The most bizarre recent 24 hours in American presidential history
POLITICO’s Josh Dawsey takes a look at Trump's dizzying day of interviews, while Chris Cillizza of CNN recaps Trump’s two incredibly bizarre (and fact-free) interviews (22,000+ shares), referring to his “Face the Nation” interview with John Dickerson and an interview with Salena Zito of the Washington Examiner, which aired on SiriusXM. Tweets Dawsey, “Trump's dizzying day of interviews had no strategy & left aides, allies and historians saying: What? Why?” adding that “Trump left legislators, foreign policy experts and own advisers scrambling with comments on seemingly every front.” Dawsey’s piece quotes presidential historian Douglas Brinkley as saying, “It seems to be among the most bizarre recent 24 hours in American presidential history. It was all just surreal disarray and a confused mental state from the president."
As Joanne Kenen notes, the “Civil war comments were just the beginning.” So let’s start there, with Trump’s totally bizarre claim about avoiding the Civil War. In his piece for The Washington Post, Aaron Blake writes that the president essentially said, “Why couldn't we all just get along?” in the interview with the Washington Examiner’s Zito. Back to Dawson’s piece, which quotes David Blight, a Civil War historian at Yale University: “I don’t know if Trump even knows he’s doing it. You can be too ignorant to know you’re ignorant.”
Dawson also notes that in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News, as reported by Jennifer Jacobs and Margaret Talev, Trump said he would consider a meeting with North Korean president Kim Jong-Un, that he was "looking at" breaking up the big banks and that he would consider a gas tax. The recaps have left John McQuaid wondering, “If the president says a bunch of crazy random BS, can you really call it ‘news’?” But hey, says Mark Pazniokas, “On the plus side, not a single Holocaust reference.”
This is why
And so, as Megan Garber tweets, “.@YAppelbaum, PhD, probably didn't expect to be spending part of his day explaining the Civil War, but here we are.” She links to Why Was There a Civil War? (14,000+ shares), Yoni Appelbaum’s piece in The Atlantic, which Jamil Smith calls “An effective response to Trump's revisionist remarks on Andrew Jackson and the Civil War.” Says Jeffrey Goldberg, “Memo to the White House from @YAppelbaum. This is why there was a Civil War.”
Looks like someone finally got their check from George Soros
Charles Forelle suggests “Two great stories for your morning reading.” The first is When Barclays’s Jes Staley Went to Bat for an In-Law, a Powerful Client Cried Foul, the new piece in The Wall Street Journal by Jenny Strasburg, Patricia Kowsmann and Max Colchester, in which the reporters “unveil a massive new headache for Jes Staley,” as Michael Bird puts it. The piece reveals that the Barclays CEO interceded for her brother-in-law who was embroiled in a legal battle with KKR & Co, one of the bank’s most powerful clients.
The second, also in The Wall Street Journal, is Trump Adviser Jared Kushner Didn’t Disclose Startup Stake, by Jean Eaglesham, Juliet Chung and Lisa Schwartz. As Greg Emerson tweets,”@WSJ dug into Jared Kushner's financial disclosures. We found a lot that wasn't in those disclosures.” This piece reveals that the president’s son-in-law didn’t identify on his government financial disclosure form that he is currently a part-owner of a real-estate finance startup and has a number of loans from banks on properties he co-owns. His investments show ties to Goldman Sachs, Peter Thiel and...wait for it...George Soros. Which leads John Patrick Pullen to tweet, “Looks like someone finally got their check from George Soros.”
First daughter, presidential adviser, paradox
Let’s check in on Jared’s better half. “What is Ivanka Trump doing? Reviewing executive orders, for starters,” notes Jodi Kantor. In their New York Times profile of the first daughter, Kantor, Rachel C. Abrams and Maggie Haberman explore Ivanka Trump’s West Wing Agenda. Haberman says it’s about “Ivanka Trump, growing ambitions and growing pains in the White House.” We learn, as Lisa Mirando tweets, that “With no govt, policy expertise, she deals w/ Cabinet, reviews EOs, meets w/Mnuchin,” and, as Ron Lieber highlights, “Some former workers express surprise at her new policy interest. She was once reluctant to grant them baby leave.” Jeremy Binckes says, “Well this is an amazing, jaw-dropping profile of Ivanka.” And Bradd Jaffy calls it a “Smart piece on the competing pressures facing first daughter, presidential adviser and paradox Ivanka Trump.”
Realest 13 minutes of television you'll ever see
“At a time when the health care debate feels never-ending, this, from @jimmykimmel, is so genuinely moving,” says Stephanie M. Lee. Alex Weprin points to the “Emotional monologue from Jimmy Kimmel tonight, as he revealed that his baby boy (born last week) had heart surgery.” Says Julia Alexander, “This is tough to watch, but very touching. Glad his son's okay. Congratulations on the beautiful boy, Jimmy.” Adds Kristin Musulin, “The most powerful video I've watched today. I am a sobbing mess.” “Everyone should watch this @jimmykimmel monologue. Realest 13 minutes of television you'll ever see,” says Rishi Iyengar. For more, read Giovanni Russonello’s New York Times piece, Jimmy Kimmel Tells of Baby Son, and Why He Was Off the Air.
We need to be better than this
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that Orioles' Adam Jones was berated by racist taunts at Fenway Park while a bag of peanuts was thrown at him Monday night. Tweets @USATODAYsports, “We need to be better than this.” Says Stephen Engelberg, “As a BoSox fan of more than 50 years, I find this outrageous. People who do this should face serious penalties.”
Vlad, up close
Nina Burleigh links to the breaking news from CNNMoney, where Brian Stelter is reporting that filmmaker Oliver Stone has scored an interview with Vladimir Putin, in Oliver Stone interviews Vladimir Putin for four-hour series to air on Showtime. Says Gady Epstein, “This is no shock: Stone's an admirer of Putin. Expect some softballs about how awful the West has been to Russia.”
Meanwhile, Dozens of Russian deaths cast suspicion on Vladimir Putin, reports Oren Dorell in USA Today. Per analysis by the paper and British journalist Sarah Hurst, who has done research in Russia, 38 prominent Russians have been victims of unsolved murders or suspicious deaths since 2014.
“Fox News forced out one of its most senior executives on Monday, the latest aftershock of a sexual harassment scandal that has engulfed the television network and pressured its owners, the Murdoch family, into a painful and protracted public housecleaning," write Michael M. Grynbaum and Emily Steel in their New York Times piece, Fox News Executive Bill Shine Departs Amid Turmoil.
Congrats to the 2018 class of Nieman fellows!
In Nieman Foundation announces the 80th class of Nieman Fellows, the The Nieman Foundation for Journalism notes that the 2018 group includes “reporters, writers, correspondents, editors, radio and television producers, a photographer, a director of audience engagement and news executives who work around the world.”
A historical document of epic proportions
At Vanity Fair, Nick Bilton tells us, “We got our hands on the Fyre Festival investor deck. It'll make you want to punch your screen, or an ‘influencer.’” Of Bilton’s Exclusive: The Leaked Fyre Festival Pitch Deck Is Beyond Parody, Tina Nguyen tweets, “You thought that #fyrefraud was done? Oh no. Nick Bilton found the festival pitch dek and just...rekindled it.” “The Fyre pitch deck is a perfect illustration of peak American vapidity,” says Joshua Topolsky. And Taylor Lorenz says, “This is truly a historical document of epic proportions.” Adds Bill Wasik, “This really is jawdropping, and further confirms how everything is trying to sell itself like a tech company now.”
Trailblazing Latina journalist Cecilia Alvear dies
And finally, some sad news to share today. Cecilia Alvear, a trailblazing Latina journalist at NBC, has died at 77. As reported by The Associated Press, the former president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists was a native of Ecuador “who fought for the inclusion of Latinos in television newsrooms and in a long career with NBC News reached heights that were rare for a Hispanic woman.” She ran the Mexico City bureau for NBC, covered wars and revolutions in Nicaragua and El Salvador, produced several interviews with Fidel Castro and was a producer in various NBC bureaus until she retired in 2007.