This was the briefing where pundits were afterward like “Oh wow, Sarah Huckabee Sanders has lost ALL credibility.” Right on the heels of acting like it was weird to call her a liar. Like mere days later. I don’t know, is everything unraveling faster? The reporters in the room flirted around The L Word more than usual today.
(Nadia Bilbassy, Al Arabiya English) Thank you. Thank you, Sarah. The President authorized the use of military force last year after President Assad used chemical weapons. But this didn’t seem to deter him. The President talked yesterday of a very strong and serious response now. How is he going to hold President Assad accountable?
How he’s going to hold President Assad accountable now?
(Jonathan Karl, ABC News) Sarah, talking about the raid on Michael Cohen’s office, the President said, “It’s an attack on our country…It’s an attack on what we all stand for.” In what way is an FBI raid on Michael Cohen’s office an attack on our country?
But that accounts to an attack on our country? (I think he means “amounts”?)
Does the President believe he has the power to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller? Does he believe that’s within his power?
SANDERS: Certainly he believes he has the power to do so.
(John Roberts, Fox News) If I could, you have said several times from the podium that the President has neither the intention nor is thinking about firing Robert Mueller. Does that remain the case today?
Can I also ask: What about Rod Rosenstein? What’s the President’s thinking about Rosenstein, in terms of his tenure at the Department of Justice? He did not appear to be very happy with him last night. And can you confirm that Rosenstein was the high-level DOJ official that signed off on the FBI raid of Cohen’s office?
(Shannon Pettypiece, Bloomberg) Is the President still open to talking to Mueller? Is he still open to an interview?
SANDERS: That’s something that I would direct you to the President’s personal attorneys to answer that question.
But I mean, who are they now?
And we asked about Rosenstein. What about FBI Director Wray? He was the one who signed off, supposedly, on this FBI raid. Does the President still have confidence in him?
But specifically on the President’s feelings about the FBI Director, does he have concerns about the FBI Director?
(Jill Colvin, Associated Press) Two things. Just to follow up on that, has the President spoken with either Jeff Sessions or Rosenstein since the raid yesterday?
Okay. And then I wanted to ask you about the decision to cancel the trip. Can you walk us through a little bit more of the decision-making and why the President felt like he couldn’t make a decision — he couldn’t execute on whatever he decides to do while he’s traveling, considering that the missile strike last year was actually launched while the President was in Mar-a-Lago?
What does being in the country — how does that benefit him?
(Jackie Alemany, CBS News) Does Michael Cohen still represent the President?
SANDERS: I’m not sure. I would refer you to Michael Cohen on that.
And when did the President first learn of the payment from Michael Cohen to Stormy Daniels and their nondisclosure agreement?
SANDERS: I’m not sure on the exact timing.
ALEMANY: And did the President –-
SANDERS: Sorry, I’m going to keep moving because we’re tight on time. Kristen.
ALEMANY: Just one more question, Sarah. If the President denies having an affair with Stormy Daniels —
SANDERS: Sorry, Jackie, I’m going to keep moving. Go ahead, Kristen.
ALEMANY: — then why did he instruct —
SANDERS: Jackie, I’m going to move on to Kristen. Sorry, we’re tight on time with the visit of the Alabama team coming up soon. Go ahead.
KRISTEN WELKER: Well, just, can you follow up on that question?
SANDERS: I didn’t hear the question.
WELKER: Does he continue to deny having an affair with Stormy –
ALEMANY: Then why doesn’t he just instruct Mr. Cohen to —
SANDERS: The President has been clear. He has addressed this several times. I don’t have anything else to add. Brian.
WELKER: I’d like to follow up —
WELKER: Sarah, let me just ask my other question. Can you just say definitively, has the President had any conversations about firing Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, or Robert Mueller in the last 24 hours?
SANDERS: I haven’t had any conversations with him on that. I can’t speak beyond that.
WELKER: And can you clarify — can you just clarify his tweet?
SANDERS: Sorry, Kristen. We got to keep going, guys.
WELKER: He called it a “witch hunt,” but Rod Rosenstein, who he appointed, signed off on the probe.
SANDERS: Go ahead (to Brian Karem).
KAREM: I’m sorry, I can’t — she’s a lady.
SANDERS: Go ahead.
KAREM: Well, answer her if — go ahead, Kristen.
WELKER: Can you just answer the question: If the President appointed Rod Rosenstein, and so how can he call the raid yesterday, a “witch hunt” when it was approved by the Deputy Attorney General he appointed?
SANDERS: Once again, I’m not aware of what the process is and who signs off on those specific types of things. The President certainly has been very clear about what his position is when it comes to matters of collusion, and that’s what his reference is. He thinks this entire thing is a witch hunt. I think we’ve spoken about this at length, ad nauseam. And frankly, I think it’s a big distraction that the media has spent every single day, for the last year, focused on this instead of some of the biggest issues of our day and some of the biggest issues that the President is dealing with, like Syria, like North Korea, like deregulation, tax cuts, defeating ISIS. Those are the — that’s the focus of this administration, and frankly, that’s what you guys should spend a little bit more time on.
KAREM: My follow-up — So, Sarah, my follow-up question —
SANDERS: Hey, guys — time out. We’re going to take — you yielded your time to Kristen. I’m going to go to John.
KAREM: No, no, wait a minute. I had a follow-up question. Please, if I may, just a follow-up.
SANDERS: Sorry. All right, I’ll come back to you, Brian, for one.
KAREM: Thanks. You had said that it is a little —
SANDERS: I’m feeling generous today.
KAREM: Thank you. Thank you.
SANDERS: For Nadia’s birthday. (Laughter.) (JESUS! STOP LAUGHING AT HER JOKES WHOEVER YOU ARE)
KAREM: Just two quick ones. So you said that it’s a witch hunt and you’ve continued to characterize it as that, but not so much as this administration also has leveled sanctions against the 13 Russians that were indicted by the Mueller investigation. In some point, are you a party to this witch hunt, or is some of it, at least, a legitimate effort?
SANDERS: Just because there many have been involvement by Russia doesn’t mean there was involvement by the Trump campaign.
KAREM: No, no, no —
SANDERS: And to try to conflate the two is insane.
No — no, that’s not the question. The question is: In some ways, aren’t you at least supporting what they’ve done? Because they’ve indicted some of the people that you have leveled sanctions against. So you’re in agreement with Mueller in at least some regards, right?
KAREM: That wasn’t my — and then my quick —
(Ok, I’m going back to mostly not including Sarah’s deflections in my transcript)
(Jon Decker, Fox Business News) Thanks a lot, Sarah. What is the —
What is the nature of the President’s relationship right now with Attorney General Jeff Sessions? He really voiced his displeasure with him last evening in his remarks. Is it a good relationship? Does he risk being fired right now?
Another one. Real quick, Sarah, if you don’t mind. It’s about the EPA Administrator, Mr. Pruitt. If it turns out that he lied in the interview that he gave with Fox News — my colleague Ed Henry — would that be problematic for him in terms of holding onto his job?
(Michael D. Shear, New York Times) So the President last night seemed to combine his reaction to the Russia investigation — which we’ve heard him say before — and this new investigation that has grown out of the raids in New York of his attorney. Does he view that as one in the same investigation? In other words, does he think that’s all, kind of, under the umbrella of the Special Counsel? Or does he view the Russia investigation as separate from the probe into the payments by these women that is apparently being conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York?
(Steve Herman, VOA) Thank you, Sarah. Does the United States expect that, in a response to the Syria chemical weapons attack, that other nations will join in? Specifically, we’re seeing indications from France and the Saudis that they may also take military action.
(April Ryan American Urban Radio Networks) Sarah, two questions. The President said yesterday he was compliant; that he turned over a million documents. If he was compliant with these investigation, why was there a search warrant needed?
Okay, and the next question. With all of this turmoil, particularly this last week, has the President at any time thought about stepping down before or now?
SANDERS: No. And I think that’s an absolutely ridiculous question.
No, it’s not ridiculous. It’s not ridiculous.
It is a legitimate question. It’s not ridiculous.
(Jordan Fabian, The Hill) Thanks, Sarah. Did the National Security Advisor, John Bolton, force Tom Bossert out of his job?
Sarah, the President tweeted favorably today about some of the promises that President Xi has made toward instituting some market reforms in China, but he said this before. Is it going to be enough to avert some of the tariffs that the President has been talking about instituting?
(Pamela Brown, CNN) Has the President spoken with Michael Cohen since the raids?
And can I just ask you — you said that he believes, he views this as sort of crossing the line. Can you explain a little bit more why these raids on his personal attorney is viewed by the President as crossing the line?
(blonde woman in front) I just want to clarify something you said earlier. You said the President believes he has the power to fire Robert Mueller, because usually, most legal experts believe that he would have to order Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to fire Mueller, and Rosenstein could, of course, refuse.
They’ve consistently said that it is. They’ve told me; I’ve asked. They’ve said it’s Rod Rosenstein oversees the Special Counsel, and only he has the power to fire the Special Counsel.
(Dave Boyer, Washington Times) Sarah, thanks. The British government said they’re still looking for confirmation that Assad used chemical weapons last weekend. Is the President still looking for confirmation of that?
(John Gizzi, Newsmax) Thank you, Sarah. Two questions, with brevity, on Ambassador Bolton. With the resignations —
With the resignations of Michael Anton and now Tom Bossert, can we expect any other changes of personnel in his family?
The other question–
Right. A year ago, Ambassador Bolton was highly critical in the op-ed pages about U.S. involvement with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. With the World Bank-IMF meeting coming up within a matter of two weeks, is his position going to affect U.S. support for either institution
(Francesca Chambers, Mail Online) Thank you, Sarah. Yesterday, President Trump said something very interesting about Syria. He said that, “Because of the power of the United States and because of the power of our country, we’re able to stop it.” Now, with bringing in Ambassador John Bolton as well — which is sort of a signal of a more hawkish stance, potentially — I want to know if the President has changed his calculus in any way on Syria and on whether or not he wants to pull out those troops very soon, as he previously said.\
(Fred Lucas, Daily Signal) Thanks, Sarah. Yeah, this week, Senator McConnell said they’re taking up six nominations and that they’re going to continue taking up six nominating per week. Do you consider that a major breakthrough for the administration considering there’s been so many blocking —
And one other question. On U.S. Attorney Berman, he’s in an interim position now in New York. Reports have been that the President was going to nominate him for full-time. Is that still the case? Will the President nominate him?
(Saagar Enjeti, Daily Caller) Thanks, Sarah. So all of the evidence so far in the Syrian chemical attack points to the use of chlorine gas. The Assad regime has been suspected of using chlorine multiple times on the battlefield. What makes this particular attack different and warrant the international response and the potential use of lethal force that we’re seeing from this President?
(Eamon Javers, CNBC) Yeah, thanks, Sarah. To clarify your comment here on Xi Jinping’s speech last night, it was seen as rhetoric around trade openness. Are you saying that the President didn’t see anything in that speech that would encourage him to back off on his threat to impose tariffs on the Chinese?
What specific actions do you want to see from the Chinese? What could they do here to stave off those tariffs at this point?
(Blake Burman, Fox Business News) To pick up and end off where Eamon just — what he was just talking about. You said you want to see concrete actions from the Chinese as it relates to trade. Do you feel that there will actually be, at some point, concrete actions? Or is all of this right now hope and talk and —
I ask because it feels almost today like it’s been somewhat of a lukewarm reception. Is that accurate?
Today’s White House briefing came before news broke that the FBI had raided the home, office, and hotel room of Michael Cohen (personal lawyer and fixer to Trump). It’s a real developing situation and Trump is sounding even less hinged than usual. Good thing this is all happening at a time when international conflicts are boiling over.
We’ll see if they send Raj out to do a quick uninformative press briefing tomorrow — it seems like they trot him out on the worst days. Or if there is no press briefing, which seems more likely.
Today’s press briefing was 19 minutes long. Nobody asked about the fire at Trump Tower or whether the smoke alarms were working.
Here’s what reporters asked Sarah Sanders today (4/9/2018):
The White House Press Briefing today was 44 minutes late, the White House youtube channel didn’t stream it for some reason, it started with Kirstjen Nielsen, Homeland Security Secretary, announcing that Trump is sending the National Guard to the southern border indefinitely, and it ended with (which reporter) calling after Sarah Sanders, “How is he ‘privately honoring’ Dr. King today?”
Secretary Nielsen spoke for 13 minutes about the threat on the borders, with several permutations of her opening statement: “border security IS homeland security which IS national security.” I really never thought I would spend so many of my waking hours thinking about fascism and authoritarianism. I was unnerved by her pinpoint pupils as she ginned up fear and dehumanized people in need. I guess at least her eyes weren’t dilated? She said the families arriving are fake families with borrowed children and she called them aliens over and over and over again.
Because the White House didn’t stream the briefing on YouTube like it usually does, I clicked between several livestreams by right-leaning and left-leaning websites. My god, the comments were terrible everywhere. I am sure it was from men across the political spectrum. Their disgustingness seemed totally decoupled from whether they agreed or disagreed with the politics of Nielsen and Sanders. Since the two speakers today were both women, you can just imagine. Yep. Men are still canceled.
(Steve Holland, Reuters) The President said Saturday night — he was talking about North Korea — he said, “If the meeting with Kim takes place.” Is there a chance that this meeting won’t take place?
And what preparations are being made so far toward this meeting?
(Jonathan Karl, ABC News) Sarah, a couple of weeks ago, the President said that he wanted to raise the age on purchasing assault weapons. He talked about supporting universal background checks, about taking guns away from those identified as a threat even without due process. What happened to all those proposals?
But is there a single thing in this proposal that’s from the President that is not supported by the NRA? Is there anything in here that the NRA opposes?
But it’s not as federal policy, right?
And why did he name this DeVos Commission less than 24 hours after ridiculing the idea of Blue Ribbon commissions? He says, “All they do is talk, and talk, and talk, and two hours later they write a report.” And then on this issue, a commission is okay? Why?
(Phil Rucker, Washington Post) Yeah, Sarah, picking up where Jon left off, with regarding the National Rifle Association: At that February 28th meeting with lawmakers, President Trump sort of made an example of Republican senators who were afraid of crossing the NRA. And he said, “Some of you [people] are petrified of the NRA. You can’t be petrified.” But based on the plan last night, it seems like President Trump was the one petrified of the NRA because he backed away from some of the ideas that he had brought into the discussion and I’m asking why he chickened out. Why he didn’t go forward with what he has proposed earlier?
But President Trump — he could have put out a proposal for legislation. He could’ve advocated for universal background checks. He could have called for raising the ages in the states. Instead he’s tabled that after this commission —
For federal policy? Just to clarify. For federal policy?
(It feels like someone is missing from the transcript here–the black woman reporter sitting next to Kevin Corke in the front row–she asked about California–I need to look at the video again)
(Zeke Miller, AP) Sarah, I was hoping you could comment on news out of Great Britain today. Theresa May saying that the British government believes that Russia was behind the attempted murder and poisoning of a former spy with a nerve agent that has a Russian manufacturer. Is that the assessment of the United States government, number one? Does the United States government plan on designating Russia as — like it did North Korea, earlier this year, regarding the murder of Kim Jong-un’s half-brother — of Russia using chemical weapons?mAnd, three, will there be any repercussions for Russia from the United States, in coordination with its British allies?
So you’re not saying that Russia was behind this act?
MS. SANDERS: Right now, we are standing with our UK ally. I think they’re still working through even some of the details of that. And we’re going to continue to work with the UK, and we certainly stand with them throughout this process.
Theresa May said it was either Russia using it themselves or that it had given its chemical weapons to a third party to murder a British citizen, the latter being highly unlikely, given the nature of this weapon. So —
MS. SANDERS: Like I just said, Zeke, we stand with our ally. And we certainly fully support them, and are ready if we can be of any assistance to them.
What was the President’s reaction yesterday to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos going on “60 Minutes” saying that she admitted she has not intentionally visited underperforming schools, then went on another network this morning and said that everything was one the table when it came to schools safety as well as guns? Clearly, it’s not — everything is not on the table.
Did he see the interview last night?
(Kevin Corke, Fox News) Thank you, Sarah. I have a question about Congress and possibly blocking or delaying tariff implementation. How concerned is the White House about that? And a follow-up on China, if I may.
And then on China, if I might. I know the President sort of made a tongue-in-cheek comment about President Xi having the ability to rule for quite some time, perhaps indefinitely. Is there an administration position on something like that? Is that healthy for the relationship between our countries? (She already punted this in a previous briefing, saying it was “up to the people of China” — as if that weren’t exactly what it is NOT!)
MS. SANDERS: That would be a determination for China to make, not something for the United States to weigh in on.
But is it healthy, from the administration’s perspective, in terms of our relationship, bilaterally, to have, say, a leader in a country that’s going to be there, potentially, indefinitely.
(Mike Bender, Wall Street Journal) Sarah, a couple on the guns issue. On the age restrictions, the President has said a couple of times — he’s criticized his predecessors, saying they haven’t shown leadership on this issue. So I wonder, now, how you can make the political expediency argument for his school safety policy and that he’s explicitly backing only things he thinks can pass and not things that may need some additional leadership —
Okay, certainly, but the leader of the party — he’s the President of the United States.
He can push that policy forward if he so chooses — if he chose to.
On the commission, is Commissioner DeVos going to continue to be the face of the school safety policy and this commission after last night’s interview?
(this is?) Sarah. Thanks a lot, Sarah. I have two questions. One on guns, and the other on the President’s trip to California tomorrow. On guns, the President, here in the White House, met with six students from Parkland, Florida and said, specifically, that he would go strong on the age limits. And this proposal doesn’t have the President stepping forward and demanding action from Congress on those age limits. Why is the President backing away from that promise to those six students that he would go strong on gun age?
Reviewing doesn’t count as going strong.
(Brian Bennett, LA Times) Can you tell us some more about the President’s trip to California tomorrow? Why is he going to the wall, to see the wall prototypes first? And also, this is a state that did not vote for the President. Is the President going to make an opportunity to reach out to people who didn’t vote for him by going to this state?
This is part of what Sarah Sanders said: “While California may not have — he may not have won that state, there is certainly a lot of support for this President, not just there but across the country. And he looks forward to being there and presenting a lot of the specific policies.”So you see, he is NOT reaching out to people who didn’t vote for him–still all that matters are the people that did, and that she say toward the cameras that a lot of people support him, so that he can see that from the room where he watches the TV.
The President — there’s a lot of Republican lawmakers in California that think that the wall would be too expensive and could be a waste of money. Is the President concerned that he might be putting undue political pressure on Republican lawmakers by visiting the wall in California?
(Jon Decker, Fox Radio News) Thanks a lot, Sarah. Since Kim Jong-un’s overture to meet with President Trump last Thursday and his proposal to denuclearize, the North Korean media has mentioned nothing. They haven’t referenced the overture; they haven’t referenced this idea that North Korea would get rid of its nuclear weapons. I heard what you said a little bit earlier about how you believe that a meeting will still take place. What makes you think that, based upon the fact that Kim Jong-un hasn’t even mentioned this to his own people, that anything of substance will come out at such a meeting?
Being nuclearized is a point on pride, we are told —
Being a nuclear country is a point of pride, we are told, for North Koreans. To just simply get rid of their own nuclear weapons, it seems, would be something that would undercut what that country and what Kim Jong-un stands for. Again, why would he get rid of his nuclear weapons?
(John Gizzi, Newsmax) Thank you, Sarah. Two questions. First, following up on what Jon asked, we know that Kim Jong-un has been using a special envoy to Seoul to send messages. Has he sent any special messages through any special envoy to the President?
The other thing is that, regarding tomorrow’s election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, the President’s campaign visit notwithstanding, he is reported in several sources today to have referred to Republican Rick Saccone as “weak” and said he’s run a poor campaign. This seems a little unusual in light of what he said Saturday, in light of Mr. Saccone’s praise of him as a friend. Did he actually say that about Mr. Saccone?
(Steven Portnoy, CBS Radio News) To double down on your answer to Brian’s question, is it the President’s intent, tomorrow, to pick a winning design for the wall? Is that we he’s going down there?
A quick question, there was a report this morning that the Saudi governmentinflicted physical abuse on the people who were held captive for the time at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Is this something that the White House intends to bring up with the Crown Prince?
(Toluse Olorunippa, Bloomberg News) Thank you, Sarah. I have two questions. First, on guns: The President, during his campaign, said “nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.” But it sounds like now you’re saying that, because certain things that he supports does not have support in the Congress, that he’s only going to push forward on the things that are already sort of —
MS. SANDERS: That’s not actually what I said, but — you guys continue to misunderstand and misrepresent the comments that I’m making.
Shades of Spicerian frustration.
Let me ask you about the Manchin-Toomey universal background check legislation because it’s not yet clear whether or not the President actually supports having universal background checks. Obviously, in this proposal, he supports the Fix NICS bill, but can you tell us whether or not he does support the idea of background checks for online purchases and private sales?
(Mara Liasson, NPR News) Sarah, thank you. The President tweeted — he said, “…not much political support (to put it mildly)” for raising the age. I mean, I’ve looked at every single poll, and the support for raising the age is like 78 percent and 82 percent. Rasmussen was the lowest, with 67 percent. So what is he talking about? There’s tremendous support for it.
So he has determined that there is no support in Congress for this?
Last night Rachel Maddow said the White House Daily Briefing is general a total snoozefest for her — a pointless exercise that is her cue to go out and get a sandwich — but that she would be tuning in today for the first briefing in one week.
I was disoriented all day because it wasn’t on the C-Span schedule and I thought they were bailing again. I cued up the White House youtube channel, which tells you how many viewers on the channel waiting to watch, and I also was listening for 80 minutes to the frustrated reporters in the room, waiting for the delayed briefing to actually started. Then it was 20 minutes of lies. Pretty anti-climactic actually.
Still, hats off to Kristen Welker who wouldn’t let Sanders hide behind the Parkland shooting — the reason they gave for *canceling* the last scheduled briefing, and then the shield used at the top of this one. Welker was given the first question and launched right into a Mueller question.
Sanders only took 20-minutes worth of questions. So there wasn’t very much anyone could do. Here are the questions the reporters asked:
January 23, 2017… Day Four … Flackery and the Zeitgeist
Well damn, I forgot all my scribbled notes at the office, so I’ll just have to do the best I can for today and update tomorrow. A lot happens in a day in the life of a blossoming dictatorship.
I woke up at 12 am and lay awake for 90 minutes gnawing on the problemof white feminism, the importance of intersectional feminism, and the distrust that black and brown women feel toward white women. The tendency of white women to act as privileged flibbertigibbets in ways they can’t seem to figure out that they’re doing. The fact that they mean well, have core competencies, and we need their (our) bodies, bulk, voices, and skills in an all hands on deck situation. And we need the leadership, experience, wisdom and moral fiber of women of color who have been living this fight. So, I couldn’t get back to sleep for awhile, just lying there with jangled, stabby feelings. These themes have now flooded my Facebook timeline as the “crowd buzz” has worn off and people have come down to earth and reflected. So it’s circulating.
NPR on the radio alarm, going on about Sean Spicer‘s falsehoods and Kellyanne Conway‘s “alternative facts.” Glad to hear this still being harped on. Thank you CNN. They still aren’t using the words lie, lying, liar.
Overheard at work (worried voice): “I hope he doesn’t start a trade war. It looks like he might start a trade war.”
A formerly non-political friend texted me this early in the morning:
At a holiday party a few weeks ago, her step-dad said, “You should just give Trump a chance.” She snapped back authoritatively “That guy? No. I don’t have to give that guy a chance.”
I haven’t unfollowed all my Republicans FB friends, though a lot of them have unfollowed me. A lot of them aren’t very political, so stuff doesn’t come up. A lot of them are Native American, and veterans and/or working as first responders. I have respect for them, partly because they aren’t like my white Lord of the Manor college-educated Republican acquaintances, who voted for Hillary because Trump was clownish and crude. Now that Trump’s in, they are perfectly happy to ride it out and get a tax break. A Republican who is a 90-year old retired nurse and clambers around on her own roof taking care of her own gutters, or a Republican who is a single mom who taught her middleschool-aged kids to shoot, clean, and cook squirrels and birds (!!). Well, I admire them a lot.
Anyway, that’s how I get memes like this one in my timeline this morning. Presented without irony.
OK, I’m basically just screwing around now and I need to cook dinner. I’ll be back tomorrow with more details for posterity.
I watched Sean Spicer‘s whole press conference and scribbled notes down.
I nabbed some great headlines.
And I read a piece from Venezuelan smart guy Andrés Miguel Rondón: “How to Culture Jam a Populist in Four Easy Steps. He says we (coastal liberal elites like me, who literally cannot stop saying vaguely snooty things) are the enemy of the Trumpists and NOTHING we do or say matters because we are necessary in our role as enemy, and that’s right where they’ll keep us. Overcome tribalism or perish. It did vindicate my sense that every time someone starts reeling off The List: homophobia, xenophobia, misogyny, racism… it is like a block signal for people on the other side to stop paying attention to what we’re saying. The words stop being words, they become just The List now. I am not for cordoning this stuff off as “identity politics” and minimizing it to woo the white working class. No, no, no. I’m just talking about new word formats and speech patterns. Rule one in politics and life: Don’t be litanous. I imagine how I glaze over every time someone says the word “neoliberal” because to me it is a meaningless insult that correlates to a certain purist leftwing worldview that I find deeply exasperating and yet find myself having to partner with because I believe a broad coalition is necessary. Still don’t want to pay close attention after they drop the “N——–L” word though.
Today was also the day of heartbreaking Melania gifs.
And Trump naming the day of his inauguration, a National Day of Patriotic Devotion.
Everything is terrifying.
New York Times headline: Trump Repeats Lie About Popular Vote in Meeting with Lawmakers.
Trump team shutting down agency social media.
By the way, the Smithsonian winkingly replied to a tweet I made about Donald Trump \ today. They replied with a smiley face and a photograph of a marine worm.
(This next part I am typing from the future, 4/4/2018) Today was the first official White House Press Briefing, if you don’t count Sean Spicer yelling at the press about crowd size and then refusing to ask questions. Nobody seems to have transcribed this briefing anywhere. Here are a list of the reporters’ questions at the briefing (after more then 10 tortured, garbled minutes of Spicer reading a prepared statement):
Question they asked Sean Spicer at the first briefing (1/23/2018):