Nicolle Wallace listed the important events that Trump could have been calling national attention to instead of holding a press gathering in the Oval Office with Kanye West.
The American president had really important things that he could have drawn the attention of the national press to today. The Florida panhandle was demolished by Hurricane Michael. People died. Hundreds of thousands are still without power. In a normal White House, the fact that one of the president’s closest allies on the world stage, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Muhammad bin Salman, known as MBS, reportedly ordered an operation to lure “Washington Post” columnist Jamal Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia with a goal of detaining him would be big news. Especially since he hasn’t been seen since he entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey and is believed to be dead.
In a normal White House, a president would want to know if his presidential daily brief or PDB included the signal intelligence reported by “The Washington Post” that suggests that U.S. Intelligence officials knew about the Saudi leader’s desire to detain “The Washington Post” columnist. If the president didn’t know, how high up did the Intel go? Did the DNI know, the director of the CIA? In a normal white house, aides would still feel the image of Donald Trump flicking paper towels at the victims of Hurricane Maria would require that he visit the D.C. Headquarters of FEMA on a day like today to show him as attentive and in touch with the pain and suffering of the people of Florida.
In a normal White House, they would have Bob Corker and Bob Menendez down to the white house to discuss their concerns about Saudi Arabia, especially their calls for sanctions for one of the president’s closest allies. In a normal white house, the president’s national security team might just want to start a list of all of Jared Kushner’s contacts with the young crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Out of concern that the optics alone of the two hubristic young men huddled closely literally and figuratively might be damaging if we come to learn the Turkish reports of 15 Saudis flying to Turkey and entering the consulate there to kill and dismember “The Washington Post” columnist are true. And that the administration knew that the Saudi leader intended to detain Khashoggi.
In a normal White House, that would all count as a full-blown national security crisis. But this isn’t a normal White House. Not even close. So today in front of a full press pool with an extended question and answer period, the president of the United States turned the oval office over to Kanye West who sat across from him at the Resolute Desk.
This is not normal
Nicolle Wallace’s frustration echoed that of every American who cares about how their government works. Wallace was pointing out that this behavior from Trump is not normal, and by extension, we as Americans can’t normalize it into acceptance. While Trump was hanging out with Kanye, people were picking up the pieces of their lives in Florida. A president is supposed to lead in times of disaster, not hide out with one his pals.
The White House has been known to hold pep rallies and bring friends around to cheer Trump up when he is depressed. The Kanye West visit was supposedly about criminal justice reform. It is important to note that West has no expertise in criminal justice reform. He is a rapper and one of the few non-white celebrity supporters of Trump.
Nicolle Wallace was right. Trump could have been doing a million other more important things with the press than hanging out and listening to Kanye West claim that MAGA hats have superpowers. The country and the world are suffering because Donald Trump won’t do his job.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association