Last week, Peter Sagal on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me expressed a wish to Donald Trump that he stop giving him so much material to work with. I feel the same way. Here’s a small smattering of stuff that caught my eye (that didn’t fit into my earlier post on Trump and Religion):
- Ah, C’mon. Sometimes, you wonder what reality you live in when you see the headline: “Trump skirts Russia issue in a freewheeling news conference: ‘I’m not ranting and raving’” In the article, it was noted that he said Thursday that “nobody that I know of” from his campaign contacted Russian agents or government officials before his election. He also said that Michael Flynn acted appropriately in discussing sanctions with Russia during the transition period (never mind the Logan Act). He said Flynn was asked to resign only because he misled Vice President Mike Pence about those discussions. In fact, he said “it certainly would have been ok with me” if Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak when President Obama was still in office. He also said his travel ban worked without a hitch. Lastly, he said about the press conference: “Tomorrow, they will say, ‘Donald Trump rants and raves about the press,'” he said. “I’m not ranting and raving.” It must be an interesting Einsteinian Frame of Reference in which he lives.
- Before and After. Before his election, Trump was constantly praising Wikileaks for their good work, declaring at a rally in Pennsylvania, “I love WikiLeaks!” To the cheering throngs that night, Mr. Trump marveled that “nothing is secret today when you talk about the internet.” The leakers, he said, had performed a public service by revealing what he called a scandal with no rival in United States history. But now that the shoe is on the other foot? Trump is condemning leaks about his administration, calling them a “criminal action” and “Un-American”. Remember what I’ve been saying about consistency, boys and girls. There are lots more “Before and After”s. Before: He condemned Hillary for using a private email server; After: He uses his private Android phone to tweet. Before: He condemned Hillary for potentially discussing classified information on a non-government server; After: He publicly discusses classified information in a Mar-a-Lago dining room. Before: He complained about all the vacations that Obama took and the cost to the country, and vowed he wouldn’t take a vacation while in the White House; After: he has spent every weekend golfing at his resort in Florida, while his wife stays in NYC, and his kids fly around the world on Trump business, all with Secret Service protection that is costing millions more than Obama ever spent. Before: He complained about Obama’s inexperience; After: He appoints people with no experience. You get my drift.
- What You Read. Yesterday, I read an article about how Conservatives and Liberals get completely different views of the news. No place can that be seen better than in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Sun is the product of muck-raking reporter Hank Greenspun, independent since 1950, and very liberal. The Las Vegas Review Journal is owned by Sheldon Adelson, a major Republican powerbroker. Today, the Sun has headlines like: “Trump bashes news media, defends start of administration” and “Trump White House wrestles with a crush of crises” and “White House taps billionaire to head intelligence review”. The LVRJ? The political headlines are: “House’s Obamacare replacement coming after recess, Paul Ryan says”; and … and … . The only headline that mentions Trump at the LVRJ is common to both: the name of the nominee for Labor Secretary. So, if you wonder why the other side isn’t talking about what you think they should be talking about, perhaps they aren’t seeing it.
- What You Don’t Read. Perhaps, this should be “What He Doesn’t Read”. There’s a new hotbed of political activity, according to the New York Times. Your neighborhood bookstore. According to the Times: «In the diffuse and suddenly fierce protest movement that has sprung up on the left since President Trump took office, bookstores have entered the fray, taking on roles ranging from meeting place to political war room. Many stores have distributed information for customers who are mobilizing against Mr. Trump’s actions: his cabinet choices, his threat to cut off funding for sanctuary cities and his immigration bans on refugees and many Muslims. At City Stacks, a bookstore in Denver, employees printed out forms with elected officials’ contact information in a gentle nudge to customers. On Inauguration Day, Broadway Books in Portland, Ore., handed out free copies of “We Should All Be Feminists,” a book-length call to arms by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the novelist. All over the country, independent bookstores have filled their windows and displays with “1984,” by George Orwell; “It Can’t Happen Here,” by Sinclair Lewis; and other books on politics, fascism, totalitarianism and social justice. Booksellers have begun calling the front table devoted to those titles the #Resist table.» Would Trump know about this? Unclear. From everything I’ve read, he prefers TV to reading books and going into bookstores. (Although my fingers want to make a generalization about his followers, I shall refrain from doing so. I do not know if you will show such restraint.)