Thursday Reads: The “President” Is An Embarrassing Disgrace

Jacques Joseph Tissot, 1836

Good Afternoon!!

After reading about happiness language in JJ’s post yesterday, I’m wondering if there is an untranslatable word for the feeling I get when the President of the United States behaves so disgracefully on the world stage that he embarrasses himself, his administration and every U.S. citizen with half a brain and a shred of decency.

Last night Trump made a complete fool of himself at a press conference in Warsaw with the authoritarian president of Poland. He followed this with a speech to an audience that had been bused in to applaud him. The Independent:

According to the Associated Press, ruling politicians and pro-government activists plan to bus in groups of people to cheer Mr Trump during his speech.

Some of the measures being taken are straight from the Communist Party playbook, hearkening back to the days of Soviet rule when crowds would be bussed to Warsaw to welcome visiting officials from Moscow.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Law and Justice Party member Dominik Tarcznski said: “It’s going to be huge – absolutely huge. They just love him, the people in Poland – they just really love him.” [….]

According to a survey released last week by the Pew Research Centre, 73 per cent of Poles have a favourable view of the US but just 23 per cent have confidence in Mr Trump, compared with 58 per cent at the end of Barack Obama’s second term in office.

During the brief question-and-answer period with Poland’s President Duda, Trump managed to hit all the high points: he bragged about his election victory; he reiterated his hatred of the media and especially CNN; he attacked former President Obama; he criticized and lied about U.S. intelligence agencies; he suggested that NBC should be supportive of him because he made them “a fortune” with The Apprentice; and he made vague threats against North Korea.

Articles on Trump’s Poland performance:

The Artist’s Mother While Reading The Figaro, by Mary Cassatt, 1878

The Washington Post: In Poland, Trump offers a questionable credential: Polish Americans preferred me to Clinton.

With President Trump, it all comes back to November 2016. So we are not surprised when, during a visit to Poland, he uses his electoral vote tallies as a means of establishing his bona fides.

“As you know,” he said during a news conference Thursday morning in Warsaw, “Polish Americans came out in droves, they voted in the last election, and I was very happy with that result.”

“The Poles have not only greatly enriched this region,” he said a bit later at a public event, “but Polish Americans have also greatly enriched the United States. And I was truly proud to have their support in the 2016 election.”

If this weren’t Trump, we’d probably find this assertion a little weird as a means of making his case to the people of a country he was visiting. But since it is Trump, a different question arises: Is what he said true?

The answer is complicated. You can read about it at the WaPo if you’re so inclined. But why should anyone in Poland care?

The Washington Post: Trump took a question from a reporter he considered hiring and used it to bash the media.

President Trump spoke for about seven minutes during a joint news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw on Thursday before an interpreter opened the session to questions from journalists. Without hesitation, Trump called on the Daily Mail’s David Martosko, who was a candidate to become White House press secretary before withdrawing from consideration two weeks ago.

“I have to ask about this,” Martosko said, after starting on the subject of North Korean nuclear deterrence. “Since you started the whole wrestling thing, what are your thoughts about what has happened since then? I mean CNN went after you and has threatened to expose the identity of a person they said was responsible for it. I’d like your thoughts on that.”

Miss Ann Thropy, by Henry Heath, English illustrator, 1824-1828

“Yeah, I think what CNN did was unfortunate for them,” Trump replied. “As you know, now they have some pretty serious problems. They have been fake news for a long time. They’ve been covering me in a very, uh, very dishonest way.”

“Do you have that also, by the way, Mr. President?” Trump said, turning to Duda.

He continued: “But CNN and others — and others; I mean NBC is equally as bad, despite the fact that I made them a fortune with ‘The Apprentice,’ but they forgot that. But I will say that CNN has really taken it too seriously, and I think they’ve hurt themselves very badly, very, very badly. And what we want to see in the United States is honest, beautiful, free — but honest — press. We want to see fair press. I think it’s a very important thing. We don’t want fake news.

“And by the way, not everybody is fake news. But we don’t want fake news. Bad thing. Very bad for our country.”

Media Matters has the direct quote of Trump bashing CNN and NBC News: At a press conference in Poland, Trump complains that CNN and NBC are not nice enough to him.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think what CNN did was unfortunate for them, as you know now they have some pretty serious problems. They have been fake news for a long time. They have been covering me in a very, very dishonest way. Do you have that also, by the way, Mr. President? With CNN and others, I mean, and others. NBC is equally as bad despite the fact that I made them a fortune with The Apprentice, but they forgot that. But, I will say that CNN has really taken it too seriously and I think they’ve hurt themselves very badly, very, very badly. And, what we want to see in the United States is honest, beautiful, free, but honest press. We want to see fair press. I think it’s a very important thing. We don’t want fake news. And, by the way, not everybody is fake news. But we don’t want fake news. Bad thing. Very bad for our country.

Talking Points Memo: Trump Won’t Pin 2016 Election Hacking On Russia: ‘Nobody Really Knows.’

by Edgar Degas

President Donald Trump on Thursday morning declined to single out Russia for attempting to interfere in the United States’ 2016 election, arguing that it’s not completely clear that Russia was solely responsible for the hacking attempts.

“I think it was Russia. And I think it could have been other people and other countries. It could have been a lot of people interfered,” Trump said at a press conference in Warsaw, Poland, with Polish President Andrzej Duda. “I said it very simply. I think it could very well have been Russia. But I think it could well have been other countries. And I won’t be specific. But I think a lot of people interfere.”

Rather than going after Russia, Trump hit former President Barack Obama for his delayed response to Russian hacking attempts.

“He did nothing about it,” Trump said of Obama. “They say he choked. Well, I don’t think he choked. I think what happened is he thought Hillary was going to win the election, and he said, ‘Let’s not do anything about it.’”

If President Obama did “nothing,” why is Trump so hot to free Russia from the sanctions imposed by Obama and give back the Russian-owned compounds Obama ordered shut down?

The “president” is a moron.

by Edward Lamson Henry, 1874

ShareBlue: “Dear lady.” American journalist’s mic cut after asking Trump about Russia.

Since Trump has largely avoided the media, his joint appearance with the president of Poland offered the rare opportunity for American journalists to ask him important questions about the forthcoming meeting.

NBC’s Hallie Jackson seized the opportunity to ask Trump to definitively agree with the finding of American intelligence agencies that Russia did in fact interfere in the 2016 election.

“You think it was Russia. Your intelligence agencies have been far more definitive. Why won’t you just agree with them and say it was?” Jackson asked.

Trump once again refused to do so. “Nobody really knows,” he said. “Nobody really knows for sure.”

When Jackson tried to ask a follow-up question, the announcer cut her off, saying “Dear lady, two questions, thank you very much. Thank you very much, must go.”

The Atlantic: Trump Weighs a ‘Pretty Severe’ Response to North Korea’s ICBM Test.

President Trump warned of “some pretty severe things” in response to North Korea’s test this week of a long-range missile, raising the rhetoric over Pyongyang’s launch of what it called an intercontinental ballistic missile.

“We’ll see what happens. I don’t like to talk about what we have planned, but I have some pretty severe things that we’re thinking about,” Trump said in Warsaw at a news conference with Andrzej Duda, the Polish president. “They are behaving in a very, very serious manner, and something will have to be done about it.”

Trump’s remarks come a day after Nikki Haley, his ambassador to the UN, warned that while the U.S. preferred a diplomatic approach to resolving the crisis over North Korea, the U.S. “is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies.”

“One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces,” she said. “We will use them, if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction.”

Morning Sun, by Harold Knight, 1874

More stories to check out:

E.J. Dionne at the Washington Post: Trump has made our politics ridiculous.

Jamelle Bouie at Slate: It Will Get Worse. The false promise of Trump’s impeachment will not save America from true disaster.

Cass Sunstein at Bloomberg: A Graceless President, a National Betrayal.

Trudy Rubin at the Philadelphia Inquirer: In Poland, Trump shows ignorance of basic U.S. values.

The New York Times on CNN: The Network Against the Leader of the Free World.

The Daily Beast: Trump Aides Want Kremlin Critic in Putin Meeting.

The Washington Post: Phone taps, power plays and sarcasm: What it’s like to negotiate with Vladimir Putin.

The Washington Post: Trump’s tweets have suddenly grown a lot more dangerous.

Linda Greenhouse on Neil Gorsuch: Trump’s Life-Tenured Judicial Avatar.

The Daily Beast: DOJ Forces Hobby Lobby to Return Artifacts Taken From Iraq.

So . . . what stories are you following today?


32 Comments on “Thursday Reads: The “President” Is An Embarrassing Disgrace”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Today Trump will meet with Angela Merkel and he’s supposedly really nervous about it.

    The Daily Mail: A handshake at last as Merkel welcomes Trump to G20 summit where he will have first face-to-face with Putin

  2. bostonboomer says:

    For Dakinikat: Rick Perry must have failed Econ 101.

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    • dakinikat says:

      oh lord, Say’s law was soundly put down by the great depression… can’t believe he said that.

    • Fannie says:

      Yeah right, I’ve got some wild Thistle growing next to my lawn, pretty purple flowers. I’m pretty sure all my neighbors will want to plant them on their lawns. That’s not going to happen.

  3. dakinikat says:

    the EJ Dionne op ed is really good … oh and this is making me smile big time

  4. dakinikat says:

    a little longer take with the pouting POTUS …

    smooth move by the first lady of poland!!!

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    I have a pile of books I have been wading through in an effort to block off the stupidity and ignorance of this man masquerading as president. I would much rather sink my brain into fiction then to be reminded daily that our country is in the hands of morons.

    Reading has been a comfort to me my entire life. It offered an escape from the chaos of my childhood when I sought to “disappear” from the insanity surrounding me by covering myself in stories that brought me a measure of happiness in circumstances that were outside my control.

    That ability to “escape” still serves me to this day. Otherwise I fervently believe I would be unable to survive what is happening today with Trump and the idiots who surround him testing the limits of our sanity.

    How to explain any of this? How to justify what it all means? How do we survive?

    I cannot offer an answer but will continue to avoid the reality as much as possible by burying myself in a “tale well told” until it is safe – if it ever is – to emerge from the bunker intact.

    What else can I do.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I’ve been binge-ing on silly Korean romantic comedies. They’re actually quite cute. I don’t read as much these days frankly because of eye strain but when I find a page turner it’s hard to stop.

      It is very very very hard to stomach the tRumpalooza on teevee every night.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Pat, I wish I could get into reading again. It would be a wonderful way to disappear. But my brain is not allowing me that escape anymore. Lately all I can do is sleep. I’m amazed at how easily I can shutdown.

      • Enheduanna says:

        JJ you have so much on your mind – I can only imagine.

        I know this sounds weird but it was only recently that I realized how big and persistent a depression I have been in since the election. And I only noticed because it is finally getting a little better. I think it must have been when they announced the Special Counsel and picked Mueller that I began to feel a little better.

        Don’t give up hope – we will get through this.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’ve been reading a lot too, Pat. That has also been my lifelong escape.

    • Riverbird says:

      Reading has always been a good escape for me since I was a little kid. Mystery novels are helping me get through these difficult times.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Me too, and I’ve switched to cozy mysteries at the moment. Anything comforting is what I need right now.

    • Fannie says:

      Pat, I just unloaded boxes of books, I mean lots of boxes. I had a special closet built for my all my genealogy binders, and my special history book collections, and so on. That is what I call a totality of my life, the living, and those in their graves, and all this data, photographic history. This activity consumed me for years, and I slowly let up when Hillary Clinton ran for office. She was such an enormous motivation for me, and all the work, the research, the data. She truly represented that thing we needed change in the educational machinery of this County. I came to think that women had finally found what we wanted, what we needed, and all the important aspects of surviving, became very real. Now I am so engrossed in the task of stopping Trump! He said today do we have the will to survive? And that a battle of survival is taking place for Western Civilization. What he was saying, is the White Man will thrive. Nothing about personal growth, nothing about character first, and all I see his ugly white prejudice being the most important role he will play in history. Just as he bashed our American Institutions, as he bashed our former President, the media, the very values that we hold dear, I am damn near the conclusion that we don’t have a cure for the Trumps of this world. There is no single cure, if anything we are going backwards, and this approach will always keep us “tight fisted”.

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. dakinikat says:

    Do not sell life insurance to this man:

    • Enheduanna says:

      Woot! I like this part so far:

      “This could pose problems for Trump, given Sater’s history of outing former close associates in exchange for immunity.”

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks! I tried to read the FT story, but it was behind the paywall.

    • Fannie says:

      One way or the other we are going to bring Trump down. Keep the Uproar Approach going.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Trump will be free to give away the store to Putin. No handlers in the meeting and no notetaker.

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  9. dakinikat says:

  10. bostonboomer says:

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  11. quixote says:

    I must admit I’ve barely read the text. Sort of a “Reality? what’s that?” defense. But the pictures are marvelous. I keep coming back and looking at them again. Just trying to sink into them.

  12. Earlynerd says:

    Especially that first one. The dog should have a thought bubble: “Relaxing in shade – ur doin it wrong”

  13. Besides being terrified all the time because of that insane, Mob boss called Trump, his disgusting behavior is bad enough, but let’s face it, he is a traitor to our America values of Freedom for the Press, Integrity, Truth, Ethics, Honesty, Dignity, Courage, and Bravery. K. D.