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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trump lurches to next disaster in Rome; Christie slams critics, claims a great job

Cartoonist John Cole of The Times-Tribune in Scranton, Pa., lampoons President Trump for sharing classified Israeli intelligence on ISIS in an Oval Office meeting with Russian officials. Speaking to reporters on Monday, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nearby, Trump claimed he "never mentioned the word ... Israel." Netanyahu had a stricken look on his face.



In February, President Trump abandoned the bedrock principle that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will come from establishing two states for two people, but still wanted to reach "the ultimate deal."

This week, he failed miserably to advance the peace process one bit despite separate meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

"I've heard it's one of the toughest deals in the world," Trump said of Mideast peace before leaving Israel for Rome. "But I'm sure we're going to get there eventually."

What a miserable failure. The liar, con man and tax dodger -- who rode a wave of racism and misogyny to victory on Nov. 8 -- proves once again he's all talk, no action.

Still, USA Today's dated report in The Record of Woodland Park raves Trump "became the first sitting president to pray at Jerusalem's Western Wall on Monday" (1A).

Big deal.

In February, President Trump destroyed the Palestinians' hope for their own state. In this AFP photo from Trump's meeting today with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president grins and bears it. Trump looks constipated.

Christie bluster

The Record's front-page report on Governor Christie's 90-minute press conference on Monday is quite a contrast to the one Salvador Rizzo filed for Observer.com.

Bob Jordan of Gannett's Asbury Park Press focused on the so-called controversy over the bond issue Christie authorized for the $300 million renovation of the State House (1A).

Rizzo, who worked at The Record until March, had a different take:
"For old times' sake, Christie gave one last stem-winder news conference, going on and on about this and that for nearly an hour and a half. He bantered. He snapped at reporters. He critiqued all his predecessors over the last four decades and all the candidates hoping to succeed him" in January.
"He dared the assembled press to write nice things about New Jersey's recent upsurge in jobs.... He disclosed his thoughts about President Trump's Twitter account. I'm trying to encourage him [Trump] not to tweet."
Christie also said he would have never hired Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, who was fired for lying about his ties to Russia during the campaign, or even let him the White House.

In response, Preet Bharara, another former U.S. attorney, tweeted in a reference to the Bridgegate trial convictions of two of Christie's former aides:

"Yes, we all know that Chris Christie is great at spotting & screening out problematic top staff."

'Crappy column'

Rizzo also reported Christie slammed his news media critics, including political Columnist Charles Stile, Rizzo's former colleague at The Record:

Christie took questions from Stile "without cutting him off for once or complaining about his crappy column."

That surprised me, because Stile was Christie's chief booster at The Record for all of his first term (2010-14), and stuck with him way up until the shocking revelations about the GOP thug at last year's Bridgegate trial.

In fact, Stile's column on Monday's front page seemed to echo Christie as the reporter tried to destroy the candidacy of Jim Johnson of Montclair, one of the Democrats seeking to succeed the governor.

The headline was damning:

liberal vision

Of course, the only ones who would have to sacrifice anything would be millionaires, whom Christie has shielded from a tax surcharge since 2010.

Stile also labeled Johnson's proposals, including a minimum wage of $15, "utopia."

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