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Today's episode of the “Trump (& co.) Comedy Show”…

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Author Topic: Today's episode of the “Trump (& co.) Comedy Show”…  (Read 117 times)
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« on: February 10, 2017, 11:22:35 pm »

from The Washington Post....

Shoker! Rediculous chocker Trump attaks and
dishoners English with ever-dummer spellings.

His carelessness with language is unpresidented.

By DANA MILBANK | 3:05PM EST - Tuesday, February 07, 2017

President Trump signs an executive order in the White House in Washington on February 3rd. — Photograph: Aude Guerrucci/Bloomberg News.
President Trump signs an executive order in the White House in Washington on February 3rd.
 — Photograph: Aude Guerrucci/Bloomberg News.

THE English language was unprepared for the attak. It was destined to loose. And, inevitably, it chocked.

The Trump White House on Monday night, attempting to demonstrate that the media had ignored terrorism, released a list of 78 “under-reported” attacks. The list didn't expose anything new about terrorist attacks, but it did reveal a previously under-reported assault by the Trump administration on the conventions of written English.

Twenty-seven times, the White House memo mis-spelled “attacker” or “attackers” as “attaker” or “attakers”. San Bernardino lost its second “r”. “Denmark” became “Denmakr”.

I wish I could say this attack was unprecedented — or, as President Trump spells it, unpresidented. But I cannot say that. Nothing has distinguished Trump, his aides and his loyal supporters more than their shared struggle with spelling.

The morning after his inauguration, Trump tweeted: “I am honered to serve you, the great American People, as your 45th President of the United States!”

The honer is all ours, sir — just as it was exactly a year ago when you tweeted: “Every poll said I won the debate last night. Great honer!”

Soon after the latest honer boner, Trump received his first international visitor, the British prime minister, and the Trump White House, in its official schedule, spelled her name wrong not once and not twice but thrice. Theresa May became Teresa May. Britons noticed the gaffe, as well they would: Teresa May is the name of a British former soft-porn actress and busty nude model.

During the transition, Trump thundered on Twitter in a tweet that was so unpresidential it might be Freudian: “China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters — rips it out of water and takes it to China in unpresidented act.”

But what was really unprecedented was Trump's tweet on Hillary Clinton that included three mis-spellings in the space of 140 characters: “Hillary Clinton should not be given national security briefings in that she is a lose cannon with extraordinarily bad judgement & insticts.”

My insticts say Trump should enable auto-correct.

That might have prevented him from labeling Senator Marco Rubio (Republican-Florida) a “lightweight chocker” and “always a chocker” after the senator choked in a GOP presidential debate.

Trump's spelling chock was no shock. He attacked another primary opponent, Senator Ted Cruz (Republican-Texas), by tweeting: “Big shoker! People do not like Ted.”

It was no shoker, by contrast, that Trump also tweeted that Cruz “will loose big to Hillary.”

Again and again, Trump loosed his way. Ridiculous became rediculous, Phoenix became Phoneix (a felicitous phonics failure), and many paid attention when Trump proclaimed that he was not “bought and payed for”.

Trump let the sun set on basketball's Bobby Knight, knighting him “Bobby Night. And he put Barack Obama into military housing with an extra “r,” turning the then-president into Barrack.

One might be tempted to say Trump's mis-spellings and those of his aides are evidence of a lack of education or an indication that they are not so bright. The constant barrage of mis-spelled invective on social media from Trump's most ardent supporters suggests the same (though this may be because they are Russian).

Such labeling is particularly tempting when Trump makes one of his mistakes in the process of insulting somebody else's intelligence — such as when he called MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell “one of the dummer people on television” or when he again used the unorthodox spelling of “judgement” in a tweet accusing Clinton of “stupidity”.

But such allegations would be the work of coastal elites who went to establishment institutions called “schools” where they studied elitist subjects such as “English”. In Trump's case, the trouble is likely not intelligence but his habitual sloppiness and recklessness. He apparently generates his executive orders with similar abandon (or perhaps that should be spelled a-Bannon). What I fear is that he will be equally careless with his foreign policy, giving little thought before, say, attacking Denmark.

If such an attack occurs, his request for a declaration of war practically writes itself. A proposed draft:

My Fellow Americans: You may be shoked by my military attak on the Kingdom of Denmakr. You may think it is rediculous and one of the dummer things I have done, and I admit it is unpresidented to bomb a peaceful nation. But my insticts and my judgement say we cannot afford to loose, for it would bring dishoner. And so we do not go gently into that good knight. We send our troops from their baracks until Denmakr’s aggressions are payed for. Only then will Copenhagen rise like the Phoneix. We will not falter, we will not fail — and we will not chock.

• Dana Milbank writes about political theater in the nation's capital. He joined The Washington Post as a political reporter in 2000.


More on this and other Trump stories:

 • Trumpism is all tantrums, all the time

 • Richard Cohen: Trump is a boy's idea of a man

 • Congress has the power to obtain and release Trump's tax returns

 • Dana Milbank: The grizzly truth — Trump's competence problems are bigger than DeVos

 • VIDEO: White House blames media for under-reporting 78 terrorist attacks

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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2017, 11:23:51 pm »

from the Los Angeles Times....

From Streep to McCarthy, why women
are the ones getting under Trump's skin

By MEREDITH BLAKE | 3:30PM PST - Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Melissa McCarthy as Press Secretary Sean Spicer during the “Sean Spicer Press Conference” sketch on “Saturday Night Live” on February 4th. — Photograph: Will Heath/NBC.
Melissa McCarthy as Press Secretary Sean Spicer during the “Sean Spicer Press Conference” sketch on “Saturday Night Live
on February 4th. — Photograph: Will Heath/NBC.

MEMO to frustrated Democrats trying to rankle President Trump: Try doing it in drag.

While many are still laughing about Melissa McCarthy's instantly classic portrayal of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer this past weekend on “Saturday Night Live”, his boss apparently isn't.

Politico reported on Monday that Trump was particularly unhappy that Spicer had been portrayed by a woman. According to a Trump donor quoted anonymously in the story, the president “doesn't like his people to look weak.”  (In a stunning break with tradition, Trump has refrained from saying anything on Twitter about the sketch.)

Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer on “SNL”.

And now Rosie O'Donnell, the president's longtime bête noire, has volunteered to play Steve Bannon, the Trump strategist who helped draft a controversial travel ban and, according to a growing media narrative, is the “real president”.  (Trump was also Twitter silent on the cold open depicting him sitting at a child's desk playing with toys while the show's Grim Reaper version of Bannon sat behind the actual Oval Office desk.) Whether “SNL” executive producer Lorne Michaels will take O'Donnell up on her offer is unclear, though he's shown a democratic willingness in the past to crowd-source “SNL” casting (see Larry David's brilliant turns as Bernie Sanders), there can be little doubt it would send Trump into meltdown mode.

For all his alpha male swagger, Trump has repeatedly proved himself uniquely vulnerable to attacks by women, from the millions who marched around the globe the day after his inauguration to Meryl Streep's lacerating take-down at the recent Golden Globes.

During Meryl Streep's acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, she condemned President-elect
Donald Trump’s campaign-trail comments about a reporter with a disability.

Part of what made McCarthy's caricature so devastating was the gender switch. Just as drag queens, with their over-the-top makeup and glitter, highlight the performative nature of femininity, McCarthy's cartoonish aggression — she chomped on gum and mowed down reporters with a Super Soaker squirt gun — turned Spicer's combative, hyper-masculine persona into a punchline.

It matters that Spicer was portrayed not by any woman, but by McCarthy, a performer who has done as much as nearly anyone to dispel the ludicrous, but once astonishingly mainstream, notion that women can't be funny. On Saturday, she showed that women can be funnier than men, even — maybe even especially — when playing men.

In yet another layer of significance, McCarthy also happened to appear in last summer's all-female “Ghostbusters” remake alongside “SNL” cast member Leslie Jones, who was the target of a campaign of virtual harassment led by Milo Yiannopoulos, a professional agitator and writer for Bannon's Breitbart News who was subsequently kicked off Twitter.

The spoof wasn't just a brilliant reversal of the comedic tradition of men playing women for laughs on “SNL” (e.g. Will Ferrell as Janet Reno or Kenan Thompson as Star Jones). It was also a delightful rebuke to Trump's over-the-top macho style.

From bragging about his penis size in a televised debate — remember when that happened? — to claiming that his opponent Hillary Clinton didn't have “a presidential look,” Trump clings tenaciously to antiquated ideas about power, image and masculinity.

During the seemingly never-ending primary campaign, Trump vanquished some of his most formidable Republican rivals by not so subtly questioning their virility — think “Little Marco” Rubio or “low-energy” Jeb Bush.

From O’Donnell to Megyn Kelly to Streep, women are the ones who consistently seem to get under his skin, and his counterattacks — mocking their looks, suggesting they have their periods or claiming they're “overrated” — only lend to his image as a schoolyard bully.

Not surprisingly, his still very young presidency has already been defined by female-led opposition, including the multitudes who turned out for post-inauguration protests in what, by some estimates, was the largest demonstration in American history, and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, whom Trump claimed “betrayed” the government when he fired her for defying his immigration order.

Though increasingly outdated, these notions are well-established in presidential politics, where machismo and leadership are often seen as interchangeable.

Ronald Reagan, a product of the Hollywood image-making machine, rarely missed the opportunity to be seen astride a horse. In 1988, the candidacy of Democrat Michael Dukakis was doomed in part because the diminutive Massachusetts governor looked insufficiently tough atop a tank. Barack Obama was derided as “feminine” for his healthy eating habits — green stuff is for women! — and his deliberative approach to foreign policy.

In less than three weeks in office, Trump has taken a defiantly bullheaded, my-way-or-the-highway approach to governance, showing little heed for established procedure or traditional checks and balances.

Trump may be the most aggressively macho president since Lyndon Johnson, a famously pugnacious, womanizing commander-in-chief who, according to biographer Robert Caro, referred to his own member as “Jumbo” and was known to leave the bathroom door ajar in an aggressive display of dominance.

Though Trump's beloved daughter Ivanka has built a brand around an ideal of womanhood that is, at least superficially, more modern than his own, Trump reportedly prefers his female staffers to “dress like women,” a detail that's sparked a furious social media backlash.

And will, in all likelihood, lead to more women “dressing like men” on “SNL”.

• Meredith Blake is an entertainment reporter for the Los Angeles Times based out of New York City, where she primarily covers television. A native of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, she graduated from Georgetown University and holds a master's degree from New York University.


Related stories:

 • Melissa McCarthy is scathing as Sean Spicer on ‘Saturday Night Live

 • Watch Jon Stewart's brutal anti-Trump screed alongside Stephen Colbert

 • Samantha Bee on the ‘Full Frontal’ move to Wednesdays and why she has no fear in the Trump age

 • See Stephen Colbert and ‘Stephen Colbert’ bid Barack Obama farewell

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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2017, 11:24:40 pm »

from The Washington Post....

I understand now.
The Trump administration is right about everything.

It is not their fault that someone (cough) Kellyanne (cough) stepped on that butterfly.

By ALEXANDRA PETRI | 5:07PM EST - Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald J. Trump. — Photograph: Gerald Herbert/Associated Press.
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald J. Trump. — Photograph: Gerald Herbert/Associated Press.

WE ARE being too uncharitable to the Trump administration.

We have probably made Sean Spicer cry, and that is not what anyone set out to do.

There is a much simpler explanation for the list of Secret Media Terrorism Coverups and the Bowling Green Massacre and the “alternative facts” than this idea that somehow, the Trump administration is making up facts or misleading the American people. Nonsense. They are doing the best they can with the facts they have. They simply have come here from an alternative universe.

It is not their fault that their facts appear to be quite different from what is happening in the universe where most people live. They did not ask to come here. Something went wrong with the timeline, is all. Somebody stepped on a butterfly, and here we are.

When we look at their recently provided list of times when the media failed to cover Horrible Acts Of Terrorism, what we see is a long series of mis-spellings in which, often, zero people died. When they look at it, do they see millions of lives cut short, enough to justify a massive travel ban? It is unclear. What is clear is that they exist in a universe where no one reported adequately on the Paris attacks, whereas we live in a universe where all 130 victims were profiled. This discrepancy is nobody's fault. There, the media really did cover up dozens of very serious attacks in which I, personally, was killed.

In their universe, America is “not so innocent.” (After the Bowling Green Massacre, we did what we had to do.) Also, the Bowling Green Massacre, something Kellyanne Conway mentioned in multiple interviews, is a real thing that happened. The carnage was unbelievable — not in the sense that it is here, where we don't believe that there was any carnage. In the other sense.

Kellyanne (cough) Conway (cough) stepped on a butterfly. — Photograph: Kena Betancur/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
Kellyanne (cough) Conway (cough) stepped on a butterfly. — Photograph: Kena Betancur/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.

Newt Gingrich tried to warn us about this months ago. These are alternative universes, and they are at war.

In their universe, Frederick Douglass is maybe still alive, and his contributions will be “recognized more and more.” There, Abraham Lincoln is known for being some kind of technological innovator, of whom it could be reasonably said that “10 years before or 20 years before, what he was doing would never have even been thought possible.” In their universe, these are enlightened things to say that make sense.

There, the crime rate is up. Here, it is down.

There, the “inner cities” are unbelievable. In that universe, any time people in the nightmarish hellscape of the inner city leave their homes, they are instantly shot. Every time. You cannot go to the store without being shot. People sit huddled in their homes waiting to draw straws as to who will leave the house first, as whoever does so is inevitably killed. It's awful. If we could only see what is happening in that universe, we would agree with sending in the feds.

In that universe, you need guns in your schools to protect from bear attacks, which are CONSTANT.

In that universe, “attacker” is spelled without the “c”.

There, immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen were, in fact, responsible for post-9/11 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Here, they aren't, but — there, they are.

There, the (failing) New York Times apologized for its bad coverage of Donald Trump.

In that universe, President Barack Obama was an evil king who constantly imposed his will on the people through illegal means. He was a Muslim who, naturally, was born in Kenya. We have still not seen his birth certificate.

In that universe, Hillary Clinton was accountable for scores and scores of deaths. Personally. Also, Trump is not the puppet, no puppet, she's the puppet. Ted Cruz's father assassinated JFK. Countless people cheered on New Jersey rooftops after 9/11. In that universe, these are well-documented facts, as opposed to what they are here: poorly documented conspiracy theories that did not happen.

Also, all immigrants there are MALICIOUS and BAD. They do murders, constantly.

Carnage covers the land. It is just as Trump said in his inauguration address, which was the best-received address ever at the biggest inauguration ever. Trump, when visiting CIA headquarters, received more applause than Peyton Manning did (from the CIA?) after he won the Super Bowl (and went to the CIA?!?). Look, this is just a fact.

Both of these universes are equally valid. We happen to live in one where none of these things are true, and they happen to live in one where all of these things are true, but that does not mean that we are right and they are wrong. It simply means that our perspectives are different.

But don't worry. Trump is doing his best to drag us out of this universe. And if we keep implementing all his real solutions to what appear, to the untrained eye, to be imaginary problems, the world will soon be just as unpleasant a place as he says it is.

• Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog at The Washington Post, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of A Field Guide to Awkward Silences.


Read more on this topic:

 • VIDEO: We asked Bowling Green residents what they were doing on the day of the ‘Bowling Green Massacre’

 • Kellyanne Conway says her Bowling Green interview won praise — before the ‘haters’

 • Kellyanne Conway, in return to CNN, plays a shell game

 • Rosie O'Donnell as Steve Bannon? SNL could really make Trump angry if it wanted to.

 • The Fascism Forever Club, and other clubs that were definitely jokes at the time

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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2017, 11:25:30 pm »

from The Washington Post....

Sean Spicer went full Melissa McCarthy today

He's mad as hell, and he's not going to take it anymore!

By CHRIS CILLIZZA | 3:04PM EST - Thursday, February 09, 2017

Reporters repeatedly asked White House press secretary Sean Spicer about President Trump's comments on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's comments during a daily press briefing on February 9th. — Photograph: Reuters.
Reporters repeatedly asked White House press secretary Sean Spicer about President Trump's comments on Supreme Court
nominee Neil Gorsuch's comments during a daily press briefing on February 9th. — Photograph: Reuters.

WHITE HOUSE press secretary Sean Spicer turned it up to “11” at his daily press briefing Thursday.

Spicer, who has come under massive scrutiny in the wake of a biting “Saturday Night Live” sketch about him and several leaks about how displeased President Trump is with his performance, battled with reporters for 30 minutes — seeking out confrontation wherever he could find it.

Spicer repeatedly interrupted and talked over reporters — particularly when they sought clarification on the criticism Trump has leveled at Senator Richard Blumenthal (Democrat-Connecticut) over how he characterized a meeting with Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Spicer's incredulity over reporters “not getting” his obvious attempt to split hairs on Trump and Gorsuch made for several very awkward moments. Separately, Spicer mocked a reporter for questioning whether a tweet from the president was more important than a statement by his press secretary. He balked at reporters as they tried to ask follow-up questions — any follow-up questions.

In short: Spicer was on the offensive, annoyed at those who got in his way and not afraid to make that clear to everyone. Unintentionally — I think! — Spicer seemed to be channeling Melissa McCarthy's impersonation of him over the weekend. He didn't actually pick up the podium and shove it in anyone's face, but he sure seemed like he wanted to.

Spicer has never been a wilting flower behind the lectern but, with the exception of his scolding of reporters during the first Saturday of the Trump presidency, he's generally been good-natured in his daily briefing. The change on Thursday was somewhat striking. It was also yet more evidence that Spicer continues to try to find his way in the job even as his boss watches everything he does very, very closely.

Aggressive Spicer is likely to please Trump who, according to administration aides, has previously expressed disappointment with Spicer for not being a forceful enough advocate for him and his agenda. The problem for Spicer, of course, is that he really has two constituencies: Trump and the media who cover Trump. And while his tone probably brought a smile to Trump's face, it's the sort of performance that, if repeated, will sap some of the goodwill from the media that Spicer needs to do his job well.

This is the dilemma of every press secretary — please the boss or please reporters? — since the position was created. But Spicer's challenge is made even more difficult because Trump and some of his most senior advisers have made clear that he views the media as the opposition party. That makes treating the press with anything but total disdain a losing strategy for Spicer within the White House.

Maybe Aggressive Spicer is who we will see from now on. But, anger — like all strong emotions — gets less effective the more you rely on it.

• Chris Cillizza writes The Fix, a politics blog for The Washington Post, and hosts the Ciquizza podcast, a weekly news quiz (subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher).


More on this topic:

 • VIDEO: Spicer — Trump has ‘no regrets’ about Gorsuch comments

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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2017, 11:26:24 pm »

ROFLMAO....this just gets funnier and funnier and more hilarious every day!!

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« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2017, 12:08:20 pm »

from The Washington Post....

Trump says ‘I inherited a mess’, blasts media
and detractors at combative news conference

In a sprawling news conference, President Trump seemed to acknowledge widespread
reports of turbulence emanating out of his West Wing, only to claim that his White House
 — which so far has been marred by staff infighting, a controversial travel ban,
false statements, and myriad leaks — was operating seamlessly.

By ASHLEY PARKER and JOHN WAGNER | 4:06PM EST - Thursday, February 16, 2017

President Trump speaks during a press conference at the White House. — Photograph: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post.
President Trump speaks during a press conference at the White House. — Photograph: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post.

PRESIDENT TRUMP on Thursday aired his grievances against the news media, the intelligence community and his detractors generally in a sprawling, stream-of-consciousness news conference that alternated between claims that he had “inherited a mess” and the assertion that his fledgling administration “is running like a fine-tuned machine.”

“To be honest, I inherited a mess,” Trump said, in a news conference that lasted more than an hour and was at times rambling, combative and pointed. “It's a mess. At home and abroad, a mess. Jobs are pouring out of the country.”

Yet moments later, the president seemed to acknowledge the widespread reports of turbulence and upheaval emanating out of his West Wing, only to claim that his White House — which so far has been marred by staff infighting, a controversial travel ban, false statements and myriad leaks — was operating seamlessly.

“I turn on the TV, open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos — chaos,” he said. “Yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine, despite the fact that I can't get my Cabinet approved.”

Asked about recent reports that Mike Flynn, his former national security adviser who resigned Monday evening, had improperly discussed Russian sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the United States before Trump was sworn in, the president defended Flynn as a “fine person,” saying he had done nothing wrong in engaging the Russian envoy.

But, Trump said, Flynn had erred by misleading government officials, including Vice President Pence, about his conversations, which is why the president ultimately demanded his resignation.

“He didn't tell the vice president of the United States the facts,” Trump said. “And then he didn't remember. And that just wasn't acceptable to me.”

Trump made clear he had no problem with Flynn discussing the sanctions imposed on Moscow by the Obama administration with the Russian ambassador even if he was not directly told to do so by Trump, saying it was Flynn's job to reach out to foreign officials.

“No, I didn't direct him, but I would have directed him if he didn't do it,” he said.

Trump was asked several times about whether his campaign had contact with Russia and grew testy as reporters pushed him for a yes-or-no answer.

He said he certainly hadn't and that he was not aware of such contacts during the campaign.

“I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia,” Trump said. “I have no loans in Russia. I don't have any deals in Russia. President Putin called me up very nicely to congratulate me on the win of the election. He then, called me up extremely nicely to congratulate me on the inauguration, which was terrific. But so did many other leaders, almost all other leaders from almost all of the countries. So that's the extent.”

Trump also used the questions to press his case that the United States would be well-served by a better relationship with Russia and to mock his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, for her efforts to “reset” the relationship between the two countries while she was secretary of state.

Trump derisively referred to that “stupid plastic button that made us all look like jerks,” a reference to the red “reset” button that Clinton presented to the Russian foreign minister early in the Obama administration.

The news conference was ostensibly billed as a chance for Trump to announce his new pick to head the Labor Department — Alexander Acosta, who would be the first Latino in Trump's Cabinet — after Andrew Puzder, his original choice, withdrew from consideration on Wednesday amid mounting opposition on Capitol Hill. But for one hour and 17 minutes, the president offered the verbal equivalent of the brash and impetuous early morning tweets that have become the alarm clock for much of Washington, taking aim at everything from “illegal immigrant violence” to the “criminal leaks” within his intelligence community.

Trump said he would use his remarks to bypass the “dishonest media” and speak directly to the American people about the “incredible progress” his administration has made.

“The media is trying to attack our administration because they know we are following through on pledges we made, and they’re not happy about it for whatever reason,” he said.

Though the president began on a subdued, almost melancholy note, looking down repeatedly to read from prepared remarks on his lectern, he became more fiery and animated — joyful, even — when he began to banter and joust with the assembled reporters. At times, he seemed to reprise some of his favorite themes from the campaign trail, complaining about Clinton and criticizing President Barack Obama's policies, from his Affordable Care Act to his failed reset with Russia.

Trump repeatedly lambasted the “fake news” media — which at one point he upgraded (or downgraded) to the “very fake news” media — while promoting some dubious claims and fake news of his own.

Pressed on his incorrect assertion that he had the largest margin of victory in the electoral college since President Ronald Reagan, Trump blamed faulty facts.

“I was given that information,” he said. “Well, I don't know, I was given that information.”

On a substantive note, Trump said his administration would submit a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act in early to mid-March and should have a tax reform package around the same time.

“Tax reform is going to happen fairly quickly,” Trump said. “We're doing Obamacare. We're in final stages.”

During the news conference, Trump alternated between showering the media with scorn and taking a more playful tone.

At one point, he insisted he was enjoying himself. “I'm not ranting and raving — I love this,” he said. “I'm having a good time doing this.”

Trump's Thursday performance seemed an acknowledgment, by the president, that he may be his own best press secretary and adviser, and allowed him to appear both confident and comfortable. While many of his comments, as well as the sometimes disjointed nature of his delivery, are certain to alarm official Washington, they are also the sorts of red-meat talking points that delighted his base during the campaign and helped propel him to victory.

“I won with news conferences and probably speeches,” he told the assembled reporters. “I certainly didn't win by people listening to you people.”

• Ashley Parker is a White House reporter for The Washington Post. She joined The Post in 2017, after 11 years at The New York Times, where she covered the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns and Congress, among other things.

• John Wagner is a national political reporter covering the White House for The Washington Post.


More on this topic:

 • VIDEO: Donald Trump's grievance-filled news conference, in less than 5 minutes

 • VIDEO: Trump on Flynn firing: ‘I asked for his resignation’

 • The simple reason that Trump is holding a rally in Florida this weekend

 • When governing beckons, Trump keeps campaigning

 • Donald Trump's combative, grievance-filled news conference, annotated

 • In a news conference for the ages, Trump attacks his favorite foil: The media

 • Jim Hoagland: The Trump administration's most disturbing trait

 • Flynn in FBI interview denied discussing sanctions with Russian ambassador

 • Trump family's elaborate lifestyle is a ‘logistical nightmare’ — at taxpayer expense

 • John Podesta: Trump's dangerous strategy to undermine reality

 • Trump's pick to replace Michael Flynn as national security adviser turns down offer, people familiar with decision say

 • EDITORIAL: Trump can help Americans trust him by releasing his taxes

 • PHOTOGRAPH GALLERY: See what President Trump has been doing since taking office

 • PHOTOGRAPH GALLERY: See what Melania Trump has been doing since becoming first lady

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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2017, 12:43:27 pm »

from the Los Angeles Times....

Trump's news conference: Was it more like ‘SNL’ or ‘Dr. Strangelove’?

By LORRAINE ALI | 2:35PM PST - Friday, February 17, 2017

President Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House on Thursday. — Photograph: Andrew Harnik/Associated Press.
President Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House on Thursday. — Photograph: Andrew Harnik/Associated Press.

THE recent news cycle has felt like something out of a John le Carré thriller: CIA surveillance. Russian operatives colluding with presidential campaign aides. Espionage. A spy ship off the coast of Connecticut.

But when Donald Trump took the podium on Thursday in his first solo press conference as president, the tone was more “Dr. Strangelove” than “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”.

Trump referred to his Cabinet — from which National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was just fired — as a “fine-tuned machine,” called it the greatest Cabinet ever assembled (though it's not fully assembled), asked an African American reporter if she could arrange a meeting between him and the Congressional Black Caucus, and accused Hilary Clinton of giving uranium to the Russians.

It's doubtful if even Peter Sellers, who played President Muffley in “Strangelove”, could duplicate the sheer absurdity of the unscheduled, seemingly unending, presser.

Though exactly no one expected the former reality star to suddenly drop the bombastic approach that characterized his campaign for the White House, his behavior during the 75-minute news conference was bizarre, vengeful, angry, and erratic — even by Trump standards.

His despotic commands (“Sit down!”), his continued campaigning for an office he's already won (there's a rally in Florida this weekend, and the crowds will be “massive”) and his insistence that most every negative news story about him was “made up” by an “out of control” press was the stuff of great ratings, outlandish reality TV moments and evocative of memorable meltdowns by fictional characters on the big and small screens.

When Trump was asked what he planned to do about the Russian spy ship docked off the coast, his forceful answer recalled a particularly unhinged scene by Jack Nicholson as Colonel Jessup in “A Few Good Men”.

“I'm not going to tell you anything about what response I do,” said Trump to the reporter. “Because I don't talk about military and I don't talk about certain other things… So I don't have to tell you. I don't want to be one of these guys that say, ‘Yes, here's what we're going to do’. I don't have to do that. I don't have to tell you what I'm going to do in North Korea…. And I don't have to tell you what I'm going to do with Iran. You know why? Because they shouldn't know. And eventually you guys are going to get tired of asking that question. So, when you ask me, what am I going to do with the ship, the Russian ship, as an example? I'm not going to tell you. But hopefully I won't have to do anything. But I'm not going to tell you!”

The press conference was anything but what it should have been — a respectful and dignified discussion about some very real and dangerous issues that have nothing to do with how many electoral votes he did or didn't get, or how hard the job is.

“I inherited a mess. A mess,” he said, seemingly angry with the room itself about all he had to deal with as president. ISIS. Creating jobs. And Iran. Boy, had “Iran had really taken advantage of the administration before” him.

CNN's Jake Tapper referred to “Seinfeld” when describing the conference as “an airing of grievances. It was Festivus”. “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling tweeted: “Up until an hour ago, the scariest thing I'd ever watched was Psycho. #TrumpPresser.” Jimmy Kimmel said the news conference “reminded me of something you'd see before a pay-per-view boxing event.”

What the media mostly wanted from Trump was more information about the recently leaked U.S. intelligence documents that reveal repeated contact between Flynn, Trump's campaign advisers and Russian operatives during the presidential campaign when Russia hacked Democratic National Committee email accounts. Were they complicit? Was he complicit? What were they discussing?

Trump didn't like the questioning, so his response was to refer to the news outlets before him as failing, deceptive, bad, disgraceful, dishonest, distorting and fake — before dispensing with his own untrue information: that he'd won the electorate by a wider margin than any other recent president. Why wouldn't he expect a roomful of reporters who've called him out on this demonstrably false statement before, to not call him on it again? But surprised, he was:

Reporter: Mr. President, very simply, you said today that you had the biggest electoral margin since Ron Reagan. In fact, president Obama had 365…

Trump: I  was talking about Republicans…

Reporter: George Bush, 426 when he won. So why should Americans trust…

Trump: I was given that information. I was just given it. We had a very, very big margin.

Reporter: I guess my question is why should the American people trust you when you accuse the information they receive as being fake when you're providing information that’s not accurate?

Trump: I was given that information. Actually, I've seen that information around. But it was a very substantial victory. Do you agree with that?

Reporter: You're the president.

Trump: Yes.

Trump's usually embattled press secretary, Sean Spicer, stood on the sidelines, looking relieved as his boss demeaned the press outlets, interrupted most every question with a snarky or impatient comment, and lamented how hard it was to find a friendly reporter. At least it wasn't him up there, inspiring another “Spicy” parody by Melissa McCarthy on “Saturday Night Live”.  The show is a repeat this week, which may be best because, really, how can you top such a spectacle other than dispensing with parody and running the actual press conference itself?

Even Fox News's usual lockstep with the Republican Party was broken, at least momentarily, by Thursday's Trump show.

Shepard Smith said: “It's absolutely crazy, He keeps repeating ridiculous, throwaway lines that are not true at all, and avoiding this question of Russia, as if we're some sort of fools for asking the questions. Really? No sir. We are not fools for asking this question and we demand to know the answer to this question. You owe it to the American people.”

It was a moment, in itself, that seemed right out of an episode of “The Newsroom” or “The West Wing”.

• Lorraine Ali is television critic at the Los Angeles Times. Previously, she was a senior writer for the Calendar section where she covered culture at large, entertainment and American Muslim issues. Ali is an award-winning journalist and Los Angeles native who has written in publications ranging from The New York Times to Rolling Stone and GQ. She was formerly the L.A. Times' music editor and before that, a senior writer and music critic with Newsweek magazine.

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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2017, 11:44:15 am »

from The Washington Post....

House leaders postpone health-care vote amid hunt for backers

With no carrots to dangle, cajoling recalcitrant lawmakers on a nail-biter vote is hard

CBO analysis of revised health-care bill shows just as many uninsured, less deficit reduction

An even bigger challenge if health-care bill emerges from House: The Senate

A postponed health-care vote, a big GOP embarrassment and no good options ahead

Republicans have met the enemy on health care. It's them.

How Ryan messed the health-care fight up

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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2017, 06:49:00 am »

from the Los Angeles Times....

Healthcare debacle results from Republicans believing their own myths

By DAVID HORSEY | 5:00AM PDT - Monday, March 27, 2017

DONALD TRUMP and congressional Republicans created a political debacle for themselves by believing a set of scare stories about Obamacare that came back to haunt them. It is an object lesson in how false realities ultimately pop like soap bubbles when pricked by plain old truth.

There are five fatal fibs the GOP sold to supporters and to themselves:

Obamacare is socialistic, government-run healthcare: Actually, the ideas that led to the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, were developed in conservative think tanks in the 1990s as an alternative to a government-run, Canada-like, single-payer scheme. The testing ground for these ideas was Massachusetts under Republican Governor Mitt Romney. It was a middle-of-the-road idea that kept the private insurance industry at the heart of healthcare, something many Democrats, such as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, considered a terrible compromise.

The American people hate Obamacare: While it is true that quite a few Americans came to detest Obamacare, what they did not like was the Republican-created myth that Obamacare is onerous, oppressive and expensive. The very name Obamacare was a GOP marketing tool to make it less attractive to conservative voters. In reality, most people — especially all those in employer-run plans — were not affected much one way or another by the ACA. Many others had no idea what it really was. In interviews, some voters famously said they hated Obamacare but loved the ACA.

Obamacare will be repealed and replaced: Republicans made this promise for seven years and Trump made the same pledge throughout his campaign. When it came down to it, though, they discovered there was vast disagreement within their party about how to do it. The priority of the so-called Freedom Caucus in the House GOP was to eliminate entitlements and toss the whole healthcare mess to the states. Meanwhile, Republicans from swing districts recognized that they would put themselves in political peril if they began taking away healthcare from older people with limited means and serious medical conditions or from pregnant women or from the working poor or from young people on their parents' plans — all the people who were beneficiaries of the ACA.

The House GOP healthcare plan is what Trump promised on the campaign trail: Trump seems to have sold this big fib to himself. Even after the harsh details of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan's healthcare bill became clear, Trump continued to say it was a “beautiful plan” that would give everyone access to healthcare and end the “nightmare” of Obamacare. Talking nonsense might get you to the White House, but it doesn't guarantee you can pass legislation once you get there. Off the record, some Republican members of Congress who met with Trump said they were shocked by how ignorant he was of the bill's provisions.

Republicans speak for the American people when it comes to healthcare: Unlike Trump, the public grasped the details of the Republican scheme. In one poll, just 17% of voters favored it. That is pretty hard evidence that Republican politicians need to abandon their self-created myths about the ACA.

Here is the truth. Obamacare is far from perfect. Middle-income people in rural states have been hit especially hard by the changes that have come about in the healthcare market since the ACA was passed, but the Republican plan did nothing to help them while it took away care from millions of poor people and threatened to cause a stark erosion in the quality of coverage for many of the older working-class whites who are the heart of the Trump constituency.

Unless you are an anti-government, free-market absolutist or just a rich guy who hates paying taxes, Obamacare does not need to be repealed or replaced. It needs to be fixed. Republicans, working with Democrats (what a crazy idea that is!), should repair it, improve it, call it by whatever name they want, but stop pretending that most Americans have not already decided that healthcare is too vital not to be a right guaranteed to everyone.

Of course, that is not what will happen. Instead, insurance companies will continue to exploit the weaknesses of the ACA, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price will do everything possible to undermine the system as it is, and Trump will be playing golf at Mar-a-Lago until, to use the president's own term, the country's healthcare system “explodes.”

“Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated,” Trump said in a revelatory moment a month ago. It gets even more complicated when self-delusion runs so deep in a president and a political party.

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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2017, 09:33:21 pm »

from The Washington Post....

Sean Spicer loses his cool: ‘Stop shaking your head’

April Ryan asked a question about Russia, but Spicer wasn't having it.

By AARON BLAKE | 2:39PM EDT - Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Paul Spice, left, and April Ryan. — Photographs: The Washington Post.
Paul Spice, left, and April Ryan. — Photographs: The Washington Post.

WHITE HOUSE press secretary Sean Spicer finally seemed to reach a breaking point on Tuesday when it comes to questions about President Trump and Russia.

Spicer got testy in an exchange with American Urban Radio Networks reporter April Ryan after Ryan announced a premise that Spicer disagreed with: that the White House has a Russia issue to deal with. By the end, Spicer accused Ryan of pushing her own agenda and even instructed her not to shake her head at him.

“No, we don't have that,” Spicer said when Ryan cited the White House's Russia issue. When Ryan continued with her question, he cut in again: “No, no. I get it. But I've said it from the day that I got here until whenever that there's not a connection. You've got Russia.”

Spicer then offered this zinger: “If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that's a Russian connection.”

When Ryan tried again to ask her question, Spicer said, “I appreciate your agenda here…. At some point, report the facts.”

Spicer pointed to those who have said there is no proof of collusion between Russia and the Trump team — which is true but is only a part of the inquiries and is still being investigated by the FBI. He added, “I'm sorry that that disgusts you. You're shaking your head.”

Spicer then told Ryan that she was “going to have to take ‘no’ for an answer” when it came to the idea of collusion with Russia.

Ryan moved on, asking about former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice's visit to the White House and the fact that she wasn't a Trump supporter. But Spicer again took issue.

“It seems like you're hellbent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays,” Spicer said.

After some more back-and-forth, Spicer again spotted Ryan shaking her head and told her, “Please, stop shaking your head again.”

This is hardly the first time a White House press briefing has featured a pitched battled between reporters and Spicer. And Spicer hasn't been afraid to accuse reporters, including CNN's Jim Acosta and ABC's Jonathan Karl, of pushing their own agendas — especially on issues like Russia.

But the exchange with Ryan sure seemed to venture into different territory. Instructing her to stop shaking her head came off as demeaning, and a number of White House reporters took issue with it on social media.

What's even more puzzling about it is that Spicer continues to point to the lack of evidence of collusion while ignoring the fact that the FBI is investigating possible ties between Trump and Russia. The idea that an FBI investigation involving the administration doesn't amount to a hill of beans just doesn't make much sense. Yet the mere premise that Russia is an issue for the White House seemed to set Spicer off.

Ryan, meanwhile, had just one word:

• Aaron Blake is senior political reporter for The Fix at The Washington Post.


More on this topic:

 • VIDEO: Spicer: If Trump uses ‘Russian salad dressing … somehow that's a Russian connection’

 • VIDEO: Two incidents spark conversation about black women at work

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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2017, 11:10:35 pm »

from The Washington Post....

Looking for normalcy in Washington?
Don't look to Trump and his White House.

There are new and ominous signs of an administration that remains adrift
and of a president frustrated with almost everything and everyone around him.

By DAN BALZ | 3:27PM EDT - Friday, July 21, 2017

President Trump speaks as he leaves a meeting with survivors from the USS Arizona in the Oval Office of the White House on July 21st. The Arizona was among the battleships sunk at Pearl Harbor. — Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters.
President Trump speaks as he leaves a meeting with survivors from the USS Arizona in the Oval Office of the White House on July 21st.
The Arizona was among the battleships sunk at Pearl Harbor. — Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters.

ANYONE searching for signs of normalcy in President Trump's administration would have come up empty this week. Instead, the president used his days to demonstrate disdain for the structures of constitutional government, a misunderstanding of the proper powers of the presidency and a continued willingness to disrupt his own operation.

Friday's dramatic staff shake-up was only the culmination of a turbulent week in the Trump presidency, one that also included a remarkable presidential scolding of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an apparent warning to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, and the dramatic collapse of the Senate health-care bill that produced an exhortation by Trump for the senators to get back to work — without offering constructive ideas of his own.

These were new and ominous signs of an administration that remains adrift and of a president frustrated with almost everything and everyone around him. Together, they portray a president who appears to believe that if he can only put the most loyal people in the most critical jobs, his troubles will somehow disappear. That, too, is a misunderstanding of the situation in which he now finds himself.

Take them one at a time, starting with the White House staff changes. Out the door went Sean Spicer, the embattled press secretary who always had a tenuous relationship with the president and who was cast into one of the most difficult positions in the White House. Trump has long been unhappy about critical news coverage, and the blame often fell on Spicer's shoulders and his press operation, to his undoing.

In as communications director came Anthony Scaramucci, the financier and hedge-fund operator who has been one of the president's most combative public defenders. Scaramucci was one of the few big-time fundraisers who went all in for Trump almost immediately after Trump clinched the GOP presidential nomination.

Scaramucci is a loyalist, to be sure, with the same kind of New York-inspired confidence often projected by the president. He has no formal background for the responsibilities that traditionally come with the post he now holds, but Trump will serve as the communicator-in-chief, regardless.

The arrival of Scaramucci appeared to undercut White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who was closely allied with Spicer from their days at the Republican National Committee and who, like Spicer, has been in an embattled position for months. Scaramucci expressed his friendship with Priebus when addressing reporters on Friday in the White House briefing room and dismissed reports that the two were at odds.

Still, Spicer is the second key ally Priebus has lost from the White House staff he helped assemble. Earlier, he lost Katie Walsh, who was a deputy White House chief of staff. She will soon be returning to the RNC, where she previously served as Priebus's chief of staff.

Yet Friday was only one of the shocks of the week. Earlier, in a remarkable interview with three New York Times reporters, the president attacked Sessions and Mueller, who is leading the Russia investigation. Privately, according to separate reports in The Washington Post and The New York Times, Trump also has been rearranging his legal team because of his personal dissatisfaction and asking about his powers to pardon those now under investigation while some advisers plot a strategy apparently designed to discredit the special counsel and members of his unit.

The president's concerns about the Russia investigation are real and perhaps justifiable. His comments about Sessions and Mueller are only the latest data points highlighting the degree to which he is obsessed with the investigation and would like to find a way to contain it, control it, shut it down or otherwise make it disappear.

So far as president he has fired an acting attorney general (Sally Yates), fired an FBI director (James B. Comey) and belittled one of his earliest allies for doing the proper thing in recusing himself from the Russia investigation. Sessions was forced to do that because he had compromised himself by not giving full and accurate testimony to the Senate during his confirmation hearings. Trump does not seem to understand why Sessions had to recuse himself.

The president also seems to believe that had Sessions not taken that step, Mueller would not be where he is today. It's true that by recusing himself, Sessions left Rod J. Rosenstein, the former career prosecutor who is now deputy attorney general, with oversight over the FBI's Russia investigation, and it was Rosenstein who appointed Mueller. But it was Comey's firing, a decision in which Sessions participated, that brought Mueller into the picture.

Interestingly, Trump also now blames Rosenstein for the decision to fire Comey. That is a 180-degree reversal on an earlier 180-degree reversal by the president and his White House about the circumstances that led to that controversial and consequential decision.

Rosenstein and Sessions initially were cited as the reason Comey was dismissed, with the White House pointing to Rosenstein's memo that outlined a bill of particulars against Comey for his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails and later testimony before Congress. Trump undercut that claim days after Comey was fired, saying he had already decided to get rid of the FBI director before receiving the recommendation from Sessions and Rosenstein. Now he tells the Times that Rosenstein made him do it.

All of this angst that Trump displays over the Russia probe portends an inevitable and potentially explosive collision between the presidency and the Mueller investigation, unless there is some pulling back on the part of the president, which is not in his character. Mueller, by all indications, continues to plow ahead and is digging into areas that increasingly could come close to the president or his family.

Meanwhile, after the collapse of the Republican health-care bill in the Senate, the president issued a series of conflicting statements about what he thought should happen next. He summoned GOP senators to lunch at the White House and made comments that once again showed limited patience with the legislative process and limited knowledge of details of the bill that have tied up the senators.

Throughout the Senate process, Trump has been a mostly minor player. The powers of the presidency had little impact on the various senators who have problems with the bill. To the extent he has been an influence on the legislative battle, it often has been negative — sending signals contrary to what congressional leaders wanted or needed from the White House. He conveys impatience with the inevitable ups and downs of drafting and passing complex legislation. As in other areas, he tries to use cheerleading, generalities and sometimes outright mis-statements as a substitute for real leadership.

The president has now crossed the six-month mark of his presidency. He is the same now as he was on Inauguration Day, the same as he was 53 weeks ago when he accepted the Republican nomination. But the successes he imagined coming his way largely have not, even as the Russia investigation has clouded his presidency in ways he never imagined. The past few days have demonstrated his unhappiness, and that's not likely to be eased by shuffling the personnel ranks of his administration. Bigger things are at work.

• Dan Balz is Chief Correspondent at The Washington Post. He has served as the paper's National Editor, Political Editor, White House correspondent and Southwest correspondent.


Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Spicer's exit reveals the perils of being Trump's mouthpiece

 • Spicer resigns as White House press secretary, Scaramucci to be communications director

 • Trump team seeks to control, block Mueller's Russia investigation

 • The inevitable, fitting end to Spicer's miserable tenure in the White House

 • A Republican Party at war with itself hits the wall on health care

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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2017, 02:40:01 am »

Yes, great to see an American president who gives full backing to the military and its veterans😉

....been missing for the last 8 years of the Oh-Bummah administration🙄
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