Missile Launch, The White House Dump
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Vol. 6, No. 203
Chest Bumping: In response to North Korea’s missile launches, The US last night test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile to demonstrate American power. The missile flew 4,000 miles to a Pacific atoll.
The American President: Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed yesterday what President Trump’s lawyer denied — that the President helped write Donald Jr.’s misleading account of his meeting with a Russian lawyer offering damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Sanders said, “He weighed in, offered suggestions, like any father would.”
The President’s lawyer previously denied repeatedly that Trump was involved with drafting the statement.
With another disaster unfolding, Trump was busy on Twitter yesterday trying to burnish his image. “Stock Market could hit all-time high (again) 22,000 today. Was 18,000 only 6 months ago on Election Day. Mainstream media seldom mentions!”
Well, actually they report on the stock market all day long.
Trump also tweeted, “Only the Fake News Media and Trump enemies want me to stop using Social Media (110 million people). Only way for me to get the truth out!”
Truth is a moving target with the Trumps. Son Eric appeared on Fox News with Sean Hannity bemoaning the lack of support for his father among Republican politicians. “My father has the voice of the country,” the younger Trump said. “The people of this country love him. Why wouldn’t they get in line?” he asked.
The President does not have the voice of the country. His popularity polls are running at an historically low 36-40 percent, the lowest in 70 years for a new president.
There’s more. A lawsuit filed by a Fox News contributor claims that the network conspired with the White House to concoct a news story that a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer leaked DNC emails during the election campaign, not Russian hackers. The suit claims the President was involved with actual wording of the false story.
Yascha Mounk, a lecturer at Harvard, writes in the NY Times, that Trump is becoming a danger to democracy. With Trump’s threats to investigators, dallying with firing the attorney general, denying Russian election hacking, and warring with truth, she says, “This all points to the same conclusion: Mr. Trump is willing to deal a major blow to the rule of law — and the American Republic — in order to end an independent investigation into his Russia ties.”
She writes, “This is worrying. The Constitution cannot defend itself. If Congress does not stand up to Mr. Trump because Republicans are afraid of their own base, the president may be able to obstruct the course of justice with impunity. Worse, he may then conclude that he can get away with violating even more basic limits on his power.”
BookBeat: Arizona’s junior Senator Jeff Flake has written a book that may be the equivalent of his “Jerry McGuire” memo to the Republican party — he might never work in that agency again.
In “Conscience of a Conservative,” a title borrowed from Barry Goldwater, Flake goes after Trump, who he never supported for office. The senator writes, “Volatile unpredictability is not a virtue. We have quite enough volatile actors to deal with internationally as it is without becoming one of them.”
Flake writes about the 2016 campaign that, “We pretended that the emperor wasn’t naked. Even worse: We checked our critical faculties at the door and pretended that the emperor was making sense.”
Flake is not innocent. He voted to repeal Obamacare without a replacement, and his popularity in Arizona is running at Trump levels. Still, Flake has a point about how the Republican party has taken on a viciousness and obtuseness that has both crippled the party and stalled Congress. Flake asks in a column for Politico, promoting his book, “If ultimately our principles were so malleable as to no longer be principles, then what was the point of political victories in the first place?”
Advise and Consent: The Senate voted 92-5 yesterday to confirm Christopher Wray to replace James Comey as director of the FBI. Wray, a veteran of the Justice Department, said during confirmation hearings that if the President pressured him to drop an investigation, he would push back or resign.
Coverup: Pregnant tennis star Serena Williams graces the cover of the August Vanity Fair magazine. She’s black, beautiful, and tastefully naked in the style of Demi Moore’s similar pose in 1991 by Annie Leibovitz, who shot both.
Evidently, not tastefully enough for shoppers at the upscale Gelson’s supermarket in Pacific Palisades, Calif. The store moved the magazine away from the checkout area and covered the lower two-thirds.
“The Palisades” is one of the richest neighborhoods of Los Angeles, home to plenty of actors and major players in the entertainment business. Also home to some people shocked by the image of a pregnant black woman. Gelson’s tells Adweek that some customers complained about the Williams cover. Let’s hope it wasn’t Demi Moore.
National Dump: The President is planning a two-week vacation at his golf resort in New Jersey. A profile in Golf magazine explains why he likes it there. “Chatting with some members before a recent round of golf, he explained his frequent appearances: ‘That White House is a real dump.’