Tuesday, June 13, 2017

More bizarro Trump: Cabinet meets to 'Hail, Caesar,' AG testifies, a new Big Lie

Cartoonist David Fitzsimmons of the Arizona Daily Star in Tuscon lampoons shocking testimony about Attorney General Jeff Sessions from fired FBI Director James Comey. Sessions is scheduled to testify today before the same Senate intelligence panel.
Comey testified President Trump asked Sessions, son-in-law Jared Kushner and others to leave them alone in the Oval Office. Here is a twist on that testimony from Lebanese-Swiss cartoonist Patrick Chappatte.

-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

UPDATE: Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III vehemently denied colluding with the Russians on the election; President Trump says he has no plans to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller; and Trump changed his tune on the GOP health care plan, calling it "mean" and "stingy."

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

It was a "Hail, Caesar" moment unlike any Cabinet meeting for any other president in the history of the United States.

But as President Trump completes his fifth, illegitimate month in office, his behavior is becoming more bizarre every day, as are his demands for loyalty and praise.

The Washington Post sent out a report on Trump's first full Cabinet meeting on Monday under this headline:

"Praise for the chief: Trump's Cabinet 
 tells him it is an 'honor'
and 'blessing' to serve" 

The Post quoted Trump as claiming he has surpassed most of the greatest U.S. presidents -- one of the biggest lies he's told so far:
“'Never has there been a president, with few exceptions – case of FDR, he had a major depression to handle – who has passed more legislation and who has done more things than what we’ve done,' Trump, referring to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, said during the meeting at the White House."
CNN called the Cabinet meeting "super weird." And MSNBC described the meeting as "surprisingly creepy."

The New York Times reported:

"With his agenda faltering, and public attention focused on accusations from former F.B.I. director and public testimony coming from his attorney general, Mr. Trump held what our reporter described as a 'highly unusual' cabinet meeting.
"He asserted that the U.S. was 'seeing amazing results' from his leadership and then basked in adulatory statements from each of the senior advisers at the table."

Trump acted like some Caesar at the Cabinet meeting, but in Manhattan, sponsors have pulled out of the Public Theater's production of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," which depicts the assassination of a Trump-like ruler, The Times said.

Local coverage

Today, I couldn't find a word about the bizarre nature of Monday's Cabinet meeting anywhere in my local daily newspaper, The Record of Woodland Park.

After Sunday's front page ignored the growing conflict between Trump and fired FBI Director James Comey, The Record was all over the story on Monday's front page.

Columnist Mike Kelly wrote a third column from Allendale, where Comey and his wife were visiting his father.

Kelly always makes sure to mention that Comey's 83-year-old father attends Mass, though I'm not sure what significance that has for the veracity of his son's testimony about Trump.

Last week, Comey testified the president asked for for his "loyalty," and directed him to drop the investigation of fired national security adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian officials during the presidential campaign.

Comey also said he wrote memos after each interaction with the president before and after the Jan. 20 inauguration, because he feared Trump would lie about what took place.

The next day, Trump called Comey a liar, and offered to testify under oath.

On Sunday at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, protesters staged a "Summer of Resistance" in an attempt to disrupt a fund-raiser for Rep. Tom MacArthur, a New Jersey Republican who has been condemned for a draconian proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act.

But Trump ignored the protest to tweet more critical comments about Comey, Kelly reported (1A). 

Why not drive?

Today, a story on Page 3A in The Record reports Governor Christie canceled his keynote address on opioid drug abuse at Harvard Medical School on Monday afternoon, because of "delays and cancellations of flights to Boston."

The story doesn't explain why a state trooper couldn't have driven Christie to Boston in his state-owned SUV.

Christie was tapped by Trump this year to lead a national opioid addiction commission.

How hot was it?

None of the 10 reporters who worked on a story about broken heat records on Monday thought to interview cooks in restaurant kitchens or mail carriers and other people who had to work outside in 96-degree temperatures (today's Local front).

And that goes for the editors who sit on their asses in air-conditioned offices, and order those reporters around.