Tag Archives: Meet the Press

‘Alternative facts’: greatest nonsense ever uttered?

Kellyanne Conway, the one-time Donald Trump political strategist and White House senior adviser, will go down in history as the author of arguably the greatest nonsensical statement ever uttered.

I mention this because her former sugar daddy is using that statement as a mantra to defend himself against 78 counts of alleged misdeeds that have been filed against him by multiple grand juries.

Conway once infamously told NBC News “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd that falsehoods muttered by her boss were “alternative facts.” Todd was astonished, answering that anything that is not factually based is a “falsehood.”

Conway stood her slippery ground.

Here we are in the present day and “alternative facts” are coming forth in Trump’s defense against allegations that he sought to overturn the results of the 2020 election by hiring fake electors to cast votes for him in states that went for Joe Biden.

Alternative facts do not exist. They are a figment of a political operative’s phony glossary of verbiage. You have facts and you have non-facts … which are lies if the teller of non-facts knows that he or she is saying is false.

In this new age that now accepts lying as normal, alternative facts have become something of an accepted version of what passes for the truth. It is an amazing thing to witness for those of us who used to deal with reporting and commenting on facts.

I did that for nearly 37 years. I knew a lie when I heard it. Never did I consider them to be an alternative to facts. I guess I’m just old school in that regard.

It’s a new day, indeed. I am going to continue to hammer away at falsehoods when I hear them. I will call them what they likely are: lies told those who know what they are saying is false.

I suppose I ought to thank Kellyanne Conway for providing us with such a graphic and descriptive model for the art form that lying has taken in this bizarre time.


Worst mistake? Hiring someone who follows the law? Wow!

That was an instructive interview that Donald J. Trump agreed to this past weekend … wouldn’t you say?

“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd asked the president to reveal his major regret since taking office. Trump said it was a “personnel” matter, specifically his decision to appoint Jeff Sessions to be attorney general.

My jaw dropped.

Todd asked, “Why?” Trump said it was because Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation into alleged collusion with Russian operatives who attacked our electoral system.

Now, let’s ponder this for a moment.

Trump said his biggest mistake was hiring an AG who followed the law by recusing himself from a probe into an activity in which he — the AG — was involved. There was no way Sessions could investigate himself. So, he followed Justice Department policy by pulling away from the investigation, given that he was a key player in the campaign and in the transition to the presidency.

Sessions followed the law. Meanwhile, Trump appears to have no trouble with other Cabinet officials who were forced to resign because of ethical violations. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price quit because of travel violations; Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke resigned over similar accusations; same thing for Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt.

All that’s OK with Trump. Meanwhile, senior adviser Kellyanne Conway is accused of violating the Hatch Act by using her position as an executive branch official to launch partisan attacks against Trump opponents. That’s OK, too!

The president surrounds himself with scumbags and hangers-on and becomes enraged at a Cabinet officer who actually followed the law.

Good grief!

Jeff Sessions was a lousy choice to be AG for a lot of reasons. His decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, though, was not one of them. He merely revealed an understanding of the law and ethics that Donald Trump does not get. 

Climate change debate is over? Don’t believe it is

Chuck Todd, the moderator of “Meet the Press,” has done something I find troublesome. He said he longer will give air time on his program to those who deny the existence of climate change.

Here is a snippet from a monologue Todd gave at the start of his program this past Sunday: “We’re not going to debate climate change, the existence of it. The Earth is getting hotter. And human activity is a major cause, period. We’re not going to give time to climate deniers. The science is settled, even if political opinion is not. And we’re going to confuse weather with climate.”

Debate hasn’t ended

Where do I begin? I’ll start with the acknowledgment that I happen to agree with Todd, that climate change is settled science and that human beings are a major cause of it.

However, the existence of differences in “political opinion” make the debate a live option.

I am disappointed that Todd has decided that he no longer will allow his TV show to be a forum to debate this critical issue. That a major TV news talk and analysis show would cease that debate bothers me. It shuts out important voices, even if many of us disagree with them; there certainly are other Americans who side with those who question the existence of climate change, let alone its cause.

It troubles me that “Meet the Press” won’t welcome an open debate on what well might be the most compelling issue of our time. Let both sides argue their points. Indeed, there are plenty of “experts” on either side who can make their case.

As Todd himself as admitted, “political opinion” remains deeply divided on the issue of climate change.

What if Trump had lost the election?

Chuck Todd, the moderator/host of “Meet the Press,” posed an interesting set of questions this week. Who would be happy had Donald Trump lost the 2016 presidential election?

He ticked off a series of folks who he said would have preferred a different electoral outcome:

Trump would be happy because he could have built his hotel in Moscow and no one would care; Melania would be smiling because she would be able to live in New York; several former Cabinet officials would be happy because their “reputations would be intact”; congressional Republicans would be happy because they would have gained seats in the midterm election instead of losing the House to the Democrats.

Hillary Clinton? Would she be happy? Probably not.

With a strengthened GOP majority in the House and Senate, a President Clinton would face the prospect of — you guessed it! — congressional hearings and potential impeachment measures taken against her. If you thought Democrats are on a vendetta against the GOP president, you wouldn’t have seen anything had the GOP been able to hound a Democratic president.

But let’s take note quickly of the biggest group of Americans who would be happy had Trump lost. That would be the nearly 66 million Americans who cast their ballots for Hillary.

I was one of them. I, too, would be happy had Trump lost.

If only . . .

Welcome aboard the ‘anti-meddling’ bandwagon

“Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd is a man after my own heart.

He, too, says “meddling” is too mild a term to describe what the Russians did in 2016. That is, he says the Russians didn’t merely “meddle” in our presidential election.

Todd pointed out that “meddle” defines when someone takes an interest in something that is not their concern. Yep, that’s meddling. My American Heritage Dictionary says meddling is “to intrude into others’ affairs.”

Todd wants to know what term to use to describe what the Russians did. Interfere? Attack?

I prefer “attack.” It was a direct assault on our democratic process. They intended, according to U.S. intelligence analysts, to swing the election in Donald John Trump’s favor. Whether they had a tangible impact on the election result, of course, remains a wide-open question.

But I agree with Todd. “Meddling” doesn’t cut it as a term to define what the Russians did.

Wherefore art thou, Kellyanne?

Kellyanne Conway is MIA.

The president’s senior policy adviser, someone known to be “friendly” with the media who has become a fierce advocate for Donald J. Trump’s agenda, whatever it is, has been oddly silent in recent weeks.

Controversy continues to swirl around the president. Conway was known to be front and center, availing herself to interview after interview to any media outlet that came calling.

It was on “Meet the Press,” you might recall, where in 2017 she coined the term “alternative facts” to describe some sort of nonsense that came from then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

That didn’t muzzle her. But lately? Conway is virtually nowhere to seen or heard.

Honestly, I miss seeing her and hearing the, um, “alternative facts” she throws out for public consumption.

Come on, Ms. Conway. Get back in the game.

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.