To answer Jake Trapper’s question of who Trump is focused on, Trump is focused on Trump. From the very start of this campaign, it has been about him and only him. Trump isn’t a president for the people, he is in it for himself.
Donald Trump took questions from the media on Thursday afternoon. The hastily called press conference came as a surprise to reporters, who would typically had a briefing with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer during that time. (According to reports, Trump walked into the Oval Office earlier that morning and said, “Let’s do a press conference today.”)
The event was ostensibly meant to roll out his new labor secretary nominee, Alexander Acosta. (Previous pick Andy Puzder bowed out Wednesday after it became clear to Republican Senate leaders they did not have enough votes to confirm him.) But the event had little to do with Acosta, and quickly devolved into one of the most remarkably incoherent spectacles in recent memory.
Here are some of the most noteworthy moments.
That time he batted back reports of chaos in the West Wing
“I turn on TV, open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos – chaos – yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine.”
That time he confirmed the veracity of the leaks that lead to Michael Flynn’s resignation
“The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake.”
That time he couldn’t say Flynn lied
“The thing is, he didn’t tell our vice president properly, and then he said he didn’t remember … that just wasn’t acceptable to me.”
That time he characterized the rollout of his travel ban as “smooth”
“We had a very smooth rollout of the travel ban; we had a bad court.”
That time he called the country of Russia fake news
“Russia is fake news. Russia – this is fake news put out by the media. The real news is the fact that people, probably from the Obama administration because they’re there, because we have our new people going in place, right now.”
That time he denied knowledge of whether anyone from his team colluded with the Russian government during the campaign
“Nobody that I know of. How many times do I have to answer this question? Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven’t made a phone call to Russia in years.”
That time he bragged about not being a bad person
“And I’ll tell you what else I see. I see tone. You know the word ‘tone’? The tone is such hatred. I’m really not a bad person, by the way. No, but the tone is such – I do get good ratings, you have to admit that – the tone is such hatred.”
That time he promised America and Russia would have a nuclear holocaust “like no other”
“We’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are they. I have been briefed. And I can tell you, one thing about a briefing that we’re allowed to say, because anybody that ever read the most basic book can say it, nuclear holocaust would be like no other. They’re a very powerful nuclear country, and so are we.”
That time he mused about attacking the Russian vessel lurking off the coast of Connecticut
“The greatest thing I could do [politically] is shoot that ship that’s 30 miles offshore right out of the water.”
That time he conceded his oft-repeated line about having the “biggest electoral margin since Ronald Reagan” is a lie
Reporter: “You said today that you had the biggest electoral margin since Ronald Reagan – 304, 306 electoral votes. In fact, President Obama got 365 in 2008.”
Trump: “Well, I’m talking about Republicans.”
Reporter: “President Obama 333, George H.W. Bush 426 when he won. So why should Americans trust…”
Trump: “I was given that information, I was just given it. We had a very big margin.”
Reporter: “I guess the question is: Why should Americans trust you when you accuse the information they receive as being fake, when you’re providing information that is not accurate?”
Trump: “Well, I was given that information. I was, actually, I’ve seen that information around. But it was a very substantial victory. Do you agree with that?”
Reporter: “You’re the president.”
There is more. He is delusional and the President of the United States.
“If you got a job here in Beattyville, you’re lucky,” says Amber Hayes, a bubbly 25-year-old mom of two, who also voted for Trump. She works at the county courthouse, but is paid by the Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (K-TAP), a form of welfare.
Coal, oil and tobacco made Beattyville a boom town in the 1800s and much of the 1900s. Locals like to bring up the fact that Lee County — where Beattyville is located — was the No. 1 oil-producing county east of the Mississippi at one time.
“Growing up in the ’70s? Yeah, this was the place to be,” says Chuck Caudhill, the general manager of the local paper, The Beattyville Enterprise. He calls the town the “gem of eastern Kentucky.”
Today, the town is a ghost of its former self. The vast majority of Beattyville residents get some form of government aid — 57% of households receive food stamps and 58% get disability payments from Social Security.
“I hope [Trump] don’t take the benefits away, but at the same time, I think that once more jobs come in a lot of people won’t need the benefits,” says Hayes, who currently receives about $500 a month from government assistance. She’s also on Obamacare.
The coal and oil jobs are almost all gone, but already there’s buzz Trump is reviving the industry.
Donna Coomer is the manager of a busy Valero gas station in the heart of Beattyville. She knows the names of most people who come in and makes small-town chatter with folks. Mere days after Trump’s inauguration, she heard coal trucks were rumbling again.
“Someone told me this morning that in eastern Kentucky the coal trucks are already out and about,” Coomer told CNNMoney, beaming. She voted for Obama but feels he was just a good talker who did little for Kentucky. Trump got her vote this time. She’s praying for the new president.
It will be hard for Trump to revive the coal jobs, even if he does scale back environmental regulations on the industry. Top coal executive Robert Murray recently told CNNMoney coal employment “can’t be brought back to where it was before the election of Barack Obama.”
After the energy jobs evaporated, Beattyville was kept alive by a private prison and a clothing factory, Lion Apparel, that made firefighter suits. Then those jobs went away during President Obama’s tenure.
All that’s left are a few grocery stores, gas stations and small businesses. And drugs.
This story can be found all over Saskatchewan but the difference is that we don’t blame the federal government for the decline of small town Saskatchewan. People have moved to larger centres where the economy is stronger because they know things have changed. Farms have gotten larger, the rail lines have been abandoned and the elevators are gone. Those who decided to stay either have to a way to figure out to make it work with jobs or business that people will drive for or have to move to larger towns that are able to support a local economy.
I found it interesting that over half of the town is on food stamps. Basically Kentucky is subsidizing these towns. It may seem cruel but the Saskatchewan Ministry of Social Services has often told people that they will not support you in places where there are no jobs and little hope of getting one.
Sadly, Trump is playing these people for fools. The decline in coal came from natural gas being cheaper. It’s not Obama that has hurt them, it’s the market and unless Trump is going to subsidize the price of coal, things aren’t going to get better. Even coal execs are saying, “these jobs aren’t coming back”. So instead of moving on, they stay and suffer.
There are some economists who feel that the North American value of home ownership traps people into staying in locations long after they should have gone elsewhere for jobs. It provides more stability for towns and governments but hurts those that have no work.
I donâ€™t know but I am starting to get the impression that the layoffs are starting to affect CNNâ€™s quality.
I hope one of them is Comic Sans Serif. Â I hate that font.
I gave Mark an Sony Xperia J last Christmas which he loved. Â He thought it was the greatest phone ever, even if it wasnâ€™t. Â The Sony Xperia J has a memory problem that means that it doesnâ€™t handle apps well. Â I am not sure why this version of Android on this phone acts so poorly but according to the tech forums, it does.
The phone broke this summer and all of a sudden Markâ€™s attitude changed for the better. Â So much that we had some very long talks about it. Â He told me he missed being able to talk to his friends and Wendy and I via text but he didnâ€™t really miss his phone very much. Â He was kind of glad that he didnâ€™t have it around. Â He was funnier, more laid back, and said he was sleeping better.
It wasnâ€™t the phone that was the problem, it was that he would find some time and play some games that would keep him on it for hours. Â He was like a lot of youth, addicted to their phone.
So we talked about the kind of phone that we would get. Â I decided on getting him a Blackberry Curve. It would let him text others and not be distracted by other stuff. Virgin Mobileâ€™s was $150 which I found a little steep. Â Telus had one for $100 so I decided to make the switch. Â He isnâ€™t under contract so I set off to Best Buy and get his phone. Â While I was there, I saw they had a Nokia Lumia 520 for Windows Phone for $110. Â I was torn over what phone to get but in the end it was the constant barrage of Windows Phone tweets by Darren Sproat that won me over. Â I havenâ€™t heard of anyone excited over a Blackberry since 2005.
I set it up with Telus who has far inferior pre-paid plans than Virgin Mobile and gave it to Mark. Â The next day the phone wasnâ€™t working. Â I called back and Telus said that they hadnâ€™t gotten paid. Â I had a receipt and a confirmation number from Mastercard and still that wasnâ€™t enough. Â It was kind of weird. Â
So I took Markâ€™s phone to Tech Box. Â I had never been in there and they unlocked the phone for $20. Â It took a couple of days more than they said (the first code was slow coming and then didnâ€™t work) but they told me that one of them would be in the office on a Sunday and to stop by. Â We did, they unlocked the doors, and the phone was working. Â He was thrilled.
So I set up Markâ€™s phone for him and I have really come to like it. Â It doesnâ€™t have all of the apps that the iPhone or Android does but I was able to get himâ€¦
- The Score
- A podcast app
- Weather app
He told me today that he misses having a StarPhoenix app but other than that, he is set. Â Internet Explorer isnâ€™t that bad on the phone either. Â I didnâ€™t install any games and he is fine with that. Â The phone is pretty snappy and the tiles feature of Windows 8 is designed for a phone (and not a computer screen). Â It works really well. Â I have told a couple of people that while I love my iPhone, I could switch to Windows Phone and be perfectly happy. Â Especially when I think that I spent $110 for the phone.
There are some other cool stuff installed for apps like a transit app (that doesnâ€™t work in Saskatoon because we donâ€™t make our route information available like most other cities). Â Bing Maps is no better or worse than Apple Maps (actually it is probably better).
So back to Mark. Â Heâ€™s happy with the phone. Â He likes not having a phone with the distractions of games and then frustrated over not getting other things done. Â Heâ€™s like a lot of 14 year olds but with this phone, he seems to have found a mix of being connected and not being too connected. Â We will see how it goes.
â€œAshleigh, Ashleigh, Ashleigh, Ashleighâ€
I was watching CNN this week and was stunned by the poor job the anchor was doing bringing any kind of accountability to the Republican guest. Considering that their advertising was â€œKeeping them Honestâ€, they seem to do a horrible job of it, even their respected hosts like Wolf Blitzer. In an attempt to appear non-partisan, they are not keeping anyone honest by not taking a stand on anything.
The â€œletâ€™s leave it thereâ€ that you hear over and over again means that guest can lie to your hearts content and no one will call them on it. In many ways it has made them less reliable than MSNBC and Fox News. Jon Stewart goes to town on CNN in this 2009 segment.
What is scary about this segment is that it isnâ€™t that far off base. CNN seems to be going through the motions more than actually being a news source I can trust.