Tag Archives: Fire and Fury

Wait for the discrediting campaign to commence

It’ll come, of that I have no doubt.

Donald John Trump will seek to discredit the reporting skills of one of America’s premier journalists, who has just completed a book on the Trump administration called “Fear.”

As I noted in an earlier blog post, Bob Woodward, the author of “Fear,” is no schmuck publicity hound. He is a reporter who has become legendary for his meticulousness, for the thoroughness of his reporting.

He won a Pulitzer Prize back in the 1970s after he and Washington Post partner Carl Bernstein reported on the White House’s involvement in the Watergate office break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

Then we hear this remarkable recording of Woodward talking to Donald Trump, telling the president of the effort he made to talk to the president prior to the completion of the book.

I know for certain there will be complaints that Woodward is doing the dirty work for Democratic Party operatives. Hmm. So, um, fascinating, given that Woodward’s history shows him leaning Republican … although his politics has never tainted the quality of his reporting for the Washington Post.

“Fear” follows a trend of earlier tell-all books about the Trump administration. Former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman speaks to the chaos within the West Wing, as does David Woolf’s earlier publication.

One can challenge the credibility of Newman and Woolf. It would constitute a serious mistake to do the same thing to Bob Woodward.

The man is a pro. He’s a careful craftsman who for decades has brought honor to his profession.

My gut tells me Bob Woodward has done so yet again with “Fear.”

Yes, we’ve seen ‘fire and fury,’ Mr. President

You no doubt remember when Donald John Trump threatened North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un earlier this year with “fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen.”

Kim had issued some threats to the United States. The president was having none of it. Well, the president isn’t exactly a student of history, as we know.

Seventy-three years ago today, one of Trump’s predecessors, President Harry Truman, issued the order to release a new kind of “fire and fury” on a nation with which we were at war.

A U.S. Army Air Force B-29 bomber took off on Aug. 6, 1945, from Tinian Island and headed for Hiroshima, Japan. It dropped a single bomb on Hiroshima. It killed tens of thousands of Japanese citizens in an instant. It was the first time the world saw a nuclear weapon deployed in a hostile act. It wouldn’t be the final time.

Three days later, another bomber flew over Nagasaki, Japan, and repeated the destruction.

The Japanese surrendered five days later, ending the world’s greatest, bloodiest and costliest conflict.

President Truman took office in April 1945 upon the death of President Franklin Roosevelt. The new president knew only a tiny bit of information about the Manhattan Project, where scientists were working on this terrible new weapon way out yonder in Los Alamos, N.M.

President Truman was briefed fully not long after he took office. The military brass told him, in effect, “Mr. President, we have this weapon under development that we believe will bring a quick end to the war.” The president agreed.

He would say many years later that he harbored no regret over using the atomic bomb. I have saluted President Truman many times over the years for the decision he made, based on the evidence he had at the time — and the lives he saved by persuading the enemy to surrender and allowing us to forgo an invasion of Japan by sea, air and land forces.

Fire and fury? There it was.

Will the WH trash Bob Woodward, too?

When Michael Wolff published his book, “Fire and Fury” about the White House in the Donald Trump administration, the White House released a torrent of criticism against the author.

I read the book. I found it mostly credible, but agree that there was evidence of some sloppy reporting and editing.

Now another author, a journalist of tremendous repute, Bob Woodward, is about to release a new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House.”

I am wondering if the Trumpsters are going to trash Woodward — the same Bob Woodward who as a Washington Post reporter teamed with Carl Bernstein to chronicle the Watergate scandal — in the manner they did Wolff.

They would do so at their peril.

I look forward to seeing what the legendary journalist has to say.

What? Trump to meet Rocket Man?

So, how does the president of the United States change the subject from an alleged affair with a porn queen and Republican rage over trade tariffs?

Donald Trump agrees to meet with the leader of a nation deemed in some circles to present an existential threat to the United States of America.

That’s correct. Trump now plans to meet face to face with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

The man Trump derided with the Rocket Man epithet, declared North Korea faced “total destruction” if it attacked South Korea and threatened to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea if it continued to threaten the United States now wants to meet with the source of all this white-hot rhetoric.

Details are to come. The president said he would meet Kim no later than May. The place will be determined later. So, too, will the agenda, or so many of us should presume.

This does beg an important question: Has the tough talk about “fire and fury” and “total destruction” actually persuaded Kim to meet with Trump and begin the arduous task of negotiating a peace treaty with the South?

Trump’s critics — and I include myself in that crowd — have derided the president’s rhetoric as gratuitously provocative. He didn’t need to remind Kim that his “button is bigger” than the North Korean’s nuclear button.

I also have said I’d be willing to eat my words if Trump’s clownish behavior actually produced tangible, constructive results.

An intended meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un isn’t enough by itself for me to dine on my own criticism. There’s too much groundwork to be laid. Too many details to work out. Too much can go wrong between now and when the two leaders actually meet.

What’s more, I am not entirely sure who between these two men is less trustworthy than the other.

Kim keeps provoking Trump, who responds with provocations of his own. Kim has nukes. The United States arsenal is infinitely larger.

However, if this meeting leads to more discussion, well … that’s a major start.

First, we need to learn that there will be a meeting. I am holding my applause.

Suck it up, Michael Wolff, and take the heat

I am well into Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury” and am finding it an interesting and entertaining piece of work. Much of it rings true as well.

But when the author goes on these national TV talk shows to discuss some of the more, um, salacious elements of the book, he needs to prepare for the grilling he should expect to get.

He got grilled hard this week on MSNBC by “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski, who wondered why he would suggest that U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley would be engaging in an affair with Donald John Trump.

Wolff took offense at the question. Brzezinski persisted, noting that he implies an alleged Haley-Trump “relationship” near the end of his book.

The back-and-forth continued for a few moments before Brzezinski shut the interview down.

Wolff defamed Haley, according to Brzezinski. Wolff decided to go after the MSBNC co-host in a series of tweets after his appearance on “Morning Joe.”

I won’t comment yet on “Fire and Fury,” as I have a good bit of it yet to read. I do object, though, to assertions he is making about our nation’s U.N. ambassador and the president. This is a serious head-scratcher, given the ubiquitous presence of cameras, recording devices and other gadgets that can detect any kind of, um, “suspicious” behavior.

As for the author’s inability or unwillingness to endure tough questioning from journalists, well, he needs to toughen up.

U.N. envoy now a victim

Nikki Haley might be the latest victim of a culture that many Americans are trying to eradicate.

She is the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations. Haley once served as the Republican governor of South Carolina, where she distinguished herself as a courageous enemy of race-related hate groups.

Donald J. Trump nominated her to the U.N. post, where she has continued to serve with distinction.

Now, though, comes a vicious rumor of an affair with the president. They originate from Michael Wolff, author of the controversial “Fire and Fury” book that is highly critical of the Trump administration.

What we are witnessing is a continuation of the kind of hideous gossip that follows high-achieving women. There are those who are too willing to foment lies about women, using sex as the weapon they deploy to defame them.

Ambassador Haley has been victimized in a highly disgraceful manner. We need to rid ourselves of this form of malice.

Now … it’s time for ‘Fire and Fury’

I am happy to report that my copy of “Fire and Fury” arrived in the mail today.

My original plan was to rush out to the bookstore to buy a book off the shelf. Then I realized I could buy the book for a lot less money if I purchased it online.

So I did. I bought the book from Amazon for about half of what I would have paid at the retail outlet.

Michael Wolff has taken some grief in recent days over the book that details a lot of what many of us have suspected about Donald John Trump Sr., and his presidency. It tells of the chaos, confusion and the narcissism that plagues the White House. There also are those notable observations about whether Don Trump Jr. engaged in a “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” meeting with Russians goons who had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

Critics have wondered about his sources. They have accused him of fabricating quotes. Wolff didn’t acquit himself very well when he got quite testy with CNN talk show host Michael Smerconish, who asked him completely appropriate questions about how Wolff ingratiated himself with Trump’s inner circle.

Many pundits, though, have said the book is a serious page-turner. They couldn’t put it down.

I now intend to find out for myself.

I’ll get back to you.

Wolff squares off against CNN host … and loses

I intend fully to read “Fire and Fury” when it arrives in my mailbox in a few days.

My initial intention was to purchase it off the shelf at Barnes & Noble when it was released, then I decided to order it online, via Amazon. It will arrive soon.

There. That said, I watched “Fire and Fury” author Michael Wolff make an ass of himself on CNN, when host Michael Smerconish sought to ask him what I considered to be a legitimate question.

Smerconish, who told Wolff he “tore through” the book, wanted to know if Wolff misrepresented his intentions to the Trump administration when he gained access to the White House and was allowed freedom to talk to many key aides to Donald J. Trump.

I did not hear any inherent bias in Smerconish’s question. Wolff, though, took extreme offense at the question and the questioner. He ended up saying that Smerconish was “doing the White House’s job” by impugning his integrity.

Actually, Smerconish did nothing of the sort. He asked a perfectly appropriate question in his search for complete context in how Wolff was able to report in his book the statements attributed to the likes of former Trump political strategist Stephen Bannon.

So … Wolff finished the interview. Smerconish has become a sort of media Celebrity of the Moment with his questions and the confrontation they produced with the author of a much-discussed book about the president of the United States.

My advice to Wolff: Settle down, dude. And if you’re going to bristle at questions posed by a middle-of-the-roader like Michael Smerconish, you probably ought to stay away from Sean Hannity and his cohorts at Fox News.

Here’s the relevant portion of the interview. It’s worth your time:

Smerconish vs. Wolff

POTUS shows that ‘Fire and Fury’ is accurate

Michael Wolff wrote a book, “Fire and Fury,” that alleges that the president of the United States is clueless about government and the issues of the day — among other things.

Donald John “Stable Genius” Trump Sr. responds that the book is crap; it’s fiction; it’s fake.

Then he convened an open-mic session in the White House to discuss immigration reform — and manages to demonstrate in real time the accuracy of Wolff’s description of Trump’s handling of affairs of state.

The man is clueless! Really! He doesn’t have a clue!

Trump said he’d sign whatever immigration bill the congressional leadership brought to his desk. Then came House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to remind the president that, actually, he cannot make that promise.

Why? Because the GOP base won’t stand for just any old immigration bill, such as something that doesn’t include construction of a wall along our nation’s southern border.

This is deal-making? This is how the “art of the deal” gets done?

Margaret Carlson, certainly no fan of Trump, wrote this in the Daily Beast:

What the White House actually accomplished Tuesday is the opposite of what it set out to do—set the bar low and show a president carrying out presidential tasks competently. If this had been Trump at the first tee, he’d have shanked it 50 yards into the woods. Into the bargain, the White House staff took more mulligans than (Bill) Clinton ever did. Aside from giving in to his Democratic captors, all the king’s men couldn’t keep him from going off script to long nostalgically for the olden days of Jack Abramoff memorial earmarks.

Read the rest of Carlson’s essay here.

Wolff actually stated in “Fire and Fury” that the White House operates in a state of constant confusion, chaos and contradiction.

I believe we have seen a demonstrable example of what Wolff wrote.

Weaken libel laws? No can do, Mr. President

Donald John Trump wants to make it easier to sue publications for libel. The president vowed to change laws he called a “sham” and a “disgrace.”

Really, Mr. President?

He made the vow at the start of a Cabinet meeting in the White House.

Where can I start? I’ll give it a shot.

Trump said journalists cannot write stories that are knowingly false and then smile while they count their money as it pours into their bank account.

True enough, Mr. President. Except that current libel laws ensure that those who publish “knowingly false” stories are punished.

As for whether the federal government can rewrite the law, I need to remind Donald Trump that the U.S. Constitution declares in the First Amendment that there should be a “free press” that is allowed to do its job without government interference.

The founders wanted to ensure that a free press could function without fear of intimidation and, thus, established a high bar for public officials to clear if they decide to sue for libel.

The object of Trump’s tirade clearly is the publication of “Fire and Fury,” the highly controversial book written by journalist Michael Wolff, who reports some mighty scathing remarks from former and current White House staffers who had some disparaging things to say about Donald Trump. The president calls it all fiction; Wolff, of course, stands by his reporting in the book.

National Public Radio reports: And this is hardly the first time Trump has railed against libel laws, which as a matter of practice are made by the states and backed by a U.S. Supreme Court precedent that sets a high bar for public figures wanting to prove libel.

So, what is left for Trump to do? He can nominate Supreme Court justices who are willing to water down the First Amendment. However, he then sets up a proverbial “litmus test” for potential appointees.

Would he dare ask them prior to selecting them whether they would pledge a sort of loyalty to the president by agreeing beforehand to rule favorably on a libel case that comes before the nation’s highest court?

Now that I think about it, I believe he would … to his shame!

Trump’s war on the media keeps getting hotter.

Frightening … and dangerous.