In preparation for an interview I’ll be doing soon on my TBN show with CBS’s chief White House correspondent Major Garrett, I examined his latest book, “MR. TRUMP’S WILD RIDE: The Thrills, Chills, Screams and Occasional Blackouts of an Extraordinary Presidency.” I might not have wasted my time with the typical Trump book by the typical mainstream media-type, but Garrett has sincerely tried his best to present an even-handed assessment of the first part of Trump’s presidency. Given these viciously polarized times, I have to give him some credit for even attempting that.
And let’s give him credit for a great, evocative title as well. Thinking back to the1990s when Bill and Hillary were in the White House, I remember we could have characterized the Clinton years in much the same way. Back then, we really did have “scandal fatigue” with the Clintons, as it was just one scandal after another and they were NOT created, as Hillary tried to claim, by “a vast right-wing conspiracy.” But the period we’re living through now is even more intense. Some say that Trump is facing the most negative media since Abraham Lincoln. And this time, the weird thing is that there isn’t even any actual Trump scandal that we know of, just a lot of frantic searching for...something, anything...by those who fervently oppose him and will do whatever it takes to damage him and, ultimately, unseat him.
Yet the only Trump-related scandal we’ve uncovered has had to do not with Trump himself but with the unethical and even unlawful efforts by the FBI (including some who are now on the special counsel team) to incriminate him and get rid of him. Oh, and we also –- big surprise –- have encountered still more Clinton misbehavior, which never seems to end.
It’s hard to tell if the carnival atmosphere surrounding Trump’s administration is truly the result of his own mercurial personality (judging from his book, Garrett would say that in large part, it is), or if any Republican coming in on the heels of The Exalted One would have received pretty much the same reception from the left. With “progressives” becoming increasingly radical and in-your-face, any move towards conservatism by any Republican President, not just Trump, would no doubt be met with rage and condemnation. For example, surely any constitutionalist nominated for the Supreme Court by any Republican President would have been met with the same hysteria that Justice Brett Kavanaugh experienced.
Try to imagine the reaction from the left if, say, a President Pence had nominated Kavanaugh (or any other judge; it doesn’t matter). I’d venture to say that because of Pence’s deep religious faith and strong pro-life stance, any Supreme Court nomination he put forth would be met with the same or perhaps an even greater magnitude of screaming from the left. We still would have the decades-old unsubstantiated accusations, the repeated outbursts during his confirmation hearings, the women wearing costumes from THE HANDMAID’S TALE, and all the rest of that horror show.
Of course, Trump is different in that he fights fire with fire, always punching back. (He’s had a few unforced errors as well, punching wildly into the Twitterverse when it would have been better to say nothing at all.) There’s a negative side to that but also a positive one, in that he will not be cowed. He’s like Rocky Balboa in the ring –- he stands up to hit after hit and absolutely refuses to go down. Who else would take all this? Who else is so gloriously stubborn?
Some other Presidents have dealt with an extremely hostile media; it simply wasn’t that apparent because there used to be unwritten “rules” of professional behavior and language that, sadly, people just don’t follow any more, not even in the newsroom, not even in the White House press room. That’s a reflection of the times and the evolving nature of media, particularly social media, but not necessarily of Trump himself. George W. Bush was mercilessly trashed; they called him everything in the book, up to and including Hitler. Ronald Reagan was the target of vicious hate, and that hostility can’t be blamed on his personality or behavior, as he was always a perfect gentleman.
Leftists try to blame Trump and, in particular, his ill-advised tweeting for the hate that’s been generated, but, trust me, they would still detest him just as much if Twitter hadn’t been invented. They use his tweets as an excuse for their own hatred and sorry behavior.
Seems to me, the upper echelon at the FBI were so ready for Hillary to be President and so protective of their friends and fiefdoms that they likely would have worked to undermine whoever the Republican nominee might have been, at least anyone they thought might mess with the status quo. We’ll never know, but I’ll bet they would have found ways to spy on any Hillary opponent and create some kind of “insurance policy” to at least limit his power on the off-chance he won. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least.
But back to Trump’s glorious stubbornness. No matter which Republican had won the White House, the Democrats’ opposition to beefed-up border security, no matter what form that took, would have been just as strong. They obviously DO NOT want border security, no matter how many times they say they do. One look at California will tell you: what they want are sanctuary cities, budget-busting services for all, and essentially open borders, through which they envision millions of future Democratic voters streaming in. It’s fair to assume they would counter any attempt by any President to strengthen our border with whatever strategy they thought would keep it from going through.
Yes, in past years, Democrats –- even Obama –- claimed to want border security and a border “fence.” Notice we did not get it. This assertion was just as disingenuous as when they claimed to be in favor of traditional marriage and balanced budgets.
But in the current stalemate, who besides Trump (and, well, me) would have stood firm, understanding what the Democrats were trying to do to him? Trump knows they’re like Lucy with the football, saying, “Look, Charlie Brown, you run up and kick the football, and I PROMISE I won’t pull the ball away at the last minute.” Only they say, “Look, Mr. President, you re-open the government, and we PROMISE we’ll negotiate with you then.” Other Presidents have been Charlie Browns, trusting people who should not be trusted. Even Reagan trusted Congress to cut spending, but that never happened, and deficits climbed. But Trump knows exactly who he’s dealing with. He knows that if he caves, the Democrats will not give him a thing.
Trump supporters appreciate his skepticism. We like that he keeps people off balance. That might be hard for some of the people who work around him, but it’s sure good for him when negotiating.
One theme of Garrett’s book is that Trump exhausts everyone –- supporters and detractors alike. True, but at least Trump himself faces each new day with boundless energy even as he tires everyone else out. We are so fortunate to have him there. Garrett says that even writing about Trump put him in “a frenzied state of dread.” Maybe so, but that couldn’t have been anything close to the dread I used to feel now and then before Trump was elected, at the very thought of Hillary Clinton becoming President of the United States.
I’d like to give a shout-out to the small staff who work with me to find and research stories. Thanks to their professionalism, over the years I’ve been doing newsletters, radio, TV and podcasts, I’ve made it a point to correct as soon as possible anything we get wrong; but we very rarely have to do that. Meanwhile, the so-called “big media” outlets that have forgotten how to vet stories have just suffered two major face-plants in 48 hours.
First, there was all the “impeachment” hysteria over an anti-Trump article on the bottom-feeding website Buzzfeed that special counsel Robert Mueller felt forced to publicly debunk. (I mentioned that it existed but warned readers not to give it credibility.)
With their impeachment hopes dashed and their blatant bias exposed, you’d think the media would be contrite over their utter lack of professionalism. But rather than apologizing to Trump or their readers/viewers, they just felt sorry for themselves. CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin called it “a bad day for the media” and said, “The larger message that a lot of people are going to take from this story is that the news media are a bunch of leftist liars who are dying to get the President and they’re willing to lie to do it. And I don’t think that’s true.” (He offered no evidence to back up that last assertion.)
Mediaite.com had to admit that Fox News, which liberals often mock as “Faux News,” was among the few outlets professional enough to be skeptical of the Buzzfeed yarn, which was based on unnamed sources and had a co-author with a history of outrageous fabrications.
But instead of learning from their public humiliation, the very next day, liberal media outlets started salivating like Pavlov’s dog again, when they got another one of those “perfect narrative” stories: a video allegedly showing that a group of white Catholic school teenage boys – in MAGA hats! – at the March For Life!! – had accosted and hurled racist insults at a Native American activist!!!
When you’ve got something that perfect, who needs to find out if there’s another side to it, or if the side you’re reporting is even true? And so we were treated to hours of furious condemnations of those horrible racist teens, with some of the usual Internet hotheads releasing their personal information and threatening them and their families. Some even started a move to contact colleges and bully them into not accepting applicants from their school.
But wait – hold the phone – or maybe, hold up a lot of cell phones. Because it turns out there were a lot of phones recording that incident. And when you saw the entire thing, it didn’t prove the liberal narrative at all. Quite the opposite, in fact…
And yes, there were some vile racist things said. But they were shouted at the Catholic teenagers by some strange people who weren’t part of either group.
As one critic pointed out, maybe the reason liberals always think James O’Keefe’s undercover videos are selectively edited is because that’s what they do.
To their credit, some of the people who jumped to conclusions (including some Republicans) admitted they were wrong and apologized to the boys (after trying to destroy their lives without bothering to fact-check first.) But the Washington Post just couldn’t let it go without reminding us that back in history, the Catholic Church had done bad things to Native Americans…
…which I guess justifies a mob of bullies, on the scene and in the media and cyberspace, attacking a group of innocent kids? Oh, I forgot: they were white, pro-life, Catholic males in MAGA caps, so they deserved to be destroyed even if they didn’t do anything wrong.
The treatment of those young men was absolutely shameful, but so was the treatment of those media outlets’ audiences, in both of these cases. We can hope that this weekend of back-to-back humiliating self-immolations by the media teaches them a lesson, but they may be too far gone for that. I suspect that if a juicy enough fake story appeared right now that cast a bad light on Trump or on Catholics (they’re in the crosshairs because of the belief that Trump will likely nominate Catholic Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg), they would all go tearing off after it without a second thought, like greyhounds chasing a mechanical rabbit.
But if any of them really want to avoid looking like rabidly partisan fools again, I asked my staffers to give them some advice. Here are their suggestions:
1. Take the time to double-check every fact and quote.
2. Use reliable sources, and if it’s a partisan issue, get the story from both sides.
3. If a story sounds too good – or bad – to be true, it’s probably not. And if it so perfectly illustrates a particular partisan narrative that it sounds as if it could have been made up by someone’s propaganda office, it probably was.
As long as we’re doing stories today about video exposes that were (and weren’t) deceptively edited, here’s another one that biased media outlets got wrong…
Interesting Photo: I’m not going to join in the snarky comments about how much luggage Speaker Pelosi packed for her aborted junket. I think that’s nobody’s business. I’d just like to point out that if the media had a similar picture of Melania Trump’s luggage for a one-week trip, we would never hear the end of how spoiled and out-of-touch she must be.
If you think Trump might really be playing three-dimensional chess with people who can’t even master checkers, you might enjoy this piece by blogger Trent Telenko, noting that months ago, Trump signed a bill funding the pay of Defense Department workers through September 30. That means the government shutdown can continue on for months, cutting out only the civil servants who are most likely to support Democrats and work to stifle his agenda.
Saturday, President Trump made what he called a major announcement on the border security stalemate/shutdown. He offered Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats a three-year extension of protection from deportation for DACA recipients and those with Temporary Protected Status, plus $800 million in urgent humanitarian assistance and $805 million in new drug detection technology in exchange for $5.7 billion (less than the shutdown has already cost) for “strategic deployment of physical barriers”
It was a deal so generous that some Republicans balked at it. Yet Speaker Pelosi rejected the offer even before it was made, then continued to reject it even after she knew what was in it. She is showing that the Democrats picked the perfect symbol in a donkey, a creature famous for being stubborn and unmovable.
Some top Democrats tried to scratch up a coherent reason for refusing to take Trump’s deal, but that proved impossible. Their two excuses were that they want the DACA amnesty made permanent first and that it’s so vitally important to reopen the government that Trump has to agree to that first and then they’ll discuss border security. But if reopening the government is paramount, then why not take Trump’s deal and then discuss making DACA permanent (after all, he is offering them three years to accomplish something)? Indeed, if getting government workers back on the payroll is priority #1, why were Pelosi and crew ready to jet off on a week-long junket past another federal pay period before Trump literally cooled their jets and forced them to stay in Washington?
The Democratic leadership’s intransigence has become so transparent and logically indefensible that they’ve even lost the Washington Post, which urged Pelosi in an editorial to take Trump’s offer. Of course, they filled the editorial with the usual nasty anti-Trump rhetoric, blaming the whole problem on him, before finally knuckling under to reality. But unlike Pelosi, at least they did finally arrive at the correct conclusion, no matter how hard it was for them to admit it.
Even kneejerk Trump critic Mitt Romney said he doesn’t understand the Democrats’ position, after agreeing to build over 600 miles of fencing in the past, why shut down the government over building a few miles more? (Hint, Mitt: the earlier 600 or so miles weren’t requested by Trump.)
If I may offer an explanation: I think the problem is that Trump has driven his opponents daffy. And I mean, literally “Daffy.”
Remember the old Looney Tunes cartoons, where Bugs Bunny would argue with Daffy Duck about whether it was duck hunting season or rabbit hunting season? The wily Bugs would get Daffy so riled up and confused that eventually, he would not only insist that it was duck season, but demand that Elmer Fudd shoot him. Well, that’s where the Democratic leadership is now.
Trump knows they have discombobulated themselves with anti-Trump “resistance” rhetoric, personal hatred and kowtowing to the “Trump is Hitler!!!” far left nut brigade. So much so that he can offer them a win – a deal filled with things they previously supported - and they will furiously reject it out of force of habit. They’ve painted themselves into a corner, and Trump is now playing them like Bugs played Daffy.
The Democratic leaders’ muleheadedness is scaring moderate Democrats and freshmen elected from districts Trump won. Even Mitt Romney and the Washington Post are forcing themselves to side with Trump. At least one DACA recipient urged them last week to just build the wall already, and I’ll bet a lot more are now saying the same thing. Government workers have learned the hard way that for all the Dem leaders’ crocodile tears, their paychecks mean less to them than funding a border wall, sticking it to Trump, or living it up on the taxpayers’ dime in Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Europe (note: Nancy Pelosi is one of the richest House members, yet I can’t find any evidence that she’s joining her colleagues in donating her salary to help those government workers. Trump can't donate his salary because he doesn’t take one.)
Finally, a new NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll found that Trump’s job approval among Hispanics has risen by a shocking 19 points to 50% since the wall standoff began in December. This is only a surprise if you think Hispanics don’t notice that Trump has ushered in the lowest Hispanic unemployment rate in history, or that Hispanics all approve of unfettered illegal immigration, even though illegal immigrants compete for and drive down the wages of jobs that many legal Hispanic immigrants do.
(FYI: Newbusters noted PBS Newshour played up all the negatives for Trump in the poll but failed to note the most stunning news of all, his skyrocketing Hispanic support. So the Congressional House leaders aren’t the only ones acting like mules with blinders on.)
I think it’s possible that Trump made that incredibly conciliatory offer because he knew his opponents would be too stubborn, stupid and locked into the habit of blind partisan opposition to take it, making it look as if all they care about is protecting illegal immigration and thereby alienating many of their key supporters, including government workers, Hispanics, DACA recipients and the media. If they take Trump’s deal, then he gets his wall funding. And if they don’t, then anyone who continues to argue that the government shutdown is the fault of anyone other than the Democrats will look as ridiculous as Daffy Duck.