Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Open Book

It has become famous now, the video in which

Trump, during an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that aired Sunday, was in the middle of telling the journalist about releasing a financial statement when Mulvaney sounded off a cough that can be heard during the President's remark.

"Let's do that over. He's coughing in the middle of my answer," Trump said, pointing toward Mulvaney.

"Yeah. OK," Stephanopoulos said.

"I don't like that, you know, I don't like that," Trump said, as Stephanopoulos notes that the cough is from "your chief of staff."

"If you're going to cough, please leave the room. You just can't, you just can't cough," Trump said, shaking his head. "Boy, oh boy."

The camera then swings around as the crew works to rearrange and restart the shot. A crew member tells the President that "we just changed the angle."

Trump then briefly looks directly into the camera before finishing his answer....

CNN legal analyst Gloria Borger had an interesting take, remarking

this is a reality TV star who became president of the United States....he's used to taping hours and hours of interviews. He did 30 with George Stephanopoulos and having it cut down. So he said, stop. What he didn't expect was for ABC to use that....

Suppose, however, that Borger inadvertently flipped the script (pun intended). Consider the possibility that, as a former (Un)Reality TV star Donald Trump knew exactly what he was doing and how it would be perceived. If so, he would be showing a bad side of himself- a rude, intolerant germaphobe who enjoys humiliating subordinates- and was only too happy to do so.

He might then let it all hang out, be transparently reprehensible, on a different topic. He might even come up with

.....news is that at the end of 6 years, after America has been made GREAT again and I leave the beautiful White House (do you think the people would demand that I stay longer? KEEP AMERICA GREAT), both of these horrible papers will quickly go out of business & be forever gone!

Do not avert your eyes or be distracted by the question "do you think the people would demand that I stay longer?" It's entirely rhetorical. Many supporters of his would demand, unprompted, that he stay longer. And strengthened by eight years in the White House- and the disappearance of America's two greatest newspapers- President Trump's bullhorn would be the loudest and strongest in the nation.

The bully pulpit would be maximized and utilized as never before.  And why not? He will have earned it, after eighteen months of (initial) campaigning and eight years of ruling in which he will have made it clear who- no, what- he is.

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