The Trump regime's delegitimization of the free press continues, with Trump announcing on Twitter today that the month-long shutdown gap since the last White House press briefing will continue for the foreseeable future.
President Trump said Tuesday that he directed White House press secretary Sarah Sanders “not to bother” with press briefings because he believes that reporters are rude to her and that most members of the media will not cover the administration fairly.
Press briefings, which used to be a near-daily occurrence, have become a rarity in the Trump White House. Sanders has not provided an on-camera briefing for more than a month, including the duration of the partial government shutdown.
“The reason Sarah Sanders does not go to the ‘podium’ much anymore is that the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately, in particular certain members of the press,” Trump said on Twitter. “I told her not to bother, the word gets out anyway! Most will never cover us fairly & hence, the term, Fake News!”
Trump’s tweet came shortly after White House spokesman Hogan Gidley was asked about the subject during a live interview on Fox News.
Gidley said the briefings had not permanently ended.
“It’s not that they ever stopped, but sometimes we need to come to the podium to communicate things and sometimes we don’t,” Gidley said, adding that Sanders would “come back when she finds a reason to do that.”
Gidley cited Trump’s frequent public appearances as one reason the briefings have diminished in number.
Sanders last appeared at the White House podium Dec. 18.
She and other White House officials have spoken to reporters in more-informal gaggles on the White House driveway several times since then. Most often, those sessions occur after television interviews conducted from the White House grounds.
Don't expect any more White House press briefings, frankly. You will know what this regime tells you that you can know, when the regime chooses to tell you. Most certainly, don't expect the press to ever be able to ask questions of Sanders or Trump in the future.
I expect that Trump will threaten to close the White House press room before too long. It will become the new normal, a one-sided affair, and I bet we'll see pundits weighing in with brilliant observations about how in the internet age, we certainly no long need press briefings and questions from journalists.
Everything will now be Twitter bleating, online gaslighting, and endless rallies.
President Donald Trump is preparing for two different State of the Union speeches – one a more traditional address delivered to Congress in the House chamber or some other location in D.C., the other prepared for a political rally at a location outside of Washington, D.C. that has yet to be determined, according to multiple sources familiar with the planning.
Sources told ABC News that the president was previously planning two separate versions of the State of the Union – one version if the government was still shut down and another if the government was open.
However, now the planning has evolved, assuming the government shutdown could drag on past next Tuesday – the expected delivery date of the address. If the president decides to deliver a speech in rally form, it would mark the first rally style event the president has attended since the partial shutdown began.
Count on this happening anyway regardless of the status of the shutdown. The new normal of a permanently crippled federal government, one that only works for the rich and for corporations, is what we are trapped in until we get rid of not just Trump from the White House, but from the entire GOP.
And first to go needs to be Mitch McConnell next year. Martin Longman:
Most reporting on McConnell’s thinking portrays him as worried primarily about himself. He’s up for election again in 2020 and he’s very unpopular in his home state of Kentucky. Over the last several years, he has usually ranked as the least popular senator in the country with his own constituents. In the latest Morning Consult poll, only Jeff Flake and Claire McCaskill had higher disapproval numbers, and neither of them survived the last election cycle. The thinking goes, then, that McConnell simply cannot afford to buck the president.
There’s definitely some truth to that, but it’s also important to think about McConnell’s concern for the Republican Party’s majority in the Senate. He does not want hurt the reelection prospects of his colleagues because it could send him back into the minority. So, he has very little interest in passing a bill that Trump will criticize and veto. He suffered that fate once already before Christmas, and he’s not keen to experience a repeat. It’s also key to McConnell’s current thinking that Trump had signed off on the deal last December before suddenly reversing himself once he received criticism from people like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. He doesn’t have any reason to take Trump’s word that he’ll stick with any deal that is negotiated.
The best way of looking at this is that McConnell is angry with the president. He was double-crossed. He wasn’t consulted. He doesn’t believe in the wall. He doesn’t believe that Trump’s strategy will work. He doesn’t want to take ownership of a deal that the president will characterize as insufficient or weak. He doesn’t even want to appear with the president in front of the cameras.
I’d say his strategy is basically to let Trump keep banging his head against his wall until he breaks. And when Trump admits he can’t get what he wants, only then will McConnell jump into the fray to help him limit the damage.
By taking the position that he won’t take up a bill the president won’t sign, McConnell is giving Trump a chance to break Nancy Pelosi’s will and ability to keep her caucus united, and that’s as much as he’s willing to give the president at this time.
There may come a time before too long that McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy need to seriously consider a veto override. The precipitating event may be that something really critical breaks due to lack of funding, like airport security or the courts. It could be that public opinion turns very sharply against them and constituent pressure becomes unbearable. It could be that something breaks in the Russia investigation, either coming from Mueller or from the congressional hearings that are about to gear up in the House. If Trump’s credibility drops suddenly and drastically, the congressional Republicans may conclude that they can’t allow a shutdown to continue on top of everything else.
McConnell wants to avoid that outcome, but he can’t continue his wait-and-see strategy forever if nothing changes. He might want Pelosi and the Democrats to break, but I bet he’d be just as satisfied to see the president capitulate. To him, Trump is like a child who won’t listen to adult advice and can only learn from the personal and painful experience of predictable failure.
Anyone waiting on Mitch McConnell to take a leadership role to end the shutdown is likely to be disappointed. He’s got his candy and his hundred-dollar bills, and he’s just going to wait this one out as long as he can.
Something will break, though. And I don’t think it will be Nancy Pelosi.
Without Mitch, Trump wouldn't have been able to do a tenth as much damage to the country.