Confusion in a time of Trump

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
President-elect Donald Trump speaking during Wednesday's news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan.

How much should we lower the bar of our expectations for President-elect Trump?

I would say not much, but it’s hard not to get sucked into lowering standards when someone who has done so much to lower expectations has nonetheless won the permission of the Electoral College to occupy the Oval Office.

Take Wednesday’s press conference for example. He had one. Good for him. He hadn’t held a press conference for six months. That’s pitiful and totally unprecedented in modern presidential history. Does anyone care other than the press? I don’t know. It’s not a constitutional requirement or anything. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Lincoln never held a press conference (because the presidential press conference hadn’t been invented yet). But why does Trump avoid them? Because he’s a control freak and he can tweet whatever he wants without having to take questions? Because he prefers to be showered with adulation rather than pestered by skeptical reporters? Since we don’t really expect him to level with the public, why do we care? I’m confused.

As you undoubtedly know by now, a rumor has been circulating for a while that Russian intelligence had some dirt on Trump. The Russians call it “Kompromat,” for “compromising material.” You probably know what some of the rumored dirt is by now. At the time of the press conference, most of the media had still declined to specify the nature of it, because they were trying to be fair and cautious and not circulate unconfirmed dirt.

(By the end of yesterday, even the staid ol’ New York Times was fairly specific about what the rumors were and how they got dug up and put in a dossier, but it still calls the rumors “unverified.” The Times story says, “Late Wednesday night, after speaking with Mr. Trump, James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, issued a statement decrying leaks about the matter and saying of [ex-British spy Christopher] Steele’s dossier that the intelligence agencies have ‘not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable.’ “)

Before that, CNN had alluded to the dossier, without specifying what it was, but had reported that U.S. intelligence officials had briefed both Pres. Obama and Pres.-To-Be Trump about rumors that were circulating. Trump publicly berated CNN at the news conference for its role in elevating the story, called it a “fake news” outfit and refused to allow their reporter to ask a question (even though CNN keeps trying to point out that it withheld the salacious nature of some of the rumors, pending verification.

Should we have some sympathy for Trump as the target of unconfirmed dirt that became public, or is it full speed ahead until the allegations (which both he and the Russians say are false) are either proven or disproven? I’m confused.

But this is the same Donald Trump who rose to political prominence in party by peddling a lie, tainted with racial undertones, that his predecessor was unqualified to be president because he was born in Kenya. Trump peddled it for years despite never having anything remotely resembling facts to back up his rumor, and, to my knowledge has never apologized. Instead, when he finally decided to stop peddling his lie, he claimed credit for clearing up the rumor that he had started. Kind of a race-baiting public service, as he portrayed it. Are we now supposed to sympathize with a dirt-peddler who is now outraged at having dirt about him peddled? I’m confused.

(KellyAnne Conway went on CNN last night and had an epic, through-smiling-eyes-and-gritted-teeth verbal brawl with Anderson Cooper about CNN’s role in the Kompromat story. You can watch that video here in this link. It’s pretty amazing on an emotional level and Cooper was struggling mightily against what appeared to be a howling anger as he tried to get the unflappable Conway to at least acknowledge that CNN had not published anything it couldn’t back up.)

Back to the news conference: Trump finally delivered the long-promised plan to shelter himself from potential ethical problems arising from his vast fortune. (At least he claims it’s vast. He’s never divulged the details, and exaggerating is one of his specialties.) As he loves to claim, he’s under no obligation to do anything about potential conflicts of interest between his businesses and his job as president (because the ethics laws make an exception for the president). So he’s going to put his sons in charge and then not discuss any business matters with them.

Government ethics gurus from both parties call this plan ridiculous. (I’m no ethics guru, but for starters, who’s going to enforce that no-talking rule with his sons?) So, should we give him a point for doing something about this problem when he’s not legally required to, or should we be more concerned that the something he’s doing is totally inadequate to reassure the public that he won’t be leveraging his presidency to enhance his net worth? I’m confused.

Trump was also asked whether he would have a replacement ready for the Affordable Care Act before he repeals it. His answer:

It’ll be repeal and replace. It will be essentially, simultaneously. It will be various segments, you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week, but probably, the same day, could be the same hour.

So we’re gonna do repeal and replace, very complicated stuff. And we’re gonna get a health bill passed, we’re gonna get health care taken care of in this country. You have deductibles that are so high, that after people go broke paying their premiums, which are going through the roof, the health care can’t even be used by them because their deductibles bills are so high.

Obamacare is the Democrats’ problem. We are gonna take the problem off the shelves for them. We’re doing them a tremendous service by doing it. We could sit back and let them hang with it. We are doing the Democrats a great service.

So as soon as our secretary is approved and gets into the office, we’ll be filing a plan. And it was actually, pretty accurately reported today, The New York Times. And the plan will be repeal and replace Obamacare. We’re going to have a health care that is far less expensive and far better.

So, should we be reassured, on behalf of those who will lose their health insurance when Obamacare is repealed, that Trump has some kind of replacement in mind that will kick in the same day or same week or could be same hour? (During the campaign, Trump generally said only that his plan was to “take down the lines between the states.”) Or should we be worried about whether such a plan, an improvement on Obamacare in every way, actually exists on a planet with a breathable atmosphere?

Trump was challenged once again by a reporter to release his tax returns (as all recent presidents have done) to put to rest various questions about his finances and potential conflicts of interest. He replied for the zillionth time that he would not, because his most recent returns are under audit and added that while reporters are obsessed with his returns, the public has no interest in them. On this one, I’m not confused. Trump is hiding something and it must be pretty bad. The fact that the returns are under audit is actually an additional reason the public should know what he is hiding. And, by the way, contrary to his statement that the public isn’t interested, a big majority of Americans say in polls that he should release them.

If you would like to read a full transcript of the press conference, the New York Times has one here.

FactCheck.org, went over some Trump’s purported factual statements from the press conference. As has happened once or twice before, he comes across as not a couple of bricks shy of a real stickler for factual accuracy. The full factcheck is here. The first item goes like this:

*Trump falsely claimed that there are “96 million really wanting a job and they can’t get [one].” There are roughly 96 million people not in the labor force, but that includes retirees, students and others who don’t want jobs. Only 5.5 million of them want work.

Have a great day.

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Comments (50)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/12/2017 - 10:46 am.

    How about Trump’s meeting yesterday with Monsanto and Bayer executives as they pressed their case for Bayer to buy Monsanto without an objection from the DOJ.

    Of course this is all in the interests of the little guy.

    And how about Trump issuing the anti-CNN tweet-storm a few minutes after he began a meeting with the CEO of AT&T–who would prefer to buy Time-Warner at a discounted, post Trump-takedown price.

    Again, in the interest of the little people.

    Like I said before, it’s not a person that Trump will shoot in the middle of 5th avenue–it’s the governing norms that will be executed on the street.

    I think the safest assumption for any Trump administration actions will be to assume that somewhere the global elites will benefit mightily by that action.

  2. Submitted by charles thompson on 01/12/2017 - 11:09 am.

    the junk food precedency

    Nothingburger is at the top of the rhetorical menu. It’s super duper.

  3. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/12/2017 - 12:01 pm.

    Thansk Eric, Knew this was coming

    I have no problem with shovel fulls of truths on a beach, being reported early as fact: Fox and the right wing conspiracy has been doing it forever, creating beaches of propaganda with a grain of truth. Reality starting to sink in yet Trump voters? Seems the stock market is starting to get some sense again!
    The bad news, seems we are going to have to crash and burn again in a big way before folks go oh sh-t. Memories are so short as well as the abilkity to accept a real world changing reality. .

  4. Submitted by Mike Schumann on 01/12/2017 - 12:04 pm.

    Opinion or News?

    I am confused. Is this suppose to be a news article or an opinion piece? If MinnPost is going to be publishing these 100% anti-trump slanted rants,we going to see any articles from the other half of the political divide to balance things out?

    • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 01/12/2017 - 12:30 pm.

      Fair and balanced?

      Of course not – where have you been the last 8 years?

      • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 01/12/2017 - 12:40 pm.

        Please…

        …tell us what would constitute “fair and balanced” in this context? Be specific, please.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/12/2017 - 12:57 pm.

          Fair and Balanced

          I will go out on a limb and say it would mean 24/7 coverage of Benghazi, Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, and Michelle Obama’s alleged “whitey” remarks. Things like that.

        • Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 01/12/2017 - 01:43 pm.

          I’ll take a shot:

          “President-elect Trump, while shredding ethics norms, lying about the unemployment rate, once again refusing to disclose tax returns by offering a bogus excuse, and lying about press coverage of Democratic misdeeds, wore an impeccably tailored blue suit.”

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/12/2017 - 06:10 pm.

            Very Good

            You forgot.

            Accusing a leading news organization of being a fake news outlet and refusing to take questions from them…

            and

            His paid employees clapped and cheered in the background.

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 01/12/2017 - 12:47 pm.

      Any Piece on Minnpost (or anywhere else)

      if it quotes Trump’s self-agrandizing braggadocio,…

      in order to say positive things about Dishonest Donald,…

      would, by quoting him,…

      contain mostly lies and half truths.

      MinnPost generally tries to steer clear of filling its articles and opinion pieces with such things,…

      but I’m sure you can locate any number of fake news sights on the Internet,…

      that will do a much better job of telling you only what you want to hear,…

      without regard for anything so piddly and troublesome,…

      as verifiable facts.

    • Submitted by Nick Foreman on 01/12/2017 - 12:53 pm.

      Just watch Fox

      24/7 Maybe you will get an answer to your question

    • Submitted by Tim Smith on 01/12/2017 - 02:00 pm.

      are you joking?

      sadly my friend you are going to be very disappointed if you ware looking for balance here, its more a place where turnabout is fair play, even though the journalists here for years have been crying about the divisiveness in our great country.

    • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 01/12/2017 - 02:05 pm.

      Anti-Trump?

      If Trump lies, why is publishing a piece about it not the news but just an opinion? I used to hear so much from the Right about how the problem with “liberals” was their relativism with respect to the Truth and Morality.

      I hate as much as anyone who voted for his hearing as much as we have about the President-elect’s lies and his “ethical challenges.” And to think we have four more years of this. It’s really not much consolation for me that I didn’t vote for the guy. I wish he’d just stop digging and start acting to the level of the Office he’s been elected to.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/12/2017 - 09:26 pm.

        May sound self-serving but:

        Hopeful that Trump will see something in this world other than Trump: yes looking for that “win-win” scenario, but like a Lions fan somethings just don’t change, except the disappointment.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/12/2017 - 02:39 pm.

      Columnist

      Mike,
      I came to a conclusion awhile back that Eric is a columnist, not a news person.
      But I still enjoy reading about what color the sky is in his world. 🙂

  5. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/12/2017 - 12:08 pm.

    “[A]s soon as our secretary is approved . . .”

    This part of the article raises two points.

    First, it is obvious that he still has no plan for replacing the ACA. That has been something most of us thought all along, but he is doing nothing more than reinforcing that conclusion. As Trump points out, this is a complex area and not something that can be dealt with easily. It does not appear that he has been giving the matter much thought, as he has channeled his energies into taunting Twitter tirades against anyone who looks cross-eyed at him.

    Second, he either does not understand how laws are made in this country (I’m giving better than even odds he has never read the Constitution), or he has dramatically overestimated his sway with the Republicans in Congress.The latter option is comical, the former is appalling.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/12/2017 - 02:45 pm.

      Agreed

      One my recent posts was titled… “Trump Should be Ready for Disappointment”

      I mean image going from being the boss of a company with position power… To the guy trying to convince a huge committee of politicians to hurry up and solve problems… While over half of the citizens are waiting to watch you fail…

      The question is how long will the House keep humoring him before he is impeached. I assume most of them would prefer Pence as president.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/12/2017 - 03:21 pm.

        Disappointment

        You’ve hit the nail on the head.

        Back in the 80s, a common refrain was what a “great” President Lee Iacocca would make. This was based on his success with the turnaround of Chrysler. It made me want to scream: Iacocca had one job to do, and he was supported in that job by all of the stakeholders. Yes, he did well. He did it well in a kind of hothouse environment that bore no resemblance to anything a President would face.

        A President does not have a group of enthusiastic stakeholders behind him. Unlike a businessperson, he cannot rely on pursuing only one goal (profitability). He is constrained by the Constitution, and is subject to the checks and balances afforded by 535 voting members of Congress, all of whom have their own agendas. A “take charge, hands on kind of guy” is going to find that a tough environment.

        “The question is how long will the House keep humoring him before he is impeached. I assume most of them would prefer Pence as president.” Which is another way of telling my progressive friends: Be careful what you wish for!

        • Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 01/12/2017 - 04:28 pm.

          It is a bit interesting that, in our desire to rid ourselves of the excesses of politics, we rid ourselves of the positives as well. Such as the ability to separate the personal from policy. And the ability to see shades of grey. And the ability to seek common ground.

          Presidents who were not effective at politics were less effective overall, regardless of intent. I think Obama would have been more successful had he spent another term or 2 in the Senate. Not that it would have been easy (Republicans were more interested in Democrats losing than the country winning), but easier.

          I think even successful CEOs of large companies understand politics pretty well. And I would suggest that even they have multiple constituencies with varying priorities that have to be considered. Trump, given the nature of his organization has not. And I think those to expect his business success (ignoring the bankruptcies) to presage political success will be disappointed.

          In the end, you can spin the truth only so much. In 2 years, where will we be on the deficit, unemployment, health care coverage, national security.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/12/2017 - 04:38 pm.

          Most Definitely

          I know little about Pence, but I am thinking that Trump is very moderate in comparison. Besides he would likely be much less fun to discuss…

          I would think that many people on both sides like to see a Type A “Just Get It Done” Business personality pushing on the status quo politicians to solve problems instead of just talking about them. And if they fail to perform in a timely manner I am sure we will hear about it.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/13/2017 - 10:06 am.

            We Will Hear About It

            Barring any conclusion that he has committed “Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors,” all that will happen is that we will hear about it.

            If a President fails to perform, he cannot be persuaded to take a ton of money in severance and leave in order to “pursue other opportunities.” Score one for the private sector.

  6. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 01/12/2017 - 04:25 pm.

    Tthanks Eric Black

    “What another would have done as well as you, do not do it. What another would have said as well as you do not say it: what another would have written as well, do not write it. Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself and thus make yourself indispensable. “Andre Gide

    Certainly this makes you indispensable Mr Black Thank you.

  7. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 01/12/2017 - 06:51 pm.

    Record long…

    So, about press-conferences… If I remember correctly (and I think Politifact has an article about that), Clinton had not had a press-coference for about nine months… Was she accused of that here? I don’t recall…. Again, I do not defend Trump, I defend fairness.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/12/2017 - 09:00 pm.

      You’re confusing a candidate with the actual President-elect.

      Two different creatures, two different expectations.

      Of course, it is all different now–ethics, process, and decorum be damned.

      It’s looking awfully “banana-republic-y” these days with the “big-man” approach to governing.

      “Generally associated with neopatrimonial states, where there is a framework of formal law and administration but the state is informally captured by patronage networks. The distribution of the spoils of office takes precedence over the formal functions of the state, severely limiting the ability of public officials to make policies in the general interest. While neopatrimonialism may be considered the norm where a modern state is constructed in a preindustrial context, however, the African variants often result in bigmanism in the form of a strongly presidentialist political system”

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/13/2017 - 09:52 am.

      If by ‘press-conference’

      you mean actually answering questions from the press, Trump hasn’t had one yet.
      If Clinton had a failing, it was providing too detailed answers rather than slogans.
      All that Trump knows how to do is lead a campaign rally. That time is past.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/12/2017 - 09:18 pm.

      Is this the article that you are referring to?

      http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/aug/31/donald-trump/has-hillary-clinton-not-had-press-conference-269-d/

      Politifact (The Tampa Bay Times; not to be confused with FactCheck.org) concludes that the statement is partly true; she did communicate with the press, but not in the form of a full press conference.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/12/2017 - 09:33 pm.

      Trump’s press conference

      For some real fact checking, see:
      http://www.factcheck.org/2017/01/factchecking-trumps-press-conference-2/

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/12/2017 - 09:42 pm.

      Control

      They both definitely love to be in control of the situation and narrative.

      I don’t see either of them signing up for a night of amateur improve anytime soon.

      • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 01/13/2017 - 09:41 pm.

        What’s the difference

        Mr. Rovick, what’s the difference you are talking about. If anything, candidates need more press-conferences to explain their positions. And what is banana-republic’y now? As Mr. Appelen pointed out, the chances of a rich very rich guy’s beings bribed are less than those of a poor guy’s being bribed…

        Mr. Brandon, Trump was answering questions. You may not like his answers but he did. As for knowing how to lead a campaign rally, Obama surely does.

        • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/14/2017 - 09:36 am.

          A person who has clearly led their entire life in search of more and more money, and is incredibly sensitive to having their real wealth impugned, and refuses to actually disclose his true wealth or income, is certainly likely to feel they need more money.

          You have to review the history of the “big-men” running some of the countries of the world–the billions they have garnered over their careers of “public service” do not stop them from hanging on to power and collecting on the next bribe from companies like Exxon–selling their counties resources and people for a few more bucks for their estates and family.

          Wealth is no guarantee against corruption–in fact, a passionate love of wealth is the biggest indicator of susceptibility to corruption.

        • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/14/2017 - 09:48 am.

          Also, the difference between a candidate and President-elect is that it is perfectly within the right of any candidate to campaign however they wish–dozens of press conferences or not–and accept the results that come from that behavior.

          A President-elect has a responsibility to communicate clearly with the people of the country that elected him, and be open to questioning on any subject that is important to the governance of the country. Tweets, and other one-sided pronouncements, are just a shorter version of the hour-long radio rants of the big-man—a display of power and invulnerability–not a back-and-forth deserved by a democracy.

          • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 01/14/2017 - 05:20 pm.

            No

            If I remember correctly, Franco and Pinochet did not become the wealthiest people in their countries… Mugabe did…So yes, you are correct, people who got rich while at power tend to cling to power to get richer (if for nothing else, to avoid the next ruler who would take their money away and kill them). But those who were well off when they came to power do not have that tendency in most cases… And President-elect is not an official government position and therefore does not carry any specific obligations…

            • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/15/2017 - 09:09 am.

              Mariano Sánchez Soler, the journalist who is most familiar with the Franco family businesses (he wrote a book, Los Franco S. A., or Franco Inc., a must-read for anyone with an interest in the matter), holds that the Francos had assets worth well over a billion pesetas in 1975, the year of the dictator’s death.

              Thirty-six years after his death, the wealth of the ex-dictator’s clan shows that democracy has treated El Caudillo far better than he ever treated democracy

              http://elpais.com/elpais/2011/11/21/inenglish/1321856442_850210.html

              Two-and-a-half years after the death of General Augusto Pinochet, a report by the Chilean police task force charged with investigating money-laundering has claimed that British authorities and the financial sector were complicit in hiding his massive ill-gotten fortune.

              Though the Pinochet family protects the details of its wealth with the help of bankers and advisers from Britain and other countries, the pile of assets in cash, gold, government bonds and shares controlled by the family of the late dictator is now believed to amount to as much as £1bn.

              http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/pinochets-lost-millions-the-uk-connection-1776180.html

            • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/15/2017 - 09:11 am.

              Although I do find it somewhat amusing that you point out Pinochet and Franco as examples of how powerful people did not abuse their positions in government.

              Is that supposed to reassure us about Trump ?

  8. Submitted by Jim Smola on 01/12/2017 - 08:12 pm.

    What is he hiding?

    The failure of Trump to release his tax returns under the porous argument of being audited leads to what is he hiding? I believe he is hiding an issue that would have upended his campaign and possibly lead to legal issues for him. It leads to questions about what will happen to the audit of his tax returns after he is sworn in. It is another cloud that will follow this administration that was brought on by Trump. These questions have been raised based on Trump’s actions and statements that are well documented. The issues haven’t been fabricated they have simply been reported based on the president-elect’s actions.

  9. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 01/12/2017 - 10:36 pm.

    How much should we lower ethical standards to accommodate Trump?

    Simple and not confusing. NOT ONE INCH, People follow the rules. Rules are not bent for those who are unwilling to follow them!

    Just say no!

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/13/2017 - 09:47 am.

      On the Other Hand

      Should our standards require private business owners to sell their assets and trigger a huge tax event if they want to participate in our government?

      Could we get more competent politicians if successful people can serve without having to destroy their life’s work?

      Personally I have as many or more concerns about medium income politicians being bought / influenced than I do about a mega rich politician…

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 01/13/2017 - 02:48 pm.

        I hear you!

        Problem is this particular creature has not given folks like me much of an ethical, honest or credible sense. 50-60%+ lies, miss truths, redirects, bullying, no tax records, etc. etc. etc, flunked the ethics board to date. Trump is still selling his BS con-artist, the guy just can’t resist, lying through his teeth with the “trust me” but continues to prove day in and day out exactly why we can’t and shouldn’t.
        If you are talking a Bloomberg, perhaps we can reach an accord.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/13/2017 - 11:37 pm.

          Agreed

          Not sure about Bloomberg, but I agree that Trump struggles to be a mature trustworthy individual.

          I keep hoping that his desire to go down in history as a successful President overwhelms his passion to make money… Getting impeached wouldn’t do much for either dream…

      • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 01/13/2017 - 08:33 pm.

        Yes

        Who would be a “more competent politician” than say Hillary C. Clinton? Let’s not change the subject when we’re talking about ethics and conflicts of interest. We don’t have his tax returns so I’m guessing, but I’m pretty sure sure the President-elect’s net worth is about 10 million times mine. I have no idea except what’s been reported by him and news reports. But it’s a big number. How many Americans understand that level of wealth? How many Americans understand how much trouble being that wealthy can cause a person of such wealth, let alone a country they’re supposed to govern?

  10. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 01/13/2017 - 11:24 am.

    You don’t sell; you put them in a trust

    The billionaire who is to be Secretary of State for Trump is modeling better behavior in the rid-yourself-of-conflicts-of-interest realm. Check him out.

    And, if a guy can’t face the cost of ridding himself of assets that lead us all to question his official actions for corruption on a daily basis–and we are now questioning Donald Trump, even before he’s sworn in–then why in Heaven’s name would he seek the office in the first place?

    Here’s my theory, based on how bumpy and slow Trump’s transition process has been (how unready even to begin a transition) and how Sen.McConnell is forced to rush things on review of Cabinet nominees: Trump never expected to win the election, or even the Republican nomination for the presidency. After all, he’s been pretty much a Democrat all his adult life, and even now his positions do not fit the Republican agenda put out by Paul Ryan or some of his Cabinet nominees for Attorney General or Health and Human Services, etc. So, not expecting to actually become President, Trump never thought about what he would have to do to avoid conflicts of interest.

    Second, though: How can you ask a man whose personal identity is so tightly bound up with his company–all things Trump–to let go of it just because the rest of America thinks he must, to avoid accusations of fraud and corruption in his dealings as President?

    He can’t get rid of a company that has been reduced in recent years to not much more than franchising his name. Donald Trump has nothing but Trump Inc. to his credit; he is nothing else but that enterprise based on how he can sell or lease his name. He has accomplished nothing in his life but enhancement of his own wealth (and by extension, his children’s continued trading on his name). He is known for being known, that’s all. His foundation bears his name, but it’s other people’s money in it–not much ever of his own money–but he signs the checks as if it were his money–and that’s already been proven to be a source of illegal actions! We can’t expect the man to push away from his very self all that he thinks makes him himself. I

    t’s more than ego–without his business, he’s nothing. All we can do is watch, and call him out on the corruption that will come.

    No one believes him when he asserts that his two sons will run his named assets without ever consulting him on them. He is playing us for fools. He is also blatantly asserting that he is above the law, above all national precedent, above any need to bow before the public’s legitimate demand for transparency and integrity in government.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 01/13/2017 - 12:13 pm.

      Trust

      No they won’t let him just put the properties in a Trust while keeping the Trump name on them. He would still know where they are and which decisions would benefit them…

      His solution though not great, seems balanced.

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 01/13/2017 - 01:33 pm.

      This should have been a basic campaign issue in both

      …the primary and general elections – a central issue:

      “How can a guy like this detach himself from his business interests, to protect the people and the office itself ??”

      We can thank our marvelous “news” organizations for putting it on the back burner in favor of anything and everything that makes your hair stand on end and your eyes bug out – Media Hysteria at its finest, continuing to this very day.

      I’m pretty sure this kind of issue will be a qualifying factor in future elections. BTW, there is a not-so-bad argument that the OTHER candidate could be seen as disqualified based on the same criteria. The facts of course being different in each case, but the application of the same principle of detachment would have been very uncomfortable for the Clinton’s as well.

      Maybe we need entirely new kind of candidates in future ??

      • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 01/13/2017 - 03:05 pm.

        Surely, you jest!

        The Clintons have only the average mix of investments, easily put into a blind trust–ccjheck their twenty years’ worth of tax returns opened to the public, compared to the non-existence of any Trump tax returns. The Clinton Foundation is a separate entity and just as easily placed in someone else’s hands.

        There is no comparison between the financial situation of Donald Trump and even his nominee for Secretary of State, much less the Clintons.

        The point that Trump should have been asked about this is well taken. But he would just have lied, as he has done in the past week, about his continuing involvement with his private business while in office. As he said in the so-called press conference, he can easily run his business and “run the country” [sic] simultaneously. After all, as he keeps reminding us, “[He’s] really really smart.”

        The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.

  11. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/16/2017 - 12:07 pm.

    Meet the Press

    Sunday’s panel included the American Enterprise Institute’s Danielle Pletka. She referenced that the new normal of Trump’s daily outrages cannot be covered in a normal fashion because the covering media will all eventually succumb to exhaustion. The AEI is not exactly a neutral observer; but, if Trump simply wears down conventional standards to the extent that the majority just shrug their shoulders say “That’s Trump” we might just as well turn the National Archive into a Trump tourist stand and pack away the Constitution and Declaration of Independence for some future time when they are relevant again. When he says or does something crazy or outrageous it must be covered as crazy and outrageous, no matter the frequency.

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/16/2017 - 04:29 pm.

    Not surprised at all

    I didn’t watch it at the time, and only looked at select passages afterward, but it was pretty much exactly what I expected it to be. Neither Trumps behavior, nor anything he actually says at these spectacles is wroth noting or reporting on but there is one thing that really should grab one’s attention. He brought in paid staffers to jeer the press and cheer him. THAT’S unprecedented and raises serious questions regarding the integrity and nature of future “press” conferences.

    It has also been suggested but not verified that the huge stack of papers that were supposed to be just “some” of the legal documents related to his attempts at untangling his conflicts of interests were props. It certainly looks like stagecraft to me, and this is a guy who if you’ll recall actually invented his own term for lying to people- “Truthful Exaggeration”

    I hope (but doubt) the various media outlets are seriously considering checking out of the White House all together if this kind of spectacle is produced more than once or twice more. Journalists don’t need to be in the White House to know what’s going on, or to cover the news, and if all you’re going to get from Trump and his staff or officials is arguments and dubious information, you’re actually better off digging up the truth elsewhere. At guy like Trump needs the “media” more than the media needs him.

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