US president Donald Trump  in Washington last week. The Trumps have created a dark alternative universe in the White House, where the main value is loyalty to the godfather above all else. Photograph:  Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Trumps have often been compared to a mob family – and with good reason

US president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin: Mr Trump has found someone who wants to hang out with him and who understands  he is THE MOST MISTREATED PRESIDENT IN HISTORY. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty

How the US president might set the agenda for another day of self-aggrandisement

US president Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in 2017. Photograph: Jorge Silva/File Photo/Reuters

Perhaps it’s an Oedipal thing, that Putin reminds Trump of his authoritarian father

President Donald Trump has made political discourse more crude and belligerent. Photograph: AP/Carolyn Kaster

Hostility that so easily flows from his fingers now defines his immigration policy

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “I wake up every day and I’m a Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx.” Photograph: David Dee Delgado/New York Times

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: 'I wake up every day and I’m a Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx. Every single day'

Ivanka Trump: “There is a distinct genetic quality to Ivanka’s preternatural ability to self-promote.” Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Maureen Dowd: Try as she might, nobody is buying the blond saviour routine any more

Former US president Bill Clinton. “The feminists lost their way performing as human shields, letting Clinton Inc demonise the willing and unwilling women in Bill’s life and treat them as collateral damage.” Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

Former US president’s threadbare routine of maudlin self-pity does not work any more

Ben Rhodes, a longtime adviser, with president Barack Obama on Air Force One, March,  2016.  Photograph: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

New book by aide Ben Rhodes gives insights into former president’s – superior – thinking

US president Donald Trump: After winning by warning voters they were being suckered, he’s made them all suckers. Photograph: Chris Kleponis

White House, FBI, Hollywood, tech sector, education, media are all snake-oil salesmen

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Friday’s referendum is fractious vote, dividing families and friends on long-hidden issue

Whatever you imagine could happen in Trumpworld. Photograph: Tom Brenner/New York Times

Maureen Dowd: Everything is plausible in Trumpworld

Giuliani and Trump: the lawyer who was a Mob buster and the president who acts like a Mob boss. Photograph: Travis Dove/NYT

The US president’s brawls and scuffles might just see him lose his grip

David Duchovny at Central Park in Manhattan, April 16, 2018. His novel’s heroine Emer Gunnels is a 41-year-old New York schoolteacher who likes to take the subway,  eat ice cream and make love with her boyfriend, Cuchulainn, a writer known as Con. Photograph: Clement Pascal/The New York Times

The ‘X-Files’ actor tells Maureen Dowd about his New York novel based on the Ulster myths

US president Donald Trump in Michigan on Saturday. “Trump’s peculiar form of diplomacy  has somehow produced a possible breakthrough in North Korea that eluded his predecessors.” Photograph: Rena Laverty/EPA

Deal to denuclearise North Korea could help pave way to second term as US president

Former US first lady Barbara Bush. ‘She was the ungainly, insecure daughter of an austere, beautiful mother who put her down.’ Photograph: Reuters

Former first lady could be caustic, but she also championed causes such as literacy and Aids

The Exorcist: William Friedkin at the steps where he filmed his horror film’s climatic scene, in the Georgetown neighbourhood of Washington. Photograph: Gabriella Demczuk/New York Times

Maureen Dowd: William Friedkin revisits old haunts for his new film about exorcism

Joanna Coles, chief content officer of Hearst and the former editor of Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire: “There’s nothing empowering about being blackout drunk. Who wants to wake up the next morning in bed unable to remember what you did?” Photograph: Bryan Derballa/New York Times

How has digital era led women to have sex with people who don’t appeal to them?

US president Donald Trump: Even as Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are inside the White House, helping to shape his policies, Josh Kushner and Karlie Kloss are outside it, protesting. Photograph:  Carlos Barria/Reuters

Maureen Dowd: the family circle around US president fails to act as moderating influence

Former US president George W Bush with John Bolton in 2005,  a fervent believer in pre-emptive war. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

After all those years of criticising George W Bush on war, Donald Trump is now letting himself be guided by the former president’s(...)

White House chaos: Rex Tillerson, who reportedly learned his fate from Trump’s chief of staff while on the toilet, and Jeff Sessions, who tried to save his own job by firing Andrew McCabe. Photograph: Stephen Crowley/NYT

Firing Rex Tillerson by tweet left the US president high on all the chaos

US president Donald Trump. “He is determined to be our most shameless president, running a White House awash in salacious stories and louche characters.” Photograph: Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Damage from gender chasm awaits Trump and Republican Party in midterm elections

People walk past a gold art piece of a bathrobe-clad Harvey Weinstein clutching an Oscar  on Hollywood Blvd. Photograph: AP/Damian Dovarganes

On the surface things are improving but an instant fix for sexism is wishful thinking

US president Donald Trump last week returned to a favourite campaign routine, reciting the lyrics to the song “The Snake” and suggesting an analogy between immigrants and the poisonous reptile. Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA

His tangerine skin was caked with make-up but the kind woman took the vicious snake in

US president Donald Trump: Weeks after taking office, he signed a Bill rolling back a regulation that made it harder for mentally ill people to buy guns. Photograph:  Eric Thayer/Reuters

We can’t even summon the energy to break the choke-hold that the NRA has on Republicans

President Donald Trump  glides through the chaos he craves and conjures, while everyone around him immolates and shivers. Photograph: Tom Brenner/The New York Times

Maureen Dowd: the qualities required – and now lacking – of a US president have never been more clear

Uma Thurman: ‘Harvey Weinstein  tried to shove himself on me. He tried to expose himself.’ Photograph: Peter Kramer/AP

Interview: Actor also details behavior of ‘Kill Bill’ director Quentin Tarantino

FLOTUS Melania Trump. Photograph: Al Drago/Bloomberg

Melania’s rebellion shows how this administration is a shattering moment for the US

Salma Hayek: “Why do we have to fight tooth and nail to maintain our dignity?” Photograph: Ian West/PA Wire

Maureen Dowd: As men fall, women are rising. Now the gender apartheid has to end

Senator  Al Franken (centre) and his wife Franni Bryson with others:   Mr  Franken will be resigning after being accused of sexual harassment. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Al Franken resigns for wet kisses while Trump skips past his braggadocio on groping

Cardboard cutout of Judge Neil Gorsuch, the Supreme Court nominee. Photograph: Al Drago/The New York Times

For Thanksgiving weekend - a list of things (mostly Trump related) that don’t bother me

Sexual misdeeds: President Bill Clinton walks to the Rose Garden to apologise in 1999. Photograph: Stephen Crowley/New York Times

Maureen Dowd: Institutional feminism died during the Monica Lewinsky affair

Mark Cuban: Steve Bannon reportedly  identified him  as the No 1 threat for 2020 because he could appeal to Republicans and independents. Photograph: George Etheredge/The New York Times

‘He’s overselling all the time. Donald Trump is not a problem-solver’

Former president Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter at home:  “[Barack Obama] made some very wonderful statements, in my opinion, when he first got in office, and then he reneged on that.” Photograph: Dustin Chambers

Former US president complains Obama did not forge better relations with Pyongyang

  Harvey Weinstein: There was resentment against  the producer   in Hollywood, not only for the stories bubbling around about women, but the way he humiliated men who worked with him. Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA

Producer protected himself by giving to liberal causes and cultivating friends in politics

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg: dismissive of the idea that social media and artificial intelligence could be used for global domination. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Facebook’s Frankenstein moment in US election shows its power to warp democracy

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar being interviewed for the New York Times. Photograph:Tom Jamieson/The New York Times

New York Times columnist interviews Taoiseach in Dublin

‘Donald Trump has followed the roar of the crowd to dark, violent places, becoming ever more crazed and isolated and self-destructive.’ Photograph: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

The US president is becoming ever more crazed, isolated and self-destructive

Watching Trump  and Kim  trade taunts is particularly disturbing because they mirror each other in so many unhinged ways.  Photographs: Getty Images

Can two belligerent leaders living in fantasy worlds taunt us into a nuclear war?

Special counsel Robert Mueller (r) is seen as incorruptible, so his conclusions will most likely be seen as unimpeachable. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

US president fails to fathom how empowered Bobby Three Sticks is to look into his dealings

 US president Donald Trump uses an umbrella after stepping out of Air Force One in  Maryland. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

US president is trapped in a caricature of masculinity that corrodes his judgment

Donald Trump  arrives at the US Women’s Open golf tournament at Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey, on Saturday. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

US president thrives on the same philosophy espoused by Littlefinger in ‘Game of Thrones’

Trump: “Did you do it?” Putin: “Nyet.” Trump: “Whew! Glad that’s out of the way. So let’s do a joint cybersecurity program and share our passwords.” Putin: “Da.” Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

Maureen Dowd: Steve Bannon wants to cut taxes for the poor. But the president’s too busy being played for a sucker

“Before he got to DC, Trump was used to media that could be bought, sold and bartered with. He is not built for this hostile environment, and it shows in his deteriorating psychological state.” Photograph: Jim Bourg/Reuters

Strongman reflex: US president’s vile tweets indicate his deteriorating psychological condition

Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff delivers a concession speech after losing the race for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District to Republican challenger Karen Handel. Photograph:  Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Stuck in loser gear, the Democrats need fresh talent and a clear message

Donald Trump: If you investigate the current US president with a dream team, nightmares are bound to follow. Photograh:  Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

So much for the notion that Melania moving into the White House would restrain the president

Former FBI director James Comey testifies before a US senate committee. Photograph: Doug Mills/New York Times

The US leader is constantly creating the kind of havoc that could end his presidency

Donald Trump with Emmanuel Macron. The ‘Washington Post’ dubbed the French president “the prince regent of Paris and Pittsburgh alike”. Photograph: Stephen Crowley/New York Times

Donald Trump’s latest antics merely cement his image as the highchair king

File image of US president Donald Trump. File photograph: Peter Dejong/EPA

Obama’s controversies pale compared with the daily traumas of the current White House

White House confidential: Donald Trump and James Comey in January, a few days before the president’s Luca Brasi request at dinner. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/pool/Getty

Fortuitously, a tape from that fateful wintry meeting popped up in my mailbox

Donald Trump turns to  Paul Ryan in the Rose Garden of the White House: The president feted his fake-news “win” there, sprinkling flimflam dust to deflect from his ludicrous legislation. Photograph:  Carlos Barria/Reuters

The Republicans have voted for something that will cause them a lot of pain in the future

US president Donald Trump. “You got worked over by the Republican leadership and the business community, who set you up to do their bidding.” Photograph: Al Drago/The New York Times

Flashy marketing could not mask healthcare Bill was a wealth transfer to the rich

Senior White House adviser Steve Bannon  listens as US president Donald Trump speaks to the press before he meets with his cabinet in the White House. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Everyone is tiptoeing around the mad king in his gilded, sparse court

US president Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

George W Bush’s return to the public stage shows just how far likability can get you

Donald Trump now: “Back in the 1970s and 1980s, with a shameless talent for self-aggrandisement untethered to fact, Trump was able to turn himself into a celebrity.” Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

In his heyday, ‘President Action’ used fake news to sell himself as a chick magnet

US president Donald Trump:  “He thinks confidence is more important than competence and attitude matters more than aptitude,” says  biographer Michael D’Antonio. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

A fine-tuned machine spewing chaos, cruelty, confusion, farce and transfixing craziness

US president Donald Trump  may  have pierced a malaise, as more millennials show interest in running for office. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

The president has breathed new life into everything from feminism to Senate hearings

Rarely seen: Melania Trump with her husband on  inauguration day. Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

As the first lady vanishes, her absence from her husband’s side is making her a folk hero

Donald Trump: “The only thing you can do is keep him distracted for a day and then one more day so that he doesn’t do anything disastrous,” says his biographer Michael D’Antonio. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty

For Trump, having the press corps captive in the White House is like mainlining heroin

Director and comedian Judd Apatow knows how the game is played:  he wasn’t as surprised by the election results as most people. Photograph: Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Downside of election result is people overeating and numbing out, says producer

Peter Thiel at his Manhattan home: “Whatever the superficialities of Trump might be, he was more authentic than the other politicians.” Photograph: The New York Times

The Facebook cofounder and funder of Hulk Hogan’s Gawker case is now on team Trump

President-elect Donald Trump with Secret Service: “I spent months never believing that he would be elected president,” said one Democrat. “I sincerely hope that the office makes the man.” Photograph: AP/Andrew Harnik

As Trump’s swearing in approaches, finally bipartisan consensus: It’s time to flip out

US president Barack Obama:  Lost touch with his revolutionary side and settled comfortably into being an Ivy League east coast cerebral elitist who hung out with celebrities. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP

In trying to get Hillary over the line, the president forgot why voters chose him in 2008

The problem with Donald Trump is we don’t know which of the characters he has created he would bring to the Oval Office. The trouble with Hillary Clinton is we do know. Photograph:  Andrea Comas/Reuters

Clinton and Trump could not run for presidency without indulging worst instincts

‘The story of how Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton rose and reinvented themselves and embraced and brawled is the story of New York itself.’ Photograph: Zach Gibson/The New York Times

The story of how Trump and Clinton rose is a tale of power, influence, class and ambition

Michelle Obama: The first lady says the stories about Trump remind women “of stories we heard from our mothers and grandmothers about how, back in their day, the boss could say and do whatever he pleased to the women in the office.” Photograph: EPA/CJ Gunther

The Donald dismisses the women accusing him as not attractive enough to assault

 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump: Made a grudging apology for  remarks he made  about using his celebrity status to grope women. Photograph: JIM LO SCALZO/EPA

Trump won’t prepare for tonight’s debate, even as his future hangs in the balance

Doanld Trump unravelled after the first debate and has continued to do so since. Photograph: Getty Images

White House hopeful’s gossipy, shrewish character traits have been on show for years

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton  doesn’t even need an oppo-research team digging up nasty stuff about her opponent’s record. She just has to stand there and wait for Trump to open his mouth. Photograph: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Letting Democratic candidate evade all criticism is not good for her or the country

Donald Trump: “I’m sorry I pretended I was going to release my tax returns. Of course I didn’t pay any taxes.” Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Donald Trump is sorry he has to sacrifice so much to make America great again

Hillary Clinton “is a reliable creature of Wall Street.” Photograph: Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Faced with the unpredictable Trump, Hillary may be best bet to defend US establishment

Inauguration Day, January 20th, 2017: “I’m going to make Ivanka secretary of state. And Tiffany will be over at defence. Keep it in the family.” Photograph: Damon Winter/The New York Times

And after all the cries of ‘Lock her up!’ Hillary Clinton finally gets what’s coming to her

President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton embrace: Mr Obama once said “Hillary Clinton. She’ll say anything and change nothing. It’s time to turn the page.” Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP

On his way up Barack Obama criticised Hillary Clinton. Now he must praise her

Both of Donald Trump’s barbed-wire universes were on display at the convention last week. Photograph: AP

Nominee and Whitehouse hopeful continues to brag his brash way to general election

 George W Bush talked in Dallas about “finding our better selves”. If only he had found his in office. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Release of inquiry pages confirms suspicious links to Saudi royals rather than Iraq regime

 Barack Obama looks on as presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Obama thinks Clinton has the specific skillset that is required of the next president. Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

What should disturb the US president is that the email transgression is not a one-off

‘Boris Johnson’ and ‘Donald Trump’: a buffoonish “cocktail of charm, bluster and obfuscation”. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

After Brexit vote, the French aren’t Wilde about the world’s two most infamous blonds

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump:  has been unable to marry his often canny political instincts with some actual knowledge. Photograph:  Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Billionaire’s behaviour casting serious doubt on whether he is qualified to be US president

Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves at supporters. Photograph: Adrees Latif

Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren have a private chat about running together

 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reacts as she hugs actors Sally Field (left)  and Elizabeth Banks  during a “Women for Hillary” event in Culver City, California. Photograph:  Mike Blake/Reuters

The Democrat’s failure to fully acknowledge the email controversy is just one barrier

Supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders attend a rally in Carson, California, last week. “The 2016 race is transcendentally bizarre. We have two near-nominees with the highest unfavourables at this point in the race of any in modern history.” Photograph:  Monica Almeida/New York Times

Maureen Dowd: Sanders and Trump scent blood as Hillary campaign limps on joylessly

Republican front-runner Donald Trump: “Paul [Ryan] said to me that he has never seen anything like it because I’m a non-politician and I beat very successful politicians. He was really fascinated by how I won.” Photograph: Rob Kerr/AFP/Getty Images

Republicans wring their hands as the New York billionaire savours his unlikely victory

Donald Trump. Photograph: Travis Dove/The New York Times

Maureen Dowd: After House speaker's rebuff, the two sit down to hash it out

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton: on some foreign policy issues, it’s Hillary the Hawk against Donald the Quasi-Dove. Photographs: Damon Winter/Zach Gibson/The New York Times

Republican has tender ego, whereas Democrat is so tough she is known as ‘the Warrior’

US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:  her  decision on Iraq was put through a political filter and a paranoid mindset. Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Has Clinton the confidence to act in ways that are contrary to political interests?

Peter Dinklage: “If it doesn’t boil the blood, especially in this genre, then we’re not doing our jobs.” Photograph: Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Peter Dinklage talks dragons, fame and Donald Trump to superfan Maureen Dowd

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump: it’s ridiculous how many mistakes he has has made in rapid order to alienate women when he was already on thin ice with them. Photograph: Marisa Wojcik/The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram via AP

Businessman may be the GOP front-runner, but he just keeps alienating women

US president Barack Obama dances the tango during a state dinner hosted by Argentina’s president Mauricio Macri in Buenos Aires. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

The US president proves he can go to a ballgame and still keep his eye on the ball

Republican would-be presidential candidate Donald Trump at Fountain Park, Arizona, during a campaign rally. Photograph: Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Brand baron seems cool with being called a bigot and a menace – by his own party

Nancy Reagan: enjoyed dishing the dirt over lunch in the Polo Lounge. Photograph: Reuters/Sam Mircovich

While celebs officially shun Old Hollywood headquarters the Beverly Hills Hotel, my friend Max is not so sure

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump: “The most enjoyable thing about the Trump phenomenon has been watching him make monkeys out of a lot of people who had it coming.”   Photograph: Robert F Bukaty/AP

No one is more shocked at how far Donald Trump has come than Donald Trump

Prof Anita Hill  Photograph:  Frank Miller

As per the OJ and Clarence Thomas cases, one theme dominates the US

Hillary Clinton is coming up drastically short on trustworthiness. Photograph:  Jim Young/Reuters

Maureen Dowd: Key demographic who deserted her in 2008 are still not convinced

Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton: Bernie Sanders’s populist surge has led some top Democrats to wonder if Barack Obama will have to step in and endorse her campaign. Photograph: Adrees Latif/Reuters

Hillary’s campaign cries sexism too often and pales when compared to Bernie Sanders

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump: while others cast him as a bully, Trump cast himself  at a New Hampshire rally as a tender soul trying for self-actualisation. Photograph: Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo

Businessman claims he knows how to act properly and flexibly when he needs to

Sarah Palin and Donald Trump: “When Palin turned out to be utterly unqualified and unintelligible, spouting her own special Yoda-like language, it did not reflect poorly on women as a whole – only on her and John McCain.” Photograph: Cassi Alexandra/Bloomberg

Donald Trump’s endorser has way of getting her message across that few identify with

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gestures as she walks on stage at a Democratic fundraising dinner featuring all three candidates in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photograph: Getty Images

Contender seeks to be seen as dog with a bone compared with feline Obama

Former US president Bill Clinton  campaigning for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Photograph: Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

Hillary Clinton is on a sticky wicket when she accuses Donald Trump of bullying – and he knows it

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Sarasota, Florida on Saturday: with all his bombast and incivility, Trump has joyfully debunked political correctness for the complete fraud that it is. Photograph: Scott Audette/Reuters

The Republicans and Democrats find no shortage of bones to pick over turkey

Former US president George HW Bush: “Like many uptight, upper-class families, the Bushes seem unable to directly confront tensions and talk to each other candidly. In the case of the Bushes, this ended up rupturing the globe.” Photograph: Aida Crawley/EPA

Bush patriarch has used his new biography to tackle some family politics

 Jeb Bush: this was going to be the year that settled sibling scores – he would get what his parents considered his birthright. Photograph: Joe Skipper/Reuters

Jeb Bush won’t turn around his listless campaign by channelling his brother W

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