Friday, February 17, 2017

Mr. Trump Triumphs Over the Press Conference

As our case is new so we must think anew and act anew.
                 --Abraham Lincoln

An hour spent on the treadmill this morning watching the Trump press conference. It struck me there are two sides: Mr. Trump, who's objective is to convince those who voted for him they were correct, and did not make a mistake, and on the other side  press, most of whom intend to prove the opposite.

Mr. Trump won this round.

The questions began with a straightforward question from Mara Liasson, who asked, "Did you fire Michael Flynn?"  Trump answered that this whole thing with his national  security advisor is fake news.
And he was, basically, in his own terms, correct. He did not define the term "fake news" but in context what he meant in this instance is that there really is no story here. Nobody except the press and the chattering class has any real interest who Mr. Trump's national security advisor is, or whether he was fired, or why or who replaces him.

Ms. Liasson had a kernel of an idea: I will ask him a yes or no type question and try to get a single straight answer out of him. But, of course, he's too smart for that.  He said, basically, the whole issue is ridiculous, so he makes a soap opera out of it, how the press done him (Trump and Flynn) wrong.  The problem is, she chose a "story" which nobody beyond the Beltway cares about. And virtually every question--save the question from Lisa Dejardins of the News Hour about what he intends to do about resurrecting his Muslim ban--was a question about something not germane.

What we want to know about is jobs and will there be another terrorist attack and by whom and when and where? And what is the new Trumpcare going to be?  And what is the Republican Congress going to do to Medicare and Social Security? 

He'll say, "Oh, you'll love it." And then you can say: Specifically, what are we going to like?  You are a deal maker. Do we not get to see the details of the deal?

The press corps asked questions about whether the Trump campaign was in cahoots with the Russians during his campaign.  Must have been half a dozen reporters asking the same question about that. Truth is, this is all fake news. Fake news in the sense it's trivial news, of no real concern to me or any of the coal miners who voted for Trump. It's fake in the sense that it is presented as news when nobody cares about the story, so it is, by definition, dog bites man. No story. The Russians did not vote in our elections. If they wanted Trump to win, that's their business.  But they had no power to launch any disinformation which might have affected the outcome, certainly not compared with the disinformation launched by James Comey of the FBI.

I don't care, no steel worker or assembly line worker at Carrier cares about the firing of Mr. Flynn or  whether Mr. Trump talked to Mr. Putin daily during the campaign, or whether he coordinated activities with Mr. Putin. The press is trying to delegitimize Mr. Trump's election by somehow implying if it weren't for some nefarious Russian connection, Trump would not have won.
Get over it, press.

Of course, Mr. Trump would love to revisit the election, his most fun time ever. He still wants to go on campaign stops speaking to adoring crowds. And he still wants to show how he overcame adversity and unfair play by talking about how Ms. Clinton got the questions before the debates. 
That is his own "fake news."
Nobody cares about the debates. Ms. Clinton demolished Mr. Trump in the debates but the voters who mattered had already made up their minds. Besides, she beat him on substance and on details--he won the emotional side. She says she was fighting for racial equality and equal pay when he was making deals on his daddy's dime and he responds she has been "nasty" to him, and she is not nice and she is unfair to demolish him so completely.
Ever notice how often he reacts with "that is so unfair?" Or "You are not nice. You are dishonest. Or you are a loser."

Mr. Trump says he does not want to go back to the bad old days when we were alienated from the Russians. He'd rather negotiate deals with the Russians. What deals he has in mind is not clear. Giving Russia Ukraine, the Baltic nations and Syria?

Mr. Trump responded to most questions as he always has, and in the past 18 months, the press continues to get pummeled by him. He begins by commenting on his emotional reaction to the reporter and  to the question. Is the reporter someone he likes? Is the question a nice question or an insult? Does the reporter work for the Failing New York Times or the Dishonest CNN? Has the reporter hurt him or treated him badly?  Is the person he is being asked about a nice person, a good man, a fantastic woman, a good person?  And, what was the question? Lost in all that.

A reporter wearing a yarmulke and a beard and a white shirt and black pants promised to ask a nice and simple question and then embarked on a long winded statement about a rise in anti-Semitic incidents since Mr. Trump's election, which connects to the argument that by embracing anti Muslim rhetoric, Mr. Trump gave license to all the hate groups across the country, to white supremacists and nativists.

 Trumps  opponents have tried to say that whenever someone scrawls a Swastika across a synagogue or a "Nigger" across a black Church, that's Mr. Trump's fault. He responded, quite reasonably, that this country has had hate and division long before he became President and if people act badly that's not his fault. 

You can argue about the President's role of "enabling" such sentiment, but that's a losing battle. He will argue he's a nice guy and loves everyone and Blacks and Hispanics and women all voted for him in numbers which gave lie to the argument that they see him as a hater or a threat.

So, members of the press, don't go there. You've lost that argument. Ask him about specifically what law he will sign about the replacement for Obamacare and whether he endorses Couponcare for Medicare and Social Security.

When a patient slides deeply enough into dementia, he typically retains all the standard phrases, empty of content. What did you have for breakfast this morning? Oh, it was a lovely morning. One of those days you're glad to be alive. It was swell.
But did he actually eat breakfast, and if so was it eggs, bacon or cereal? No clue. Because he does not really remember, he confabulates. He gives an answer which indicates his emotional state, but he cannot answer the substance: Eggs? Bacon? Orange juice?

The press, every last one of them, has failed to figure this out about Mr. Trump.
Try asking him specifics:  You said on January 13th you would sign a law repealing Obamacare on January 20th and the law to replace would be signed the same day.  What date do you say today will you sign into law the replacement for Obamacare?

Then, when he shrugs off, well that's up to the light weights--he called Schumer a lightweight and nobody even noticed--among the Democrats allow me to get a bill on my desk, I'll sign it.

So follow up with: Will you sign a law which allows states which want to keep Obamacare to keep it?

Get into substance and detail as much as you can,  because he cannot handle detail and cannot keep it in mind.

Give up on the following stories:  1. Anything about his personnel choices.  2. Anything about the Russians 3. Anything about whether he is anti-Semitic or endorses anti Semitism. 4. Anything which has an emotional content.  
Ask him about those jobs he says GM, Ford and Walmart have said they will provide American workers since he became President.  Present him with the data:  Walmart actually had planned those jobs before he was elected and announced that on September 23, 2016. GM had planned that new plant and released the announcement August 15, 2016. And so on. You don't have to tell the American public he can't take credit for jobs already in the pipeline.

The Muslim travel ban was rolled out just fine--it was the so-called judge who screwed it up.  That's not a winner.
Saying his administration is in "chaos" is a loser. One man's chaos is another man's disruption and chaos was what those voters in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania wanted.

The reporters for CNN, MSNBC, the News Hour, the Washington Post and the Failing New York Times may or may not be bright people, but they are focusing on words which are non specific, like chaos, fear, nervous, rather than the things Mr. Trump cannot play with--specific dates, laws, rules.

P.S.  Chuck Schumer is a light weight. Trump does have one uncanny ability--the ability to look at someone and see his or her most debilitating vulnerability.  Jeb Bush was low energy; Marco Rubio was too small; Elizabeth Warren is Pocahontas, and Hillary, of course was "crooked."  Whether or not it is true, it is the most damaging dig. In Schumer's case, it is true. He is a light weight. And, typical of the Democrats, they have chosen a light weigh to lead them. First Harry Reid, now Schumer. The Democrats eat their young and hoist up their weaklings to rule.

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