- RUSH: I just want to characterize this press conference. It started off with the acknowledgment of the new labor secretary, whose name is Acosta. And then the president literally spelled out what he was doing. Let’s grab audio sound bite number 24. Here is his opening and explaining what he’s doing, what the purpose of the press conference was.
THE PRESIDENT: I’m making this presentation directly to the American people with the media present, which is an honor to have you this morning because many of our nation’s reporters and folks will not tell you the truth and will not treat the wonderful people of our country with the respect that they deserve.
Unfortunately, much of the media in Washington, DC, along with New York, Los Angeles, in particular, speaks not for the people, but for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very obviously broken system. The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about it, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people, tremendous disservice. We have to talk about it to find out what’s going on because the press honestly is out of control.
RUSH: And he continued on that theme, and people that were watching this were no doubt cheering because it’s absolutely true. And he gave an example. And it turned out to be the example that I opened the program with. I’m at home last night, and I get this news alert from the Wall Street Journal. And it says that intelligence officials have considered Donald Trump to be so out of touch and so dangerous, they’re gonna stop sharing intelligence with him! And I looked, I said, “Well, this is a coup! This is a silent coup if this is true.” And I believed this. It’s the Wall Street Journal, for crying out loud.
I’m a student of the Drive-Bys, and I thought, “Man, this is… This is…” I started… You know, a couple of people that I respect, I fired off notes. “Did you see this? What do you think about this?” I had some discussions. And I get in here this morning and I find out that the whole thing was bogus, that there are intelligence people throughout the history of our country who do not share intel with the president because it’s bad, because it’s not worth anything! The Wall Street Journal took something that happens all the time and shaped it and made it look like it’s brand-new, unprecedented, because Trump is so dangerous and unhinged and bad that they can’t afford to share the intel with him.
And the underlying theme was, “We can’t let Trump see the intel because this guy is working with Russia, and he and Russia worked together to undermine our election.” They continue to have that narrative as what’s driving all of their approach to Trump. Everything they’re doing is rooted in that. Trump’s illegitimacy is rooted in a fake narrative that does not exist and did not happen, that the Russians affected the outcome of the election with the assistance of Donald Trump.
And that’s the rubric under which that news alert happened last night so Trump addressed it today and mentions how it’s just totally wrong and fake news and a disservice to the American people who read it. And he gave a couple of other examples, citing the New York Times. He did all of this, however, with good cheer. He wasn’t nearly as animated and quasi-angry as I am about it. He was, in fact, soft-spoken and measured. He came across as nonpartisan as you can in a political sense. But it was classic, and he just called them out. He called CNN out throughout this press conference as hate-filled and strangers to the truth, unable to report the truth, focused on not just disagreeing with him but hating him, and how this is a disservice to the American people.
One of the reporters from CNN, a guy named Jim Acosta — this was classic — stood up.The whole thing was classic ’cause Trump’s on one stage and they’re in another. And they’re in that room… Folks, you have to understand: They’re in that room to destroy him today. He announced a press conference. They’re in that room to destroy him, whether they want to admit it or not. And there were three or four questions today that I heard that left no doubt that’s what the purpose was.
Despite everything he had said today, they asked these insolent questions, “Did you ever talk to Russia during the campaign?” Trump said (paraphrased), “How many times do I have to tell you? I don’t know anybody in Russia! I didn’t talk to anybody in Russia! We didn’t talk about…” He was just going on and on, but they kept asking the questions, because that’s all they’ve got. And they’ve got nothing there. The stories I have in the Stack today clearly state that there is no evidence.
These intel people trying to undermine Trump have had to admit that there is no evidence that, A, the Russians had anything to do with the outcome of our election or, B, Trump was working with them on it to undermine Hillary Clinton. And yet that continues to be the narrative that is fueling the press in their pursuit of Donald Trump. So the CNN guy stands up and effectively asks — I’m paraphrasing Jim Acosta — “Don’t you think…? Don’t you think that these routine attacks of yours on the press and on the media undermining the First Amendment by calling what we’re doing ‘fake news’?
“Aren’t you doing a terrible disservice to the Constitution and to the American people by criticizing the media?” And there it was. Sure as I’m sitting here watching, there it was. They can sit here all day and not just criticize. They can try to destroy people. They can — using whatever power they think they have been granted by the First Amendment — go out and literally destroy people. Let Trump criticize the way they do their jobs, and all of a sudden it’s a constitutional crisis. Well, how about Obama trashing me all the time?
How about Obama trashing Fox News all the time? Was that not a threat to the First Amendment? No, they applauded that. They still do applaud that. They join in the attacks on Fox News — and, more often than not, they join in attacks on me, too. But they want you to believe that they are this watchdog and that they’re holding truth to power, that they’re holding powerful people accountable. They’re not doing anything of the sort. The press has gotten to the point where they need a watchdog, and it turns out that Trump is the watchdog!
Trump is the guy holding them accountable.
Trump is the guy calling them out. I’ve never seen anything like this today. I have never seen it. We have wanted Republican presidents all of my life to deal with these people this way, and the only thing we ever got was Spiro Agnew. We’ve not seen anything like this, and Trump did it with an air of confidence and self-assuredness. He was not nervous at all. He was having fun with them. He was toying with them. It’s like if you got a cat. You know how you get these little laser pointers and you have a little kitten or a cat and the cat goes nuts chasing the light? It will run into a wall. That’s what I was watching here today. It was just… It was fantastic, and the American people are gonna eat this up.
Now, I said yesterday on this program that what I thought Trump could do to recapture and regain control of the narrative here, if you will — of the agenda — is simply focus on the domestic agenda. Just get in gear and very publicly start talking about repealing Obamacare, tax reform, building the wall, immigration reform. All of it. Just go full speed at it, and in the process keep people who voted for him on his side and they won’t care about whatever these efforts are that the press is engaging in with the intel community to undermining him.
And make no mistake. And he called this out. He accused Obama of running the shadow government. He accused Hillary Clinton and George Soros of being the people paying for people to show up and protest things. He held nothing back! He ridiculed Hillary Clinton for being in part of a deal that gave up 20% of our uranium supply and for having that cheap little red reset button when she became secretary of state. And each time he mentions Obama. He mentions… He didn’t say “shadow government” but he said, “Our opponents are doing what they can.”
He called all of this fake news. He was on spot with all this. You know, it’s hard to say. You get caught up in the moment. But this was one of the most effective press conferences I’ve ever seen. The press is gonna hate him even more after this, don’t misunderstand. When I say “effective,” I’m talking about rallying people who voted for him to stay with him. He made a point (paraphrased), “What chaos? You people are reporting chaos here. We’re not in chaos! We’re a well-oiled machine. We got one of the smoothest running machines in the history of machines.
We got one of the best administrations in the history of administrations,” and he rattled off the achievements they’ve had here that the media’s not reporting ’cause they’re so focused on whether or not Trump worked with Russia to screw Hillary out of the presidency. He’s reassuring his people he’s on top ever and nothing’s changed, and everything that he campaigned on he is doing. All he’s doing is fulfilling campaign promises. And of course the Democrats don’t like it, and of course the media doesn’t like it, but it isn’t gonna stop him.
Maybe it’s not a coincidence that Barnum & Bailey is folding its tents this year. After all, how could the circus possibly compete with Donald Trump?
The president proved once again that he is the greatest show on earth. Lions and tigers and elephants are kids’ stuff next to his high wire act.
Next time, the White House ought to sell popcorn.
Amid feverish reports of chaos on his team and with Democrats fantasizing that Russia-gate is another Watergate, Trump took center stage to declare that reports of his demise are just more fake news.
Far from dead, he was positively exuberant. His performance at a marathon press conference was a must-see-tv spectacle as he mixed serious policy talk with stand-up comedy and took repeated pleasure in whacking his favorite pinata, the “dishonest media.”
“Russia is a ruse,” he insisted, before finally saying under questioning he was not aware of anyone on his campaign having contact with Russian officials.
Trump’s detractors immediately panned the show as madness, but they missed the method behind it and proved they still don’t understand his appeal. Facing his first crisis in the Oval Office, he was unbowed in demonstrating his bare-knuckled intention to fight back.
He did it his way. Certainly no other president, and few politicians at any level in any time, would dare put on a show like that.
In front of cameras, and using the assembled press corps as props, he conducted a televised revival meeting to remind his supporters that he is still the man they elected. Ticking off a lengthy list of executive orders and other actions he has taken, he displayed serious fealty to his campaign promises.
Sure, sentences didn’t always end on the same topic they started with, and his claim to have won the election by the largest electoral college margin since Ronald Reagan wasn’t close to true.
Fair points, but so what? Fact-checkers didn’t elect him, nor did voters who were happy with the status quo.
Trump, first, last and always, matches the mood of the discontented. Like them, he is a bull looking for a china shop. That’s his ace in the hole and he played it almost to perfection.
The immediate impact of his performance is likely to calm some of the jitters among Republicans in congress and supporters elsewhere, especially after the beating he took in the last few days.
On Monday night, Trump suddenly removed Gen. Michael Flynn, his national security adviser, over circumstances that still are not entirely clear. And on Wednesday, his nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, withdrew after Republicans said he didn’t have the votes to be confirmed.
Combined with courts blocking his immigration and refugee order, unflattering leaks of confidential material from intelligence agencies and numerous demands for investigations into any Russian connections, Trump’s fast start suddenly hit a wall.
Just three weeks into his term, Democrats, in and out of the media, smelled blood. Many already were going for the kill.
They won’t get it, at least now. Trump bought himself time yesterday.
Yet those determined to bring him down won’t give up, and the insidious leaks of secret material suggest some opponents are members of the permanent government who are willing to use their position and the media to undermine him.
Indeed, the most serious leaks seem to vindicate a warning that Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer made in early January after Trump criticized leaders of the spook agencies.
“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told an interviewer. “So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”
That incredible statement reflects what a dangerous game rogue agents are playing. The world is on fire yet the president is the target of partisan revenge in his own government. It’s a scandal and it’s outrageous, but it’s a fact that Trump must confront.
Finding the leakers and prosecuting them, which he promises to do, is part of the solution.
Another part comes Saturday, when Trump takes his solo act to Florida for a massive public rally. It’s smart for him to get out of Washington and soak in the enthusiasm of the populist movement he leads.
He should do it regularly, and also hold smaller, town-hall style forums where ordinary citizens can ask him questions in more intimate settings. Any way he can speak directly to the American people and hear from them democratizes his presidency and reduces the power of big biased media and the Washington establishment.
Yet the only sure and lasting way to keep ahead of the lynch mob is by producing results. Success will be Trump’s savior.
And nothing says success like jobs, jobs, jobs. Getting the economy to reach lift-off speed is essential so it can deliver the good-paying jobs and prosperity that he promised and the nation needs.
While Republican honchos in congress say they’re getting ready to move on tax cuts and replacing ObamaCare, nothing will happen without presidential leadership. That means Trump’s fate is in his own hands and he must keep himself and his White House team focused on delivering an economic revival.
If he does that, the lynch mob will be left holding an empty rope.