With the G7 conference now over, it turns out that Trump is the ONLY world leader there who did NOT hold a press conference afterwards with his country's reporters. Beyond the obvious and very basic lack of transparency problem this causes for not keeping the American public informed, it also breaks a long American tradition for using the G7 to show openness and how Freedom of the Press works as an example to the world.
I believe that this is officially called Making America Cowardly Again...
Keeping this theme of timidity going, when White House officials did deign to talk to the press, they would only do so off-camera and instead of the president sent out National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and economic adviser Gary Cohn -- neither of who would even address reports about Senior Adviser Jared Kushner trying to set up clandestine back-channel communications with the Russians using Russian facilities.
Trump is already, of course, touting how great and successful his G7 conference was. Probably the greatest ever, for all I know. So great. The most beautiful G7 of all time, much better than G6, a much bigger number. The thing is, though, when a president is too scared to face reporters after such a supposedly great and successful conference, it's a pretty fair guess that the conference wasn't quite as great and successful as he wants other to believe.
Furthermore, rather than facing the press in person. he instead raced to the protection of his Tweet Room and took yet another attempt to try and trash the press with a tweet about the Montana congressional race, writing -- "Does anyone notice how the Montana Congressional race was such a big deal to Dems & Fake News until the Republican won? V was poorly covered."
Never mind that I don't know for certain what the "V" means in the last sentence, it's adorable to see him touting a candidate who attacked a reporter and had police charges filed against him. And adorable as well to see him touting a race where Republicans dropped about 14 points in the outcome. And adorable how he's unable to grasp the really basic concept that the public cares about a race when it's being run -- any race, political or on foot -- but once it's over they generally move on. Almost all the time. And as-always adorable to see him try to lash out again at "Fake" news, even when it's not remotely clear what "fake" thing he's referring to here.
And now that he's returned home and apparently got his "tweet privileges" back, there he is, tweeting up a storm again and doing his best to tray and trash the press even more, tweeting -- "The Fake News Media works hard at disparaging & demeaning my use of social media because they don't want America to hear the real story!"
Because, of course, the Real Story can always be told in full in 140 characters or less. No matter how incomprehensible.
On the one hand, I do find all this galling how damaging it is to the country for the president to be on a clear mission of trying to undermine the confidence and trust of people in a free press, which is precisely what despots do -- as if Trump actually cared whether he damaged the country or not. On the other hand, every time he goes SO overboard attacking the press and crying woeful tears of FAKE and hiding from the press it speaks volumes about how concerned he is with all the investigative reporting that the press is doing on the growing range of his administration's various inappropriate involvements with Russia.
It's worth noting that trying desperately to trash the press is not going to stop them. And with a 37% approval rating for Trump, it seems like the public has already reached the conclusion that the news is pretty darn true.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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