Friday, February 17, 2017

"President Trump is flailing like a man who fears he’s about to go under..."

US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference on February 16, 2017, at the White House in Washington, DC..Trump announced Alexander Acosta as his new nominee to head the US Department of Labor, after his first choice, Andrew Puzder, withdrew from consideration on February 15. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm        (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
appalling levels of dysfunction in the White House that make self-inflicted wounds the rule rather than the exception.
Even appealing to the base and doing a campaign style rally in Florida will not, according to Robinson, make the problems go away.

Robinson notes, in the aftermath of today’s press conference,

It is unclear whether Trump is trying to fool the nation or fool himself.
He spends a good deal of time taking apart a tweet about the Democrats losing so badly that they had to come up with a fake story about Russia.   It is hard to parse or summarize that part of the column, which is fairly tightly constructed.  It is worth observing as does Robinson that the tweet ended with Trump’s favorite phrase “Fake news!” and yet that is contradicted by the complaint about low-life leakers in the intelligence community, to which Robinson notes

Not even a president can have it both ways.
That is, it cannot be both fake news and a leak of classified intelligence information.

It is worth noting that Trump was actually asked about this at the presser and did not handle it particularly skillful, even though it — like the question about his misstatements about the largest electoral margin since Reagan — were things for which he should have been prepared.  But then, Trump likes to wing it because he thinks he is smarter than those questioning him, and/or that he can use those questions and his response as a way to appeal to his base in attacking and belittling the media.

Further, Robinson goes further with the Russia story, a section of the column which ends thus:

The FBI is already probing reported contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence officials. We must, and I believe will, learn the truth.
This sort of crisis would test any White House. Based on its performance so far, it may drown Trump’s.
Robinson then goes through the apparent lack of real organization within Trump’s inner circle, managing along the way to mention a number of key figures and the conflicts, the fact that the administration still lacks a communications director, and then ends this section:

Among Trump’s inner circle, only senior adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, seems to be having a relatively positive impact. Yes, this administration has reduced me to applauding nepotism.
Think about that for a minute.

Take a deep breath.

The column is not yet done.

Robinson then turns to the scene on the patio at Mar-A-Lago with the cell phones serving as illumination for reading documents in the aftermath of the Korean missile test.

After that, Robinson closes with two paragraphs, each with two sentences.

Here’s the first:

Trump said Thursday that his administration was running like “a fine-tuned machine.” A crash-test simulator, perhaps?
My only criticism of the question Robinson offers is that a simulator does no actual damage and provides potentially valuable information.  This is actually much worse.

Robinson concludes:

I guess things could be worse. Don’t ask me how.
Unfortunately, even as bad as what we saw today in the press conference, after which Joe Scarborough tweeted:

I do not think we have come close to the worst we are going to see, and experience.

Stay tuned.

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