 as some kind of unofficial, unpaid, tour guide at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. Not sure what that says, but there are far worse things to say about Donald Trump than the Facebook rants of some old man.

  23. @Jenos Idanian: No, I was not criticizing the BBC. Nor was I trying to throw red meat. The bottom line is that anyone who has been paying attention already knows that Trump is fueling his campaign with xenophobia and racism. That he employed a racist and xenophobic staff members is not a shock.

    The funny thing is: you want to get upset with this rather mild post, but yet you also want to use it to discuss Bill Ayers, because somehow that proves something in your mind.

  24. @Doug Mataconis: Not to nitpick, but the timeline seems pretty clear: retired in 2009, unofficial historian thereafter,

  25. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: The commenters I called out by name made the connection immediately: this guy has some extreme beliefs, this guy is/was close to Trump, so Trump’s bad. And considering your own antipathy for Trump, I saw it as such as well.

    And you provided almost no words of your own to indicate your intent.

    In the context of the conclusion that those commenters I named, bringing up Ayers seemed logical. Especially since Reverend Wright had already been cited (without objections from you, I note).

    Also, in case you missed it, the Washington Post has dedicated 20 reporters to dig into every aspect of Trump’s past, so you’ll have plenty of grist for future postings. There’s no word on how many they’ve assigned to do the same to Hillary Clinton (they could put that many just on the Clinton Foundation and they’d be fully employed), but I’d wager it’s around 0.

  26. Nikki says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Sucks for you that Trump is now getting the vetting he didn’t get before the primaries.

  27. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Bill Ayers could not be reached for comment.

    Sadly, you could.

  28. anjin-san says:


    George Zimmermann draws strength from knowing that Jenos’ lip prints on his ass will never come off…

  29. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Nikki: Sucks for you that Trump is now getting the vetting he didn’t get before the primaries.

    I don’t care if they put 30 or 300 reporters on Trump. What I’m pointing out is that you’ll NEVER see that kind of scrutiny on the Clinton Foundation from the Washington Post, or any other mainstream media.

    You gotta go to the alternative media to get anything like honest journalism on the Clintons. The Daily Caller has doe some pretty good work.

  30. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: @al-Ameda: Too bad Hallmark doesn’t doesn’t make a “Sorry Your Lynch Mob Didn’t Get Blood, Better Luck Next Time” cards. I’d buy a couple of dozen for the fine folks here.

  31. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Lynch Mob

    Why that’s right! I distinctly remember saying that Zimmermann had been excessively charged by the DA, and that the correct charge would be manslaughter. That is exactly like a lynching!

    Why don’t your and your sociopath friend George get a room?

  32. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Too bad Hallmark doesn’t doesn’t make a “Sorry Your Lynch Mob Didn’t Get Blood, Better Luck Next Time” cards. I’d buy a couple of dozen for the fine folks here.

    Your friends on the OJ Jury told me that your next round of Arizona Ice Tea and Skittles is on them. They also showed me the special commemorative Hoodie they ordered for you, it had:

    “The OJ Jury Salutes the Zimmerman Jury”

    stenciled on the front, and

    “Hey, It’s Florida, What Do You Expect?”

    on the back.

  33. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: The main thing I remember about that whole fiasco was how I spent a LOT of time pointing out that a lot of things being asserted as facts were either not proven or blatantly disproven. A few examples:

    1) Whatshisname wasn’t injured in the incident.

    2) The cops ordered Whatshisname not to follow you-know-who.

    3) Whatshisname chased down you-know-who with his gun drawn.

    4) The incident was all about “Stand Your Ground” laws.

    But I can see how you might want to remember things differently. It wasn’t the commentariat’s finest hour. And no wonder several of you are obsessed with it — getting your collective asses kicked by reality can be really, really humiliating.

  34. CSK says:

    The Secret Service is investigating Senecal. Trump’s spokeswoman disavowed Senecal.

  35. Jenos Idanian says:

    @CSK: The Secret Service is investigating Senecal.

    For WHAT? For saying that Obama should be legally executed by various means?

    He’s an 84-year-old crank who’s probably senile. Doesn’t the Secret Service have anything better to do?

    During Bush 43’s term, they made a movie about assassinating Bush. I don’t think that got much official notice. Guess he was thicker-skinned than Obama.

    But then, a baked potato is thicker-skinned than Obama.

  36. An Interested Party says:

    But then, a baked potato is thicker-skinned than Obama.

    Not true…Trump is certainly not thicker-skinned than the president…

  37. @Jenos Idanian: This is what the Secret Service does (and not at the direction of the president).

    For example:
    Secret Service checks out political art exhibit

  38. CSK says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Calm down. An Indiana man has been arrested for making threats against the life of Donald Trump.

    This is what the Secret Service does, or one of the things they do–investigate threats against the lives of presidents and presidential candidates.