Tag Archives: Meet the Press

Oh, that POTUS is such a comedian

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has mounted a curious defense of Donald Trump’s penchant for profane name-calling.

He said the president “likes making funny names.”

Hey, Trump’s latest funny-name tirade this week included these two knee-slappers. He referred to “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd a “sleeping son of a bitch.” Oh, and then — at the same political rally in Pennsylvania — he described Democratic U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters as a “low-IQ individual.”

I cannot stop laughing. The president just cracks me up. What a card, a comedian. He needs to take his act on the road. Oh, wait! That’s what he did when he hurled those insults at (a) a prominent broadcast journalist and (b) a leader of the congressional Democratic caucus.

Mnuchin’s defense of Trump came, interestingly, on “Meet the Press,” the program Todd has moderated for the past several years. I didn’t watch it in real time. I’m quite sure that Todd didn’t crack up at Mnuchin’s defense of the president. Oh, no. Todd is too much of a pro to do something so stupid.

As Politico reports: “I’ve been with the president and at campaigns. You know, he likes to put names on people,” the Treasury secretary said. “He did that through the entire presidential election, including all of the Republicans that he beat. … These are campaign rally issues.” 

That is supposed to excuse the kind of hideous language that Trump spews? Give me a break.

“Campaign rally issues” often produce free-form rhetoric. However, we are talking here about the president of the United States of America. Isn’t this individual supposed to elevate the quality of political discourse?

Not the dumbest idea, but it’s close

Lindsey Graham said this in response today to a question about a joint U.S.-Russia initiative to combat cyber hacking: “It’s not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it’s pretty close.”

That was among some of the critiques that the South Carolina Republican U.S. senator offered on Donald J. Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin in Hamburg, Germany.

Graham went on during his interview with “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd: “He gave a really good speech in Poland, President Trump did, and he had what I think is a disastrous meeting with President Putin. Two hours and 15 minutes of meetings. (Secretary of State Rex) Tillerson and Trump are ready to forgive and forget when it comes to cyber-attacks on the American election of 2016.”

Donald Trump, to no one’s surprise, is calling his second overseas trip as president a success. The Putin meeting, by many accounts, was anything but a victory for the president. He “pressed” Putin on allegations that Russian government officials meddled in our 2016 election; Putin denied it. Then the two men announce this joint effort to combat cyber attacks? Are you kidding? Sadly, no. They aren’t.

Trump once again revealed that he appears to be the only world leader on the planet who refuses to accept that Russia launched an attack on our electoral process. He keeps giving the Russians cover. He keeps saying things like “We don’t really know” who is responsible for the hacking of our system. Actually, a lot of intelligence experts in this country do know who did it. They say it’s the Russians.

Meanwhile, U.S. politicians from both political parties are demanding that Russia be held accountable for what they did. Instead, the president wants to form a partnership with them to put an end to the Russians’ effort to subvert our electoral system?

I agree with Sen. Graham. It’s a pretty damn dumb idea.

Hoping to head off Trump Fatigue

I might need an intervention.

News junkie that I am, I usually cannot resist watching cable and broadcast news channels’ discussion of current events, of public policy and, yes, even politics.

Until now.

I awoke this Sunday morning and decided to avoid the weekly news/commentary/analysis talk shows. I didn’t watch George or Chuck on ABC or NBC, respectively. I had no particular desire to listen to the talking heads on “This Week” or “Meet the Press.”

Why? I fear it’s because of the subject matter: Donald John “Smart Person” Trump, the current president of the United States of America.

The guy is starting to wear me out. We’re not even at the 100-day mark in his presidency. Good grief! That means we have another nearly four years to go before the next presidential election!

Heaven help us. Or maybe just me.

I don’t intend to stop commenting on this clown’s tenure as president; I consider contributions to High Plains Blogger to be a form of therapy. I might even be able to fend off the Trump Fatigue I fear is beginning to overtake me.

Maybe I just need a day or two — or maybe three or four — away from the TV set.

Wish me luck. I’ll extend the same to you.

Tweets diminish Trump’s ‘moral authority’

Thomas Friedman is a journalist of considerable reputation.

He might, in the words of Donald J. Trump, be an “enemy of the people,” but the New York Times columnist has a well-established base of knowledge of world affairs.

Consider his take on the president’s use of Twitter as a primary form of communication.

Friedman appeared this morning on “Meet the Press” and he asserted that Trump’s “moral authority” is being damaged by his random rants that go out in the wee hours from wherever he happens to be at the moment.

He noted that the president is going to Europe soon to meet with other heads of government and heads of state. They are our allies. Our friends. Our partners.

How will the U.S. president respond to these meetings? What might he say about President So-and-So or about Prime Minister What’s-His-Name?

Does the president’s Twitter fetish diminish the trust that these world leaders have in the head of the greatest nation on Earth?

Friedman believes Trump’s use of this social medium ultimately could cause great damage to this country’s standing among other world leaders who depend on America to be the source of reason, strength and wisdom.

Trump’s demonstrated careless use of Twitter undermines all of it.

The president is playing a dangerous game.

No, Kellyanne, critics aren’t ‘haters’

My dear mother taught me a few life lessons: Don’t wish your life away; keep an open mind; don’t “hate” anyone.

The last one stands out at this moment as I ponder the comments from Donald Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, who calls critics of a recent gaffe “haters.”

No, ma’am. We aren’t haters. Actually, I haven’t yet weighed in on the gaffe, in which you mistakenly referred to a “massacre” at Bowling Green, Ky., that never occurred.

Conway did own up to her mistake quickly after the stuff hit the fan. She said she “misspoke” when she made the reference in an MSNBC interview. Do the critics “hate” her for saying such a thing? I would hope not.

I only can speak for myself on this one, but I don’t hate Kellyanne Conway. What I do hate, though, are the untrue statements that pour out of the mouths of the president himself and so many of his closest advisers. Maybe they believe what they say. Perhaps they know they are telling untruths … or lying.

I am amused — in a perverse sort of way — with so many of things Conway has said. She referred to “alternative facts” the other day in another TV interview. “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd told her that “alternative facts are falsehoods.”


I get that Conway is feeling chastened by critics. As a senior adviser to the president of the United States, it’s not too much to ask her to tell the truth — the whole truth — at all times.

Honest to goodness, though, I don’t hate her when she falls short. I just hate the words that come out of her mouth.

Chaos continues as Trump takes charge

My goodness. The chaos, the pandemonium, the confusion.

It’s just what Donald J. Trump has ordered … allegedly.

That was some wild weekend as Trump became president of the United States.

* The president delivered 16-minute inaugural speech that re-stated the winning themes of his presidential campaign and painted a dark picture of gloom and “carnage” in the United States of America.

* The next day, White House press secretary Sean Spicer meets the press corps for the first time and delivers a five-minute scolding of what he said was a deliberate misreporting of the size of the crowd at the inauguration. Amazing!

* Meanwhile, White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said Spicer was delivering a set of “alternative facts,” prompting “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd to remind her that “alternative facts are falsehoods.”

* Then … the president goes to the CIA ostensibly to pay tribute to the agents who’ve fallen in the line of duty then excoriates the media as a “dishonest” group of people.

* As all this was occurring, several million people around the world hit the streets to march in protest of Trump’s inauguration.

* Finally, Trump told congressional leaders he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton because as many as 5 million illegal immigrants cast ballots against him.

Is this what we’re going to get for the next four years? Is this what our allies abroad are going to witness as the 45th president’s administration tries to gain its footing?

He told us he would campaign unconventionally. It now appears that unconventional governance is going to follow.

I’ve got to catch my breath.

‘Media bias’ is a non-starter, Rep. Kingston


Jack Kingston today made arguably the most absurd assertion I’ve ever heard about alleged “media bias” in covering the 2016 presidential election.

The former Republican congressman from Georgia — who supports Donald J. Trump’s election to the presidency — actually said the lack of newspaper endorsements illustrates the point that the media are biased against his candidate.

Kingston took  that leap today on MSBNC. He was reminded immediately, however, that many of the newspapers that have endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton have adhered to historically conservative editorial policies. Thus, the papers’ aren’t traditionally “liberal” organs.

UNITED STATES - Dec 12: Rep. Jack Kingston, R-GA., address the media during a press conference in the House Studio B in the U.S. Capitol on December 12, 2013. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Kingston stuck to his mantra. The media are biased, he said, continuing the line that Trump, VP nominee Mike Pence and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway have been reciting whenever possible.

Oh … my.

The media always are a convenient target for losing political campaigns. That part of this tactic from Trump isn’t particularly new or original. I’ve heard it for decades.

Trump’s floundering campaign has revealed only the profound failure of the candidate. It has shown us this man’s unfitness for the job he seeks. His lack of knowledge of anything speaks volumes. His desperate tactics as the campaign draws to a close only affirm the wisdom of the newspapers’ editorial positions.

Donald Trump is losing this campaign. Moreover, he is acting like someone who has lost his mind.

As for former Rep. Kingston, he is smarter than he demonstrated today with that ridiculous assertion about media bias.

Is it ‘Dr.’ David Plouffe these days?


Now, now, now, David Plouffe.

Let’s not venture where we do not belong.

Not long ago, I — among others out here in the peanut gallery — got all over Katrina Pierson, a spokeswoman for Donald J. Trump, for issuing what amounted to a medical diagnosis of Hillary Clinton.

Pierson said the Democratic presidential nominee suffers from “dysphasia,” a neurological disorder.

“Ugghh!” we all thought. Knock it off, Ms. Pierson, we said.

Now it’s Plouffe weighing in, declaring that Trump — the Republican nominee — is a “psychopath” and that he “meets the clinical definition” of psychopathic behavior.


To his credit, “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd called Plouffe down for issuing his own diagnosis, pointing out that he doesn’t have a medical degree or a degree “in psychology.”

Plouffe kind of shrugged and admitted he isn’t trained as a shrink.

David Plouffe is a brilliant political strategist, having engineered Barack Obama’s winning presidential campaign in 2008 and later serving as a senior political adviser in the White House.

He’s no doctor. So, let’s cease the medical diagnoses.

As Todd told Plouffe, “This is what gets voters so frustrated.”

Sen. Dole reminds GOP of its dignified past

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 20:  Former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., salutes the casket of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, as his body lies in state in the Capitol rotunda, as Dole's wife, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., looks on.  Bob Dole and Inouye knew each other since they were recovering from World War II battle wounds.  Dole was assisted to the casket saying "I wouldn't want Danny to see me in a wheelchair."  (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Many Republican luminaries are staying away from the Republican Party’s national presidential nominating convention.

But not all of them.

A serious man attended today’s opening of the convention in Cleveland.

He is former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, the Kansas Republican who represented his state and served our country with tremendous honor.

Sen. Dole was there to support presumptive presidential nominee Donald J. Trump. That’s what party loyalists do, whether they’re Democrat or Republican. Dole is a loyalist to the core.

He also represents another time in this country when Republicans and Democrats could be political adversaries, not enemies.

MSNBC commentators took note of Dole’s distinguished career in public life. They brought up his years in the Senate. They mentioned how, in 1976, President Ford selected him as his running mate to assuage conservatives’ concerns. They talked also of Dole’s conservative principles as he ran for president in 1988 against fellow Republican George H.W. Bush.

Of course, they mentioned his losing 1996 presidential campaign against President Clinton.

Here’s another element of Dole’s service they mentioned: They talked about his heroic service in the Army during World War II, in which he suffered grievous injury while fighting the Nazis in Italy.

It was right after coming home from the battlefield that young Bob Dole would meet another young American with whom he would undergo rehabilitation. The forged a friendship in the rehab hospital that would last a lifetime.

The other young man was Daniel Inouye, who would become a U.S. senator from Hawaii, and who was as loyal to his Democratic Party as Dole is to the GOP.

Inouye also suffered near-mortal wounds during World War II. He would receive the Medal of Honor for his battlefield heroics.

“Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd took particular note today of when Sen. Inouye died and his friend Bob Dole stood in front of Inouye’s casket to salute him. He told the honor guard that his “good friend Danny wouldn’t want to see me sitting here” in a wheelchair, Todd said.

Dole represented a time when senators could disagree, but maintain personal affection and friendship.

I was gratified to see this member of the “greatest generation” one more time.

If only his political descendants — on both sides of the partisan divide — would follow the example of collegiality that he and his “good friend Danny” set for politicians all across the land.

How would Tim Russert react to today’s politics?


Tim Russert died eight years ago today.

Do I still miss him? You bet I do.

So does Chris Cillizza, a columnist for the Washington Post, who reposted a piece he wrote three years ago to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Russert’s sudden and shocking death from a heart attack.

Here it is.


Cillizza wonders what Russert would think of today’s political climate and particularly what he’d think of Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

I think I know the answer.

He’d be appalled at both things.

Russert came from the political world into the world of broadcast journalism. He worked for U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who during his years in the Senate was many Republicans’ favorite Democrat. He also worked for New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who didn’t have as many friends in the GOP. But still, Russert knew his way around politicians.

He joined NBC News and stumbled onto the “Meet the Press” moderator gig while filling in one Sunday.

He did so well, proved to be so comfortable, that the NBC News brass made him the permanent moderator.

What set Russert apart from so many of his peers and those who came along after him was his preparation. He knew all there was to know about the people who sat in front of him. Russert was an expert at making politicians account for the very things they said in public.

“You said this, senator,” he would say, “How do you explain that?”

He was an equal-opportunity afflicter. Democrats and Republicans all had to bring their “A game” to a session on “Meet the Press” when facing Tim Russert.

What would he think of Trump? He’d no doubt be aghast, but he’d keep it to himself. One can rest assured, too, that he’d give Hillary Rodham Clinton just as stern a grilling.