TOWOIT #274: The Uncomfortability of Omarosa

December 14, 2017… Day 329

(April Ryan inadvertently named Omarosa’s tell-all today)

“So you’re saying that Omarosa Manigault was NOT fired on Tuesday evening, that she DIDN’T get belligerent in her conversation with General Kelly, she WASN’T yelling at him, she WASN’T cursing at him, and she WASN’T escorted off the property?”   — Francesca Chambers with my favorite question today

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Francesca Chambers–the face you make when you give up trying to get an answer out of Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

As always, here is today’s White House Press Briefing, annotated a little, with SHS stripped out, because we don’t need her wall of lies. I just like to know what the reporters asked.

  • (Jonathan Karl, ABC News) Sarah, on the taxes, what is the President’s message to those Americans, including some in the middle class, who will face tax increases under this tax bill?
  • But the message to those that will face an increase? I mean, every analysis showed some people, including middle-class Americans, are going to face an increase.
  • (John Roberts, Fox News) On taxes, you got two “no’s” in the Senate so far.  You got Senator Corker who’s been a “no” for a while. Senator Rubio came out and told us a short time ago that he’s a “no” unless he can get an expansion of the child tax credit. Is the President willing to be a little more generous in the child tax credit in order to get Senator Rubio’s vote?
  • Is there more room to move?
  • (Connie Lawn, USA Radio Network–I think) Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas.
  • Thank you. What have you learned this past year?  And what changes would you make in the coming year?
  • (Mara Liasson, NPR) Thank you, Sarah. Does the President think that Roy Moore should concede? In other words, does he believe he lost the election fair and square, or does he think he was the victim of widespread illegitimate voting?
  • So Roy Moore lost fair and square. That’s what you’re saying?
  • (Jordan Fabian, The Hill) Thanks, Sarah. There’s some reports out this morning that Speaker Ryan is considering stepping down at the end of this Congress. Has the President spoken to Speaker Ryan about those reports? And does he want to see Speaker Ryan continue in that role?
  • (Blake Burman, Fox Business News) So did this catch the President by surprise, the Ryan report that was out today?
  • And let me ask you about Marco Rubio, as well. We have heard folks who might be “no” votes, potentially undecided votes. But Marco Rubio’s potential “no” vote is one that we know it concerns, but him voting no is seemingly here suddenly out of left field. Has that caught the White House by surprise at all?  Or have you braced for the possibility that you might not have Marco Rubio in your corner?
  • (April Ryan, American Urban Radio Network) Sarah, two things. Should Roy Moore just give his concession speech now, versus holding it out?
  • And the second issue:  Did you watch GMA this morning? And what are your thoughts about this tell-all and the uncomfortability of Omarosa while she was here with some issues?
  • (Jeff Zeleny, CNN) Sarah, if she’s resigned and she’s going to —
  • If she’s resigned, but you said she will stay on — Omarosa will stay on through January 20th — why are the taxpayers continuing to pay her salary for another month if she’s no longer here at the White House?
  • If she has resigned, though, why is she still on the payroll for another month? Is that normal?
  • On a separate matter, on the tax plan, if I could just ask: Will the President ask the House and Senate to stay here in Washington and finish this bill, even if it means bleeding into the Christmas holiday?
  • (Jeff Mason, Reuters) Sarah, does the President have any thoughts about the Disney deal to buy 21st Century Fox?
  • And what does the President think about the FCC decision on net neutrality?  There are a lot of Americans, polls show, who are very opposed to that change.
  • (Matthew Nussbaum, Politico) Getting back to that Alabama result, does what happened down there change the President’s relationship at all with Steve Bannon, given his big support for Moore? And has it changed the President’s thoughts on Moore — on, excuse me, Mr. Bannon’s opposition to other incumbent Republican senators?
  • Well, I’m asking about the President’s relationship.
  • (Francesca Chambers, Mail Online) Thank you, Sarah. I know that you said that you can’t go much further on this personnel matter, but I do want to try to separate out some of the things that we’re hearing here and just be crystal clear.
  • So you’re saying that Omarosa Manigault was NOT fired on Tuesday evening, that she DIDN’T get belligerent in her conversation with General Kelly, she WASN’T yelling at him, she WASN’T cursing at him, and she WASN’T escorted off the property — and Secret Service has said not by them — but she wasn’t escorted off the property by someone or some entity other than Secret Service that evening?
  • (a woman–I can’t see who) In an interview with STAT News this morning, Kellyanne Conway said she and other administration officials have been urging Congress to appropriate additional funding for the opioid epidemic. The President declared a public health emergency earlier this fall, but that fund only has $57,000 in it.  Economists have predicted that it will cost upwards of $190 billion over a decade to treat the crisis. Can you tell us how much money the White House will be urging Congress to appropriate? And what do you have to say to critics who believe that the President hasn’t dedicated enough resources to combatting the epidemic this year?
  • Is it more —
  • Is it around $45 billion that was a part of the Republican healthcare plan?
  • Is that money something that you guys will get done — that appropriation — by the end of this year? Can the President promise that?
  • (Kristen Welker, NBC News) Sarah, thank you. With Omarosa leaving, how many senior staffers here, at the White House, are African American?
  • Do you have a number on how many are African American?
  • She was really tasked with reaching out to the African American community. Have you identified who is going to take that role? And how critical is it to this President, to this administration, to make sure that that role is, in fact, filled?
  • And just to follow up one of April’s questions. What Omarosa said today was, “I’ve seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people.” Were her concerns ever addressed or dealt with?
  • Do you know if any of the issues or any of her concerns were?
  • (Margaret Brennan, CBS News) Sarah, today is the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre in which so many children were killed. That, of course, as a tragedy, was eclipsed by what happened in Las Vegas, which is now the most tragic mass shooting on U.S. soil. Since that time, what has President Trump done to try to protect the American people against a similar type of massacre? Does he think anything has been done? What is the administration trying to do? Is there anything at the executive level that he thinks needs to be undertaken?

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(Margaret’s voice quavered a little as she asked this question, but Sarah was perfectly steady as she launched into talk about border security. Border security.)

  • But these were domestic shooters. These weren’t people who entered the United States.
  • But no one issue that the President has highlighted that says he wants to make a priority to push forward?

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  • But there were prescriptions given very quickly just the other day for this failed terrorist attack, which is why in these cases — I mean, this is the worst shooting on U.S. soil on President Trump’s watch.

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  • Does it involve a weapons ban, any kind of regulation, any kind of mental health concerns? Has the President specifically mentioned that as a possibility?
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Thanks for trying to get a real answer, Margaret.
  • (Trey Yingst, One America) Thanks, Sarah.  Has the President expressed any concerns regarding the FCC’s decision today to roll back these Obama-era regulations on net neutrality? And then, moving forward, are there any assurances that the White House can offer to the American people who are concerned that the decision and vote today will lead to a less-free Internet?
  • (Someone named Brian) I’m going to ask a question about taxes. The Federal Reserve, yesterday, said that the tax bill would provide a modest lift to the economy. That’s in stark contrast to words that the President has used, like “rocket fuel” to the economy. What is the data the President is basing his rosier picture of the impact on the economy of the tax bill, versus the experts at the Federal Reserve?
  • Was the President upset the word “modest” was used?
  • For example, your own Treasury analysis used —

 

the only way out is through #8

January 24, 2017… Day 5

Radio alarm: coal miners will have a hard time getting treated for black lung when the ACA is repealed.

Facebook: commercial fishermen upset at news that Trump wants to push through the Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay.

Huckabee, Ryan, and Graham all say that there’s no reason to think that Donald Trump’s voter fraud claims are true.Bernie Sanders says “regarding Mr. Trump’s delusional statement… he is sending a message to every Republican governor in the country to go ahead with voter suppression.”Then he suggested to Trump that he bring his three overseas manufacturing plants back to the U.S.

New York Post headline: Trump Brings Up Bogus Voter Fraud claims–Again. The New York Post is a Trump-friendly publication and were given the first question at Sean Spicer’s “first” press conference yesterday.

White house briefing: Reporters in the Whitehouse Press Corp today ask Sean Spicer why Trump wouldn’t want to investigate 3-5 million fraudulent votes. “That would be a scandal of huge proportions” said one. Eventually, after much dodging, Spicer said maybe it would be investigated in the future. One reporter said, “What do you think that means for democracy?” and Spicer said, “It means I already answered your question.”

At another point in the press conference Spicer said, “He has NO conflicts. By law he CAN’T have conflicts.”

NBC headline: What Happens When a President Can’t Handle Bad News?

On the highways and byways: A man walking across the U.S. barefoot to spread awareness of climate change, was killed on his 101st day of walking. An SUV swerved on to the shoulder and took him out.

Twitter: The twitter handle of the Badlands (part of the National Park Service) briefly went rogue, tweeting facts about climate change. Hailed as a hero. The tweets were deleted soon afterward

Many agencies, including the EPA and USDA, were silenced by the Trump administration, forbidden to make any blog posts or tweets or communicate with the public over social media at all. The administration calls it a “temporary media blackout”

The Guardian reports that four journalists were charged with felony incitement of riots because they were caught up by police while covering unrest on inauguration day. Usually reporters that are caught up with rioters are not charged once things are sorted out.

I policed myself once today–not wanting to sign a petition on the Whitehouse website because I didn’t want to give my name to a sinister organization. Never mind that this URL is my name and they have plenty of ways to know I’m not a supporter. It wasn’t rational. Just a really bad feeling.

Trump signed an executive order to get construction on the Dakota Access pipeline underway again. I felt sad and defeated over Standing Rock and DAPL. I am afraid those people are just going to break themselves against the rocks of the Trump administration. It is wrong to be defeatist at this point, and wrong not to rally to their side as this may be an important test case. But if it was so bad against Obama, I am afraid they will break themselves now under Trump.

Trump to sign an executive order targeting sanctuary cities.

Governor Jerry Brown says “California is not turning back. Not now, not ever.”

Subjective assessment: This is worse and going faster than I expected.

Questions reporters asked at the WH press briefing (1/24/2017):

Continue reading the only way out is through #8

the only way out is through #7

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 problem of 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:

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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.

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If this isn’t unintentionally dark, I don’t know what is.

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.

**evening update**

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):

Continue reading the only way out is through #7