Another Tuesday news day
"Booting babies is the new kissing babies," concludes BuzzFeed's Ivor Tossell after Donald Trump asked a woman with a crying infant to leave today's rally in Ashburn, Virginia (at 28,000+ shares right now). It was a moment that felt like the live-action version of those lyrics from Annie's Hard Knock life -- you know the ones we mean: "Instead of kisses, we get kicked!" "Trump heckled a baby. There are literally no words because BABIES CAN'T EVEN TALK," points out John Scalzo at Warp Zoned. "Trump will definitely eat a live puppy by November. It's the only thing left," decides Ryan Lizza with The New Yorker and CNN. "Replace Trump with Selina Meyer and you've got an episode of Veep," suggests Rikha Sharma Rani of the Solutions Journalism Network. Some journalists were less amused. "It's become sexy for reporters to come up with out-of-context headlines just to show they're anti-Trump," pointedly observes Jewish Insider's Jacob Kornbluh. But Huffington Post polling director Ariel Edwards-Levy sees the silver lining here. "This is smart targeting on Trump's part. Baby turnout level notoriously bad."
All awkwardness aside, here's something with far greater implications: the Wall Street Journal bombshell revealing that the Obama administration secrently sent $400 million worth of cash to Iran that just so happened to coincide with the release of four American detainees back in January. "Incredible. Appears Obama admin ransomed hostages captured by Iran for $400 million, hid details from Congress," realizes Mark Hemingway with The Weekly Standard. "Ransom or not, optics of 400 million to Iran looks horrible. Iran playing US like finely tuned violin," posits Aaron David Miller. But in a series of tweets, here journalist-for-hire Samuel Oakford makes a different case: "Recall that the US overthrew Iran's elected Prime Minister in 1953, then supported the Shah, who spent Iran's cash on US weapons. In this case, in 1979 - just before the revolution - the Shah deposited $400 million in a Pentagon trust ostensibly to buy US fighter jets. Say what you will about the optics and timing of transfer, but there's a history lesson in that $400 million every American should know. Needless to say, this will become another talking point and attack line against Iran deal in the coming days."
All right, we needed to address that elephant in the room, before we go back to the other kind of proverbial elephant -- the incredible imploding GOP. Here's what happened only just today:
- Republican representative Richard Hanna says he'll vote for Hillary Clinton, becoming the first House member to cross the party line. But if you're stunned someone would commit this kind of political suicide, NYT's Jonathan Martin would like to call something to your attention: "Worth noting: he's retiring."
- Meg Whitman, too, will be voting for Clinton rather than her party's nominee, calling Trump a "demagogue." BuzzFeed's Sal Hernandez notes, "One of interesting snippets of Meg Whitman story today is fact that @HillaryClinton is actively courting GOPers."
- An ex-Chris Christie aide breaks with her boss and also will back Clinton over Trump. "When you think about it, Trump has been a huge force for bipartisanship," muses Politico's Nahal Toosi.
- So far, though, all that's triggered from Trump is a public refusal to support Paul Ryan or John McCain in upcoming Republican primaries. "Trump is now openly taunting Paul Ryan to unendorse him," concludes political blogger Greg Sargent.
- Less surprisingly, President Obama is urging the parade of Republicans disavowing Trump to continue. "The GOP should hire Obama as the party's ombudsman after he leaves office," quips Bradford Pearson at Southwest Magazine.
- By the way, Clinton and aides have reserved $98 million in ads compared to the less than $1 million reserved by Trump backers, which is a bit remarkable. "Perhaps a political scientist has convinced Trump to not air ads as part of an experiment?" spitballs Daniel Nichanian.
- Also, CNN's Jeff Zucker is defending his network's hire of Corey Lewandowski as contributor while slamming VICE and BuzzFeed, pitting him directly against BuzzFeed EIC Ben Smith. "Zucker punch," quips NYT's Patrick LaForge.