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Donald Trump’s inauguration was one like no other. From his talk of American carnage to the belligerent mobs who heckled his supporters, it was a peculiar scene that kicked off an unusual presidency. It was also the beginning of a novelty in the news cycle. Twitter gave the vociferous Commander in Chief his own press briefing room, and Debra wades into how this left the media, critics and his own team, scrambling to translate. Let’s just say this complicated things…
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The intervening years seem not to have taught Saunders very much.
She criticizes Trump for the disrespectful way he fired FBI Director Jim Comey. Given what we now know about Comey’s treacherous behavior, he should have been fired even more harshly —and much sooner!
She criticizes Trump for his diplomacy with “Little Rocket Man”, North Korea’s dictator. In retrospect, it looks like Trump understood how to manage him.
They say all kinds of things like this. He obviously knew what he was doing.
My take isn’t so much that Trump knew/knows what he’s doing as it’s that he has a very good sense of how to shoot from the hip rhetorically. And excellent timing. He understands human frailty better than most anybody, which, I believe, is a big reason why his haters despise his voters (I voted for him in 2020) as much if not more than they despise him, evidenced most recently by the president talking incessantly and dangerously about the evils of MAGA Republicans. Never has a president spoken in public so bigotedly about voters he cannot reach. Such projection, this political party.
Thanks for listening.
Yes, Comey should have been fired sooner. But that doesn’t excuse Trump’s decision to fire Comey remotely — instead of doing so face-to-face or delegating the task to his chief of staff. The White House didn’t even know where Comey was at the time, which led to Comey from essentially getting the boot on national TV.
Trump got nothing from his first summit with Kim Jong Un. He walked away with no “deliverable.” Kim got a place on the international stage — so no, Trump didn’t understand how to manage Kim. But you are right that Trump had Kim’s number. As the new book “Divider” revealed, Trump said of Kim “that f—r would knife you in the stomach if he had the opportunity.”
In fact, in a postscript, Saunders points out some of Trump‘s foreign policy successes, including North Korea.
Well, so far, so bad. I’ll see how the next episode goes before I decide whether to cancel my subscription.
Let me see if I understand.
James Comey briefed Donald Trump on the so-called pee tape, just so the media would cover it. He leaked to the media by way of a close friend. He lied to Trump’s face, telling him that he was not an object of the inquiry.
Yet Trump should have fired him more decorously?
By the way, the reason a special counsel was appointed was not because Trump fired Comey, but because Sessions was a weakling and let himself be rolled by his staff.
I agree with your general point, but I think he was actually negotiating pretty well when people complain about this stuff.
Yes, a President of the United States should fire the FBI chief in a professional manner. He made the order from the White House, not a sandbox. “He started it,” isn’t really a winning political argument.
Trying to remember, who made Sessions Attorney General?
If anyone wonders what went wrong with Trump and his ongoing war with a press determined to portray him negatively, look no further than the description of the hassle the press made over the crowd size on inauguration day. Does anyone really care about such an insignificant detail? Please tell us there were more important events going on in the world on the day he took office.
Instead of reporting the details of legislation under consideration and how it would impact our daily lives, TV and print subjected us to four years of a constant stream of playing gotcha as they tried very hard to bring him down with questionable sources and information fed to them by Clinton cohorts.
Hopefully you will look at your fellow journalists with the same critical eye in the way they covered the government as you have for Trump.
There were more important events happening the day after the Inauguration. Unfortunately, at the President’s request, Press Secretary Sean Spicer called an unscheduled briefing to take issue with crowd estimates in news stories about the Inaugural Address.
This is a story about the Trump White House’s relations with the press and the press corps’ relations with the Trump administration. So of course I am not going to leave out Spicer’s first briefing. Sadly, Trump sent Spicer out to say things he knew weren’t true.
I just read more closely what you said.
Whatever progress Trump made or did not make with Little Rocket Man stopped the day he left office. It’s been nothing but belligerence, missile tests, and lately small exchanges of fire between the Koreas since. Things seem to have gone back to normal here. Nothing was fixed.
The question is, why did Spicer do it, if he really believed what he was saying wasn’t true? Loyalty? True loyalty in any White House official, in any White House, is not slavish obedience to a President’s momentary whim or lapse in judgment, but watching out for the interests, long term, of the President and the country.
You have to be ready to say, “Sir, this will only make both of us look foolish, and I won’t do it. If you wish me to tender my resignation, it will be on your desk in an hour.”
If it’s true that, counting online viewers, Trump’s inauguration beat Obama‘s, then Spicer could have said that. He could also have pointed out that Obama had millions of fans almost literally within walking distance, so Trump’s supporters traveled more miles in aggregate to get there.
You have no idea. A man works his whole life to become the White House press secretary and he’s told to hold a press conference to deny something clearly not true — and you expect him to kiss it goodbye in a moment with little notice?
I appreciate that you clearly have listened to the podcast. You’ve thought about what you wrote. I don’t understand why you hurl all the blame at Spicer, not the president who for no good reason pushed Spicer to say something clearly not true.
Trump, paying a big political debt: Sessions was, I believe, the first major politician to endorse him. I don’t know if there was any way that Sessions’ inadequacy when tested could have been known in advance.
Was Trump warned in advance about Sessions, like he was about Comey? I’ve never heard anything like that, but you may know better than I do.
As for North Korea, my idea of what was feasible may be more modest than yours. As with Putin, Trump kept things relatively quiet, which is probably the most you can hope for.
Do we know Trump knew the statement was untrue when he pushed it?
Listen to the podcast again and the rude remarks made by the press before they even knew if the numbers were true. Is it unrealistic to expect a polite comment from someone acknowledging further research might be in order. Each president, at least during my long lifetime, has been given a “honeymoon” period when they first take office. Not so with Trump. The collective media snobbishly looked down their noses at him from the beginning.
There is no shame in having a smaller crowd size than that of Barack Obama, the nation’s first Black president.
I just googled Trump inauguration crowd size and was amazed at the number of organizations who devoted so much time and print to playing gotcha over crowd size. Perhaps too many reporters had Potomac fever and didn’t understand that the average voter didn’t give two figs about the subject. At most it was worth a paragraph.
Absolutely. My point is, given Trump’s well-justified skepticism about the liberal media, he would automatically distrust what they had to say about the subject.
Especially if he had gotten the personal impression, from his own eyes, that the crowd was larger than they said.
The liberal media, we should note, have a long record of minimizing and downplaying pro-life demonstrations. They don’t want to encourage their enemies.