Tuesday, January 08, 2019


Last night, about 24 hours before President Trump's terrible speech, Politico's Eliana Johnson reported this:
The president has expressed increasing frustration with his press shop that he doesn't see more of his defenders on television — a recurrent issue about which Trump has brooded in the past. Some of that frustration has focused on White House communications director Bill Shine, a former Fox News executive who joined the White House in July on the recommendation of his friend and longtime Fox News host Sean Hannity. Hannity touted Shine to Trump as an antidote to the torrent of negative media coverage the president receives, according to two sources familiar with the conversations, and suffered from an outsized expectation on the part of the president that Shine could stem the tide.

“He thought that as part of bringing Bill Shine in that he would get better coverage — that he would be able to solve some of these dilemmas,” said a Republican close to the White House. “Bill is working hard, but he is not a miracle worker. He’s been working to solve some of that but it’s a constant battle.”
Tonight, Peter Baker of The New York Times reported this:
In taking his argument to a national television audience to be followed by a trip to the Texas border on Thursday, Mr. Trump hoped to reframe the debate....

Yet privately, Mr. Trump dismissed his own new strategy as pointless. In an off-the-record lunch with television anchors hours before the address, he made clear in blunt terms that he was not inclined to give the speech or go to Texas, but was talked into it by advisers, according to two people briefed on the discussion who asked not to be identified sharing details.

“It’s not going to change a damn thing, but I’m still doing it,” Mr. Trump said of the trip to the border, according to one of the people, who was in the room. The border trip was just a photo opportunity, he said. “But,” he added, gesturing at his communications aides, Bill Shine, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway, “these people behind you say it’s worth it.”
So why did Trump decide to go through with the speech and the border visit if he thinks it's all futile? I think it's because he knows he's losing -- and, by definition, that can't be his fault. He's the best dealmaker! He's the smartest! Everybody loves him! There's no way he's losing because of something he did!

So he chose to follow recommendations he thinks will fail so he can blame the entire debacle on his press shop. He was already blaming Bill Shine for not rounding up enough loyal surrogates; now those surrogates are responsible for the events of this week, which will mean, in Trump's mind, that they're responsible for the whole debacle, even though Trump didn't have to take their advice and do the speech and the border visit. That was his choice.

Trump cannot fail -- he can only be failed, according to Trump. And now he's established that Shine et al. have failed him. They gave bad advice and he took it, knowing it was bad advice, just so he could blame them.

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