POTUS in a pout
Making the rounds over the last 24 hours, the new piece by Eli Stokols at the Los Angeles Times, Trump, stung by midterms and nervous about Mueller, retreats from traditional presidential duties (96,000+ shares). One sentence that’s getting everyone’s attention: “Trump has retreated into a cocoon of bitterness and resentment, according to multiple administration sources.” Of course, “who among us,” as Haley Byrd tweets.
Sara Libby says, “I know this conceit is overused, but imagine, IMAGINE if literally any other president just straight up skipped Veteran's Day. It's the easiest, least controversial, biggest no-brainer a president could participate in.” But essentially, this is “POTUS in a pout, apparently,” as Barb Shelly puts it. And Brian Fung highlights the fact that “George W. Bush’s NATO ambassador is prodding Trump for being low-energy.”
If that’s not enough, Carol Leonnig says, “You are going to want to read this,” referring to Five days of fury: Inside Trump’s Paris temper, election woes and staff upheaval (20,000+ shares), by Josh Dawsey and Philip Rucker of The Washington Post. Here’s a sneak peek, from Dan Zak: “Words in this story, to describe the the president of the United States, his staff & their circumstances: foul, ornery, shaken, splenetic, vanity, outburst, fury, angry, resentful, erupted, irritation, impatience, yelled, argued, berated, snapped, tumult.”
FLOTUS in a pout
The Washington Post piece mentions Melania Trump’s “irritation and impatience with some of the staff,” and that later became a lot more public. After the First Lady’s office released a statement calling for the firing of deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel, CNN’s Jeremy Diamond and Kate Bennett are reporting that Trump has told people that Ricardel will be fired (60,000+ shares). And “Anybody rushing to pin Melania's ousting of Bolton's deputy as some sort of heroic national security coup might want to hold their horses and read the article,” advises Ben Collins.
Ah memories. Hey, Remember the caravan? After vote, focus on migrants fades, as Jonathan Lemire and Catherine Lucey of The Associated Press report. They point out that Fox News spent more than 33 hours discussing the caravan through Election Day. The intensity of coverage changed right after the election.
Maggie Haberman and Mark Landler of The New York Times noticed that someone else has shifted focus as well. Their story finds that A Week After the Midterms, Trump Seems to Forget the Caravan. Tom Philpott wonders, “How Is this not a huge scandal? The president sends a huge military contingent to the border solely for electoral theater. And it’s still there!” And Paul Krugman thinks, “It would be nice to see some soul-searching from media orgs that played along with this attempted October surprise.”
So, “If you read one piece about the migrant caravan, let it be this poetic photo essay by @DriverWrites. We need more humanity in the way we cover the news,” says Isabella Gomez. In that photo essay for Longreads, Alice Driver travels into the heart of the caravan and takes a look at what happens When You Carry All That You Love With You. Tweets Lauren Peace, “Thank you, @DriverWrites for this powerful work. This is poetry and journalism joining together in the most beautiful, compassionate, heart-wrenching dance.”
As Senators Seek Vote on Bill That Would Protect Mueller, which Natalie Andrews reports for The Wall Street Journal, Trump is quietly meddling in the McCarthy-Jordan leadership brawl, according to the new report by Rachael Bade, John Bresnahan and Kyle Cheney at POLITICO. Tweets Cheney, “NEW: Trump has nudged Kevin McCarthy to make JIM JORDAN the top Republican in the Judiciary Committee — which would put Trump’s fiercest loyalist in position to defend him against investigations and impeachment.”
Meanwhile, Mueller is seeking more details on Nigel Farage, according to what Jerome Corsi told Jon Swaine and Stephanie Kirchgaessner of The Guardian. As Carole Cadwalladr says (sings?), “WHOAH! Is Mueller making plans for Nigel? Fascinating new @guardian scoop from @jonswaine & @skirchy.”
As for what the acting attorney general has been up to in the past few years, AP’s Ryan Foley and David Pitt have discovered that Matt Whitaker abandoned a taxpayer-funded project in Iowa in 2016. Tweets Foley, “As acting AG Matt Whitaker returns to Des Moines, @ap examines the city-subsidized housing project that he failed to deliver and abandoned in 2016. Whitaker was pursued by unpaid contractors and a bank that he owed nearly $700,000.” Hmmm…“Contractors complaining they were not paid sounds vaguely familiar,” says Michael Del Moro.
Living in interesting times
Orin Kerr shares, “I am proud to be a founding member of a new group of conservative lawyers, Checks and Balances. @adamliptak tells our story in today's @nytimes.” That’s Conservative Lawyers Say Trump Has Undermined the Rule of Law, by Adam Liptak of The New York Times. Tweets Natasha Bertrand, “Wow. One day before the Federalist Society’s annual convention, longtime member George Conway (@gtconway3d) has announced the formation of Checks and Balances.” Yes, “TFW your highest-profile aide is married to the leader of the opposition,” tweets Joel Mathis. Adam Serwer thinks, “the existence of this group is a very good thing.” At the very least, “Well this year’s @FedSoc meeting just got more interesting,” Daniel Drezner points out.
New from Sarah McGregor of Bloomberg, U.S. Budget Gap Jumps to $100 Billion at Start of Fiscal Year (59,000+ shares) — brought to you by “the party of fiscal austerity, folks,” as Brooke Jarvis tweets. If you’d like to see the version with all the zeros, Kyle Griffin lays it out for you: “The U.S. recorded a $100,500,000,000 budget deficit in October, an increase of about 60% from a year earlier, as spending grew twice as fast as revenue.”
CNN’s Brian Stelter has the details on CNN’s lawsuit against President Trump and top White House aides for barring Jim Acosta (597,000+ shares). On Twitter, he notes, “The lawsuit is being filed in U.S. District Court in DC today. Both CNN and Acosta are plaintiffs. There are six defendants: Trump, John Kelly, Sarah Sanders, Bill Shine, the head of the Secret Service, and the officer who took Acosta's hard pass away.” Read CNN’s press release about the suit and access the full complaint here.
Nisha Chittal says, “This is such an important piece by @fivefifths on how POC journalists spend so much of their free time trying to bring up other POC ( + women) in media.” That’s the new piece by Vann R. Newkirk II for the Columbia Journalism Review, which looks at Diversity as a Second Job. “We. Have. To. #DoBetter,” tweets Tal Kopan.
Here’s one outlet that is trying to do better. As Jim Waterson of The Guardian reports, after the Financial Times discovered that only 21% of people quoted in the FT were women, it developed a bot to automatically warn its journalists if their articles quote too many men. “Excellent idea, and something all of us in the media ought always to have in mind,” says Claire Phipps. Adds Andrew Crane, “Good idea. And how about more female reporters while you’re about it.”
Dion Nissenbaum links to “Some good news: Turkey throws out terror conviction against former @WSJ reporter @aylushka_a amid efforts by Turkey to improve its image in the West. Ayla was facing two years in prison.” Thomas Grove of The Wall Street Journal has that story, Turkish Case Against Former Wall Street Journal Reporter Is Thrown Out.
Hate on the rise
“This @phscoop story is really frightening. A white nationalist with guns to his name was living in the historically black neighborhood of Bloomingdale D.C. Family called the cops after he said the victims deserved it after Pittsburgh shootings.” Perry Stein links to the story by Spencer Hsu and Peter Hermann of The Washington Post, D.C. man arrested on gun charge after relatives alert police to his alleged white nationalist outbursts. Will Sommer notes, “There seems to be more to come on this DC case. The suspect’s brother, who was also on Gab with a Daily Stormer-related username, killed himself shortly after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.”
Meanwhile, The Post’s Devlin Barrett reports that Hate crimes rose 17 percent last year, according to new FBI data (20,000+ shares). As Lawrence Mower says, “There's something happening in this country, and it ain't good.”
Will this happen to us?
Also in the category of “ain’t good,” The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us, George Monbiot writes in a new column for The Guardian. On Twitter, he asks, “Why do civilisations collapse? Not because they lack technology or expertise, but because the power of oligarchs blocks the necessary solutions. Will this happen to us?” Tweets Katherine Martinko, “Once again, @GeorgeMonbiot leaves me riveted in my seat.”
The Bachelor is a committed polygamist
If you want to know How Amazon Picked HQ2 and Jilted 238 Cities, be sure to read Laura Stevens and Shayndi Raice at The Wall Street Journal. As Matthew Rose tweets, “It turns out Amazon knew for months one city couldn't satisfy its requirements, and yet kept making demands on the long list of supplicants.” Jennifer Van Grove says, “This is a great BTS story on #HQ2. I quite enjoyed the bits about city officials annoyed at the bidding process. I mean, pot meet kettle.” Adds Brian Fitzgerald, “This needs to be said: @laurastevens broke the Amazon HQ2 news and continues to churn out amazing coverage while also appearing on stage at #wsjdlive to moderate panels on various topics. She’s starting QB on my journalism fantasy team come at me.”
If you’re still not convinced to read it, maybe this review, from Christopher Mims, will do it: “This reads like a show recap of a season-ending episode of The Bachelor where the rose ceremony has a twist: The Bachelor is a committed polygamist and has decided his two brides to be deserve hydrangeas instead.”
Meanwhile, New York City Announces Subway Just For Amazon Employees Now. Sure, it’s an Onion headline, “But like, really though,” tweets Lauren Piro.
Our weird and isolating time
Finally today, Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex? That’s the question Kate Julian asks in her December cover story for The Atlantic, and what she finds are “Such weird and surprising answers,” as Hanna Rosin tweets. But “Wait till the baby boomers find out millennials killed sex,” tweets Jamie Canaves. Rebecca Rosen says, “This is such a fascinating piece, ostensibly about why people aren't having as much sex as they used to, but really about human connection in our weird and isolating time.’ And Arielle Pardes notes, “This piece takes so many unexpected twists and turns—definitely worth the read, and for more than just the excellent phrase ‘sex recession.’” Oh, and by the way, you’re too late, because “‘sex recession’ is my new emo band name calling it now,” says Brandon Carter.