Let’s call the whole thing off
First up, as Emily Glazer, Sarah Krouse and Elena Cherney report in The Wall Street Journal, Trump Business Advisory Council to Disband. But wasn’t it a “you can’t quit—you’re fired” situation? Well, as Laura Kusisto tweets, “One of Trump's councils called to inform him they were disbanding. He then tweeted it was his decision.”
The Best People™
So “Bannon called up @rkuttner at @theprospect,” tweets Nick Confessore, and “This conversation between @rkuttner and Steve Bannon is pretty astonishing,” says David Dayen. They’re referring to Steve Bannon, Unrepentant, by Robert Kuttner of The American Prospect, in which, Kuttner writes, “Trump’s embattled strategist phones me, unbidden, to opine on China, Korea, and his enemies in the administration.” Charles Lane says it’s an “Amazing Bannon interview in which he talks like he runs the White House,” while Subrat Patnaik calls the interview “Mooch-esque.” Tweets Alissa Wilkinson, “Is this going to be a thing, the leakers turning into on the record nutcases? Because, wow, historians of the future.” Alex Leo says it’s one of “Two bigger-than-the-headline-suggests stories that hit tonight.”
The other? As Joanna Robinson tweets, “A SUPER INSANE letter Trump's lawyer forwarded to journalists”: Trump Lawyer Forwards Email Echoing Secessionist Rhetoric, from Michael Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo of The New York Times. Tweets Schmidt, “EXCLUSIVE: Subject line of email said: ‘The Information that Validates President Trump on Charlottesville.’” The Times tweets this excerpt: “‘You’re sticking your nose in my personal email? People send me things. I forward them.’ He then hung up.” “The Best People™” tweets Scott Bixby.
But back to Bannon. At Axios, Jonathan Swan reveals What Steve Bannon thinks about Charlottesville (16,000+ shares). Warning: “This is a nauseating read,” says Daniel Drezner. Tweets Ryan Teague Beckwith, “Steve Bannon views Trump’s press conference on Tuesday as a ‘defining moment,’ in a good way.”
Also in Axios, Swan reports, Bannon's colleagues disturbed by interview with left-wing publication. He writes, “Here's what one of Bannon's colleagues — somebody who's not an enemy of his — told me after reading the piece: ‘Since Steve apparently enjoys casually undermining U.S. national security, I'll put this in terms he'll understand: This is DEFCON 1-level bad.’” Bryan Lowry has spotted the potential problem: “White House officials keep calling reporters and forgetting to say those magic words ‘off record.’” “they can't be this dumb can they,” says Josh Terry.
A mash-up of a presidency with a daily racist podcast
Michael Shear, Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times note, Trump Comments on Race Open Breach with C.E.O.s, Military and G.O.P. (15,000+ shares). They write, in what Kirk Johnson calls the “lede of the year,” “President Trump found himself increasingly isolated in a racial crisis of his own making on Wednesday, abandoned by the nation’s top business executives, contradicted by military leaders and shunned by Republicans outraged by his defense of white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville, Va.”
And at The Washington Post, Ashley Parker and Robert Costa report, Trump’s lack of discipline leaves new chief of staff frustrated and dismayed. “WHO COULD HAVE FORESEEN,” says Philip Bump.
Jeremy Peters, Jonathan Martin and Jack Healy of The New York Times report that Trump’s Embrace of Racially Charged Past Puts Republicans in Crisis. Tweets Martin, “The chasm between GOP voters & electeds is growing But the former are still constraining the latter. Our story.” We get some more from Bannon, who is quoted as saying, “Just give me more. Tear down more statues. Say the revolution is coming. I can’t get enough of it.”
Trump himself is ‘Sad’ Over Removal of ‘Our Beautiful Statues’, reports The Times’ Eileen Sullivan. Des Shoe wonders, “What ‘culture’ is being ‘ripped apart’ by removing Confederate statues? Hmmm.” Says Jonathan Kay, “it's like a mash-up of a presidency with a daily racist podcast.”
Meanwhile, Jewish Trump Officials Silent on President’s Defense of Anti-Semitic Protesters (28,000+ shares), reports The New York Times’ Michael Shear. Tweets Peter Beinart, “i wish the @nytimes had called their mothers.” Or their rabbis. As Yashar Ali writes for New York Magazine, Rabbi That Oversaw Ivanka’s Conversion Slams Trump. Tweets Ali, “Scooplet: The Rabbi that oversaw Ivanka Trump's conversion to Judaism slams Trump for Charlottesville comments.”
In ‘He is stubborn and doesn't realize how bad this is getting’, POLITICO’s Nancy Cook and Josh Dawsey write, “The Charlottesville furor is the latest example of the chaos that can result from Trump’s temper and refusal to back down.” Several people highlighted this “Amazing @jdawsey1 + @nancook graph on what triggers Trump's anger,” as Ashley Parker puts it: “White House officials and informal advisers say the triggers for his temper are if he thinks someone is lying to him, if he’s caught by surprise, if someone criticizes him, or if someone stops him from trying to do something or seeks to control him.”
The Economist weighs in with Donald Trump has no grasp of what it means to be president (19,000+ shares) and tweeting, “Donald Trump is politically inept, morally barren and temperamentally unfit for office.” Kenneth Silber calls it “An accurate but not comprehensive picture of what's wrong with him.”
The fact checkers are also weighing in. “NEW: 4 Pinocchios to President Trump's false claim that counter-demonstrators lacked a permit,” tweets The Washington Post’s Fact Checker reporter Michelle Ye Hee Lee. She links to President Trump’s false claim that counter-demonstrators lacked a permit (22,000+ shares), by the paper’s Glenn Kessler.
And from AP FACT CHECK: Viral photo doesn’t show ‘antifa’ beating cop. Tweets AP, “Photo that appears to show an anti-fascist activist beating a police officer is a doctored image.”
In her latest column, Margaret Sullivan of The Washington Post says This week should put the nail in the coffin for ‘both sides’ journalism. Tweets Michele Mclellan, “Journalists! ‘The best way to be fair is not to be falsely evenhanded, giving equal weight to unequal sides.’”
It’s a topic The Washington Post’s Alexandra Petri addressed earlier this week in Donald Trump’s despicable words (24,000+ shares), writing, “‘Gotta Hear Both Sides’ is carved over the entrance to Hell.” “This time, @petridishes is not joking around,” tweets Gene Park. Jill Filipovic notes, “So @petridishes is the best funny writer out there. She is also the best totally not funny writer out there.”
And in her column for the paper, Karen Attiah considers, What if Western media covered America’s white tribalism the same way it covers other nations (32,000+ shares). “What reporting on Trump would look like if you took away American exceptionalism, by the always great @KarenAttiah,” tweets Chloe Angyal.
Finally, in TIME’s new cover, managing editor Nancy Gibbs asks, Will the Nation Succeed After Charlottesville Where Donald Trump Failed?
Today in unfortunate butt-dialing news…
Of course, some government employees are more careful about watching their words when they’re on the record, and yet...“Dude denies everything on the record; accidentally calls reporter back while admitting all to his mates,” tweets Kadhim Shubber, who links to Court worker butt-dials reporter, admits he ‘barely shows up’ for $166K job, from The New York Post’s Rebecca Rosenberg and Bruce Golding. “Today in unfortunate butt-dialing news…” says Simon Frantz. Jon Campbell says, “It's kind of astonishing how often spokespeople butt dial reporters.” “Classic. The butt dial heard around the world,” tweets Kirsten Fleming.
The best new play of 2017
OK, here’s the story you need today. In Public Enemy (23,000+ shares), Harper’s Magazine shares transcript excerpts from jury selection at Martin Shkreli’s trial, noting that more than two hundred potential jurors were excused. It starts with Juror No. 1, who says, “I’m aware of the defendant and I hate him.” “The Martin Shkreli's jury selection transcript is *kisses fingers*” says Laura Hudson. Mark Harris calls it “the best new play of 2017.”