Monday, July 17, 2017


Hi, I'm back. Thank you, Yastreblyansky, for filling in while I was away.

This morning, Axios's Mike Allen tells us what ten Washington journalists think is the most surprising thing about Donald Trump's first six months as president. A number of the surprises aren't particularly surprising.
NBC's Chuck Todd: "I guess I'm surprised he didn't make more of an effort to develop a personal relationship with Schumer and Pelosi. Culturally, he's more familiar with them and knew the two of them more superficially than any of the GOP leaders. I didn't expect much of a Democratic outreach, but I thought he'd attempt a little wining and dining of those two, simply because he had that earlier connection back when he was a donor."
An obvious fact that I've been pointing out for months continues to elude the insiders: Trump is a Republican. Maybe he wasn't one in 2009 (the last time he gave money to Schumer) or in 2010 (the last time he gave money to any Democrat), but he's been one since Fox & Friends gave him a place to spout off on politics in 2011 and began touting him as a possible president. Republicanism has no principles other than "We hate liberals and are determined to crush them by any means necessary." That appeals to Trump, who loves fighting people. The notion of permanent war is reinforced by Steve Bannon -- who's a Trump favorite again. Which brings us to this non-surprise:
ABC's Jon Karl, who covered Trump in New York: "That he has held only one real press conference, and has never set foot in the White House briefing room. ... And that he has done so few interviews outside of Fox News. ... This is the candidate who loved engaging the press so much that he turned his primary victory nights into press conferences, which we've never seen before."
Has Karl forgotten already? Trump held a formal press conference on July 27, 2016, and didn't hold another for the rest of the campaign -- more than 100 days. Trump didn't have another one until January. Please note that Steve Bannon, who has declared war on the mainstream media, came on board as campaign CEO a couple of weeks after Trump stopped holding press conferences.

And there's this:
Maggie Haberman: "I'm most surprised he hasn't set foot in NYC since mid-January."
I hadn't thought about that -- but I can't say it surprises me. Trump grew up in Queens, but he seems to have absolutely no affection for it. He's lived for years in Manhattan, but can it honestly be said that he likes it? It was a place he wanted to conquer so he'd be regarded as a Master of the Universe; he built a gold-plated tower and told himself that he was the king of this particular hill. But now he's president -- he no longer needs the validation he's always believed Trump Tower gave him.

Also, while Trump likes to fight, he doesn't like to fight face-to-face. The man who's never had the nerve to look the president of Mexico in the eye and demand money for the wall doesn't want to spend time in a city where even he has the acknowledge that the voters hate him. He'd rather hang out in the gated communities of Mar-A-Lago and Bedminster, where he's worshipped as a god.

But one of Allen's interviewees got it right:
Noah Shachtman, executive editor of The Daily Beast: "I guess I'm most surprised that people thought a 70-year-old, self-employed man would remake himself once he got to Washington."

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