May 18, 2017… Day 119
Oh hey, everybody. It was kind of a quiet day.
May 18, 2017… Day 119
Oh hey, everybody. It was kind of a quiet day.
May 15, 2017… Day 116
Where to begin. Where to even begin.
Here’s stuff that came out before the Washington Post bombshell news alert:
SO, here’s a ton of tweets and headlines about this thing which seems to be a bombshell (but inevitably, like always, will never be THE bombshell). Trump gave highly classified info to Lavrov and Kislyak in the Oval Office last week. Info given to us by an ally, which they did not want Russia to have. Washington Post broke the story this afternoon. Two officials confirmed the story later for other outlets. H.R. McMaster came out on the White House lawn and barked at reporters for 90 seconds (literally 90 seconds), and then went back inside without answering a single question. I think that’s all the backstory you need.
And before all that, these are the questions reporters asked Sean Spicer at the White House Press Briefing today:
May 12, 2017… Day 113
H.R. McMaster came in and yelled at the reporters during the White House Press Briefing. He sounded just like Flynn putting Iran on notice. I don’t know why McMaster wants to mess with his reputation like that. He’s part of the propaganda machine now.
I don’t want to forget, in light of this Comey madness (more madness today), that Jeff Sessions is a total disaster as Attorney General for other reasons. Harsher drug sentencing, and the lack of sympathy for the victims of police brutality — this guy is racist as fuck. As one headline said, this guy is going to fill prisons one way or another.
Tillerson signed a trans-Arctic agreement emphasizing the need for action on climate change, even as the Trump administration is still mulling over withdrawing from the Paris Accord.
Chris Stirewalt, writing for Fox News online today:
And in another Fox News piece, this one by John Moody, there’s this:
The first piece is harshly critical of Trump. The second is much much kinder, the paragraph I just clipped notwithstanding. But the second piece seems to be offering Trump a narrative. The title is “Does Donald Trump Want to be President?” It’s laced with Trump flattery and is a sweetly persuasive argument for why it would be better for Trump, and make total sense, if he just bowed out now and let Pence take over. It would still be a success. It would be the best win!
Also, on the Fox News TV channel today they were going full bore on the Comey story. Earlier in the week, they were pretending like it was barely happening.
Vanity Fair included Fox in its rundown of media responses yesterday:
This morning, a conservative financial blog casually (and straight-facedly) ran the numbers of what they predicted the markets would do if Trump resigned (answer: a 3-5% bump!). One guy at work said he bet that Trump would resign BY MONDAY. Everyone laughed at him, but still. Also, for what it’s worth, the moderate Republicans at work have started throwing around the word “impeachment.”
Today is also the day that Trump suggested there were tapes of his conversations with Comey, and told Comey (via tweet) to watch his mouth when talking to the press.
Comey declined to testify to Congress next week. But then it seeped out later that he wanted to testify in public, not in a closed door session. Also that he said he HOPED there were tapes. Cause that’d be perfect.
Bunch of stuff with Paul Manafort and his finances. Bunch of stuff with Trump’s finances. Stupid “certified letter” regarding Trump’s financial ties to Russia. The Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit agreed to hand over financial information on Trump.
Questions the reporters asked Sean Spicer today:
May 8, 2017… Day 109
The many dubious facial expressions of White House reporter Kristen Welker. (She’s saying “So that didn’t give him pause?” about Obama warning Trump about Flynn. Later she tried to nail down whether or not the Trump administration actually vetted Flynn at all, but Sean Spicer cut her off and moved to another reporter instead of answering.)
I saw these two maps this morning. One was robots and the other was racism.
I think the “adopt-a-district” thing is funny. If a Republican voted for AHCA and won’t do a town hall over recess, then a Democrat from a nearby congressional district will come over and do a town hall on his or her behalf. And explain the whole thing to their constituents. Whoops.
Of course, sometimes when Republicans humiliate themselves, they humiliate all of us:
Today was Sally Yates day. She gave as good as she got, especially when Cornyn, Cruz and Kennedy tried to explain the law to her and told her they were disappointed in her. Like the Comey hearings, the Democrats asked important national security questions about Russian interference and collusion–the Republicans just wanted to know who leaked stuff out to the newspapers. One thing we learned today (or had confirmed) was that if it weren’t for the Washington Post reporting, Flynn could still be in his position. Because the White House only cared once it became important to seem like they cared. We also learned this morning, before the hearing, that Obama specifically told Trump not to hire Flynn. Sean Spicer passed it off as Obama just being petty because Flynn knew too much about Obama’s faults.
13 judges are hearing the revised travel ban case this week.
The Trump administration is “huddling” on the Paris Climate Accord.
Something that came out in the White House Press Briefing: We’re 30 days into the 90-day commission on fighting opioid abuse… and the Trump administration hasn’t named anyone TO the commission yet. Sean Spicer said he would look into it.
Questions they asked Sean Spicer today:
May 7, 2017… Day 108
Today, while on a pleasant walk with two old friends from home who were chattering across me about kids and child care and distribution of household chores, one of them pulled out her phone and said “It’s Macron by a landslide.” We hadn’t even talked about the French presidential election. We would NEVER previously have talked about the French presidential election. I wouldn’t have, and I am several times more political and more of a news junkie than my friends. But this is who we are now. Dialed in.
And thank god Macron won.
May 5, 2017… Day 106
The House health care bill is having shocky ripple effects through my social network. There’s the grisly awareness of it having happened, and then there’s also the new knowledge of how many of my friends have been raped, sexually assaulted and abused, and/or have PTSD, anxiety, and depression. There’s a collective aggrieved AAARGH and it comes with heavy information.
My brain flips back and forth between worrying about the health, pre-existing conditions and finances of myself and my immediate family members… to then knocking on wood about all the ways we’ve been comparatively fortunate… to then doubling down on worry about everyone else I care about who is in trouble… to then just marveling at the decision 217 people made to pass this bill. All that being said, I’m fine today in Trump-adjusted terms.
May 1, 2017… Day 102
Glenn Thrush to Sean Spicer today:
First of all, you just described Kim Jong-un as somebody who led his country forward at an early age. The President has invited Duterte, who, as Annie pointed out, has talked about assassinating journalists. The President put out a statement after Erdogan won his referendum congratulating him. He said kind things about Putin during the campaign, said kind things about Saddam Hussein.
Does the President have a thing with these totalitarian leaders?
May Day. Everyone in my office got out of downtown early. I’m sorry I missed the Aztec dancers, and I especially hope these kids are feeling good and empowered about their day:
I was feeling bad for not treating May Day like any other resistance event. I’ve marched for Black Lives Matter, for the catch-all women’s march, for science, for climate, for immigrants and refugees. How is this not just another in the sequence? Just because it’s entrenched in my pre-45 brain and starts to get violent as night falls, that doesn’t mean the daytime peaceful marches aren’t important.
Looking at the #MayDaySea hashtag, I’m seeing a lot of this:
In other news, I started listening to the second season of Politically Re-active today (getting over my anger at the hosts for supporting and normalizing Jill Stein as a viable ballot option). Hari and Kamau are interviewing the social and racial justice leaders that I need to be listening to, so I’m going to pretend I don’t know what I know about 2016. We’ll see how it goes.
You might not be able to tell from these questions, but at the press briefing today, a) there was more shouting and bids for attention from the reporters throughout the questioning, b) Sean Spicer was especially salty and curt in not allowing follow-ups, and c) as Sean left the room someone yelled “WHAT ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR??!! WHAT ABOUT THE PRESIDENT’S COMMENTS ON THE CIVIL WAR??!!” and then when the door slammed shut behind Sean Spicer, another reporter started to cackle maniacally.
April 30, 2017… Day 101
I’ve been catching up on the American version of Shameless, which takes place in Chicago and features a working poor Irish-American family. They are always trying to maneuver their way into a better life and always sliding backwards. If one of them has a little success, it helps all of them. But that help is not equal to the harm that befalls all of them if one of them gets into trouble. The math just doesn’t ever pencil out, and they end up running to stand still. It reminds me of a headline I saw a few days ago. It said that in order for a family to rise out of poverty, it needs a 20-year stretch when nothing major goes wrong.
April 29, 2017… Day 100
As Jon Lovett said last night, if Trump’s term were a marathon, we haven’t even run 2 miles yet. Uggghh.
I’m glad the climate march was robust in Washington, D.C….
… because it was real sad in Seattle.
Not just because the crowd was small. But because the crowd was subdued and because at least half the speakers seemed like guilting activists with bad and conflicting information. Come on. I hate that.
I was at the office early, trying to catch up stuff. I was planning to join the march but I thought there would be more of a milling around period at the start before the marching began. When I went to look down in the direction of the starting point, all I saw was eight people with signs slipping around the corner onto Fourth Avenue. I went over to the other side of the building and saw the tail end of the crowd, heading up the canyon between buildings. I’d already been alone way up in that building all morning, so it was a lonely feeling. My people were disappearing up the street and they just looked kind of sad. Collectively sad.
I went downstairs and fell in with the stragglers on the sidewalk. More stragglers joined us. People honked in support and yelled “Thanks for marching!” out the window at us. We eventually caught up with everyone, loosely pooled down at Westlake Center.
One thing I appreciated was that it was the first time in “the resistance” that I’ve seen a certain demographic rise to prominence: Old white guys. Old white guys, I rag on you all the time. But when you showed up today you showed up for all of us, so thank you.
And some old white guys in training:
But yeah, it feels a little depressing:
And then there’s this:
MEANWHILE, over in Trump world:
Here are the questions the reporters asked Sean Spicer on the press gaggle en route to Atlanta on Air Force One yesterday:
April 28, 2017… Day 99
April 27… Day 98
Questions they asked Sean Spicer today:
April 24, 2017… Day #95
This last week before day 100 is dizzy. Day 100 is also potential government shutdown day to boot. It’s like this circus doesn’t realize I’m trying to hold down a job, maintain relationships, and get better at sleep hygiene.
But first, this snippet:
Things reporters asked Sean Spicer today: Continue reading TOWOIT #98
April 23, 2017… Day 94
French election today–a blur of Le Pen fear and Trump tweets and recent jarring terrorism. But when the dust settles, it seems like things might be ok. There’s a runoff election and it seems more likely the other guy will win.
A transcript came out of a long, rambling interview Trump did with the AP. It’s been fertile grounds for hot takes.
April 19, 2017… Day 90
We’re doing good, everyone. We’re doing all right. (This is fine.)
What the reporters asked Sean Spicer at the WHPB today:
April 17… Day #88
Crawling toward Day 100. It used to seem like every day was 10 days. Now it’s down to about two days per day. When I found out Trump was going to win, the first thing I cried for was the fact that I didn’t want to see his face or hear his voice any more. I hadn’t realized how desperate I was for him to be shuffled out of my daily eyeshot and earshot. And in that moment, I didn’t think I could bear another day of Trump on national television, let alone Trump as President. Well, I’m fucking stronger now. We all are.
Trump also didn’t seem to know or remember that Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un were different people.
Four years ago, in tweets, Trump seemed to have a better handle on things.
—John Roberts to Sean Spicer during today’s White House Press Briefing
Questions they asked Sean Spicer today at the WHPB: