Staggering stuff—even for Trump

In the Washington Post, Philip Bump reveals that while speaking to the US Central Command yesterday, the president went off script “to make a truly stunning claim: The media was intentionally covering up reports of terrorist attacks.”  Tweets Jim Conaghan, “Today in the Alternate Reality: Pres. Trump speculating that the media is covering up terrorist attacks.” Sean Robinson breaks it down for us: “Just a big lie.” While “the comments would seem to be a response to the hubbub over Kellyanne Conway having repeatedly cited a non-existent terror attack in Bowling Green, Ky., in recent days,” WaPo’s Aaron Blake reports that the allegations have a familiar source: conspiracy theory website InfoWars. Or as Jeff Stein of Newsweek puts it, “Weirdo conspiracy news site #InfoWars is behind Trump's idea that the media is covering up terrorist attacks.” Will Sommer of The Hill isn’t so sure, tweeting, “Not sure I buy this idea that Trump is getting the media terror cover-up thing from InfoWars.”

Regardless of who started it, WaPo's Chris Cillizza calls the claims coming from the president “very, very dangerous,” given that “For lots and lots of people listening to Trump, his suggestion that the media is complicit in a coverup of terrorist attacks will be taken as fact.” Adds CNN’s Brian Stelter, “Staggering stuff — even for Trump." But “meanwhile in the reality-based community,” tweets Alexandra Marshall, Claire Phipps at The Guardian details the “under-reported” terror attacks—and how they were reported.

A devastating portrait

In their reporting on how White House aides are rethinking their strategy after two weeks of stumbles (132,000+ shares), Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman at the New York Times shed light on some unexpected details. For example: “They sit in darkness or wander about trying doors,” notes colleague Patrick LaForge of the news that “Aides confer in the dark because they cannot figure out how to operate the light switches in the cabinet room.” “If you needed metaphor,” tweets Chandra Steele of PCMag.com. Judith Timson of the Toronto Star calls the piece “A devastating portrait of an unhappy confused and incompetent White House w Trump wandering around in a bathrobe.”

I’M NOT MAKING IT UP

“In which @FLOTUS #Trump states she wants to leverage the White House as some kind of ATM for big endorsement deals,” is how David Beard describes the reports by Judd Legum in ThinkProgress and Julia Marsh in the New York Post about the First Lady’s defamation lawsuit against the Daily Mail. Legum himself describes it thusly: “The lawsuit by Melania Trump is INSANE.” Among the finer points? Legum tweets, “Her lawyer literally describes the position of First Lady as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ money making opportunity!”  And sure, he says, “You might think: Judd is making this up. I'M NOT MAKING IT UP.”

Across the pond, “Trump might get to sleep at Buckingham Palace but the House of Commons won't be so welcoming,” tweets Linda Kinstler of the news reported by Jon Stone in The Independent that John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, has said Donald Trump will not be welcome to address Parliament on his state visit. Sure, that has to sting, but “This will hurt Trump way more than the Bercow snub,” says The Guardian’s Jessica Elgot of an exclusive by Ben Riley-Smith in The Telegraph that Theresa May joked about the size of Donald Trump’s hands. “Maybe she really is Iron Lady II,” observes Tim Rostan of MarketWatch.

If you’re keeping score, it’s “SNL 1, Spicer 0,” tweets Josh Kraushaar of the National Journal. Oh, and “In case you'd forgotten how Donald Trump feels about women,” Ariel Cheung of DNAinfo helpfully directs you to this: White House rattled by McCarthy's spoof of Spicer. In it, POLITICO’s Annie Karni, Josh Dawsey and Tara Palmeri explain that “it was Spicer’s portrayal by a woman that was most problematic in the president’s eyes, according to sources close to him.“ MSNBC’s Margaret Menefee saw it coming: “ALL OF THIS is so predictable. I'm starting to get v bored.”

Ann Gerhart of the Washington Post asks the question of the day: “Is it chutzpah to arrest a bunch of protesting rabbis?” In what Rena Silverman of the New York Times notes is “(probably) a first! About 20 #Rabbis arrested protesting #Trump #TravelBan.”

#ThanksObama

DC life is rough. But “This is what a post DC life looks like,” says Kenis Gibson of ABC News, referring to the news that President Obama went kitesurfing with Richard Branson. “President Obama is seriously YOLOing right now,” adds MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin. Brian Moore of the Chicago Tribune has a slightly darker take: “Barack Obama is kitesurfing while the world burns. #ThanksObama"

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