Thursday in flights and fights
"Meanwhile, ABOARD THE PAPAL AIRLINER," teases NYT's Neil Irwin, noting the dateline accompanying news that Pope Francis suggested that Donald Trump is "not Christian" (nearing 10,000+ shares right now), pointing to Trump's desire to "build walls" rather than bridges. We're guessing the Pope's freshly finished visit to Mexico just may have had something to do with starting this conversation. "Good thing @realDonaldTrump isn’t Catholic, because I think @pontifex just excommunicated him. Snap!" reacts Daily Beast's Christopher Allbritton. "Have waited all my life (ok, only since the start of campaign season) for a Trump-Pope Francis showdown," admits Quartz's Jacqueline Bischof. "The best part of Pope vs. Trump is when the Pope trash talks Trump by quoting Aristotle," points out freelance journalist Scott Lucas. "If Trump attacks @Pontifex then we've truly reached the Ninth Circle," concludes NBC's Luke Russert. "So does #Trump go with "low Energy", "lightweight" or "dummy" when he insults #ElPapa on #Twitter?" wonders Pedro Rosado with the NY Times.
No need to wonder for long, of course -- because Trump has already released his response to the pope, which includes the phrase "For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful," among other interesting conclusions. "Does Donald Trump write his statements himself, or does he hire the angriest local 5th grader?" wonders freelancer Jill Filipovic. "This press release is like a blissful quicksand pit of hypothetical propositions that is impossible to navigate," Wall Street Journal's Robbie Whelan observes. Washington Post's Alexandra Petri pleads, "please tell me this is performance art please tell me this is performance art please tell me this is performance art." What's truly amazing, however, is what Justin Sink with Bloomberg News just realized: "A sitting US president announcing he's visiting Cuba just decisively lost a news cycle."
And oh yeah, about that. President Barack Obama confirmed this morning on Twitter that he will briefly visit Cuba, making him the first sitting president to do so since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. "14 months ago, I announced that we would begin normalizing relations with Cuba - and we've already made significant progress,” Obama tweeted. "Next month, I'll travel to Cuba to advance our progress and efforts that can improve the lives of the Cuban people." Here’s why. And while Obama still faces an uphill battle in naming a replacement for the recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a few key senators have signaled support for considering a new Supreme Court justice, breaking away from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s position that it be left up to the next president. Even retired justice Sandra Day O’Connor opposed the McConnell suggestion.