Update: Trump got the air time for free, and used it to raise money for his 2020 campaign. How is this legal? Read “Trump’s Oval Office Speech Was a Dud. But It Could Be a Fundraising Success.”
No matter what the reasons were for him deciding to make the speech, the fact that email solicitations for contributions went out before and after the speech (see below) seems to be a violation of some kind of rule, or it should be. At the very least he should be required to reimburse all the networks for what was an eight minute political fund raising commercial would cost. This wouldn’t compensate those who watched the speech expecting it to be newsworthy.
Had the networks known this in advance I doubt they would have provide the free slot in their primetime schedules. I doubt that Chris Hayes would have stayed over from his show to appear on The Rachel Maddow show to talk about how the speech was a boring rehasing of old talking points.
The title of Frank Bruni’s NY Times OpEd sums up why Trump needed his prime time binky:
The Wall Is a Symbol of Donald Trump’s Neediness – Seldom has a president’s ego required so much shoring up. There’s not enough concrete in creation for that job.
“We got you a big one,” he said. “I got you a big one. I got you a big one.” I. Big. That’s the Trump credo in two words.
And that, at this point, is the point of the wall. I. Big. “It’s like a manhood thing for him,” Pelosi reportedly told House Democrats in a closed meeting last month. “As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”
“”Total f*****g chaos’: Those around Trump reportedly think the White House is panicking and has no strategy to end the shutdown” is the title of an Alternet story by Cody Fenwick. He writes:
One Republican who is close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is key to Trump’s shutdown tactic, reportedly told Sherman that the president’s handling of the situation has been “total f—ing chaos.”
The F-word in its various forms is being applied to Trump so frequently it has lost any power to shock in the public discourse. Even Rashida Tlaib’s spontaneous utterance about impeaching the mother…. only raised a few eyebrows and then only for a short time.
Writing or saying the f-word as an adjective which modifies a noun associated with Trump means “raised to the Nth degree.”
As Cody Fenwick noted, in Gabriel Sherman’s Vanity Fair article “There is no endgame. Trump has turned the wall into his Alamo:”
Trump’s aides fear he has given himself no way out. “The president put himself in a box,” the former official in touch with the White House told me. “The problem is there’s no endgame. Right now the White House is at a seven on the panic scale. If this thing goes on past the State of the Union they’re going to be at an 11.”
Seven on a panic scale of 10 is f*****n chaos bad. This is a mere three panic points from 10. This is when the doctor considers a Valium IV instead of a mere pill. Sherman adds another point, over the scale, bringing it to 11 which is a f*****n nuclear meltdown.
Now we have Trump hijacking eight minutes of prime time television on all the networks.
It was a f****n waste of time. Fans of “Ellen’s Game of Games” (NBC), “Black-ish” (ABC), “FBI” (CBS) and “The Gifted” (Fox) had to wait while Trump droned on and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer gave a mercifully short rebuttal without saying anything they haven’t said before. “This president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration,” said Schumer.
Then Rachel Maddow came on MSNBC probably thinking pretty much the same thing about how she was going to fill her hour since Trump didn’t say a f****n thing worth discussing. Chris Hayes sticking around from his earlier hour and Nicole Wallace no doubt there in case Trump actually made some news might as well have been chatting about Rachel’s newly found fondness for fishing in the Berkshires.
“Why did this just happen?” asked Rachel.
It happened because Trump is a f*****n grandstanding idiot who probably was intending to declare a national emergency and was talked about of it by the White House counsel and others. The White House is in f****n chaos at a level seven on the panic scale, which means everyone around Trump is running around like chickens running from a farmer with a cleaver, and Trump’s panic level despite his denial has to be escalating as well.
So what does he do? He decides to flex his presidential muscles and force his imperial self onto the airwaves, cause consternation at the networks whether or not to air a political address, and force the Democrats to demand equal time.
What did Americans who bothered to actually watch saw was three boring speeches read with less passion than SIRI answering a question or your navigation system telling you to turn left in 500 feet.
By the time Late Night with Lawrence O’Donnell was on Steve Schmidt was agreeing with me saying that the worst thing about the speech was that it was boring and that with it, like Fonzi, he had “jumped the shark.”
It was also revealed that the speech was used to raise funds for the 2020 campaign. This is the email that went out after the speech:
Two email solicitation letters were sent out, one before and one after the speech. Here is more of the text from one of the emails: “Just look at the facts. Drugs are poisoning our loved ones. MS-13 gang members are threatening our safety. Illegal criminals are flooding our nation. I want to make one thing clear to Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi: Your safety is not a political game or a negotiation tactic!”
Trump was elected president because he was a f****n xeonophobic racist but also becasue he was only boring when he stayed on script reading off a teleprompter. Tonight he was f****n boring. I expect that when the reviews come in this will bother him more than anything else.
Afterthought: Since Chris Wallace on Fox News shredded a poleaxed Sarah Sander’s lie about thousands of terrorists captured at the border, Trump went on to to play the Willie Horton card.
The truth: The crime rate for undocumented immigrants is significantly lower than it is for those here legally. (See research study “An Examination of First and Second Generation Immigrant Offending Trajectories.”)
Not that this stopped Trump from trying to play the Willie Horton card and to demonize those here illegally as vicious violent criminals, murderers and rapists.
If all he could come up with was these four actual examples my hunch is that these are the only four actual murders and rapes he could document. My comments are in italics.
1) A young (not that the age matters) police officer in California was savagely murdered in cold blood by an illegal alien who just came across the border. The life of an American hero (just because he was a police officer he’s automatically a hero?) was stolen by someone who had no right to be in our country.
2) An Air Force veteran was raped, murdered and beaten to death with a hammer by an illegal alien with a long criminal history.
3) In Georgia, an illegal alien was recently charged with murder for killing, beheading and dismembering his neighbor.
4) In Maryland, MS-13 gang members who arrived in the United States as unaccompanied minors were arrested and charged last year after viciously stabbing and beating a 16-year-old girl.
Trump said “Over the last several years, I’ve met with dozens of families whose loved ones were stolen by illegal immigration. I’ve held the hands of the weeping mothers and embraced the grief-stricken fathers. So sad. So terrible.”
(“Dozens of families,” that means at least 36. Who are they?)
He went on to say “I will never forget the pain in their eyes, the tremble in their voices and the sadness gripping their souls. How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job? To those who refuse to compromise in the name of border security, I would ask: Imagine if it was your child, your husband or your wife whose life was so cruelly shattered and totally broken?
(Give me a break! He couldn’t even read these scripted lines with a semblance of genuine empathy.)
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