Here’s Chuck Todd on Meet the Press this morning, asking White House “counselor” Kellyanne Conway why President Trump’s press secretary started his first day in office by going out and lying repeatedly on national TV. Her answer: Sean Spicer was merely providing “alternative facts.”
I don’t want to pick on Todd, who pressed Conway hard on this, but it was almost painful watching him try so hard to avoid using the obvious word here. Over and over, he wanted to ask why Spicer had lied, which would be the usual way of phrasing his question. On a couple of occasions he even stuttered a bit while he searched for another word. He just wouldn’t say it. So what’s the best response to Conway’s dogged unwillingness to answer questions in even a debatably truthful way? I think Jamelle Bouie has it right:
I increasingly believe that networks should refuse to have Conway on as long as she continues misleading the public. https://t.co/m789nWfN7T
— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) January 22, 2017
There’s a limit to how much TV networks should tolerate staffers who have a consistent history of viewing airtime merely as a way of promoting lies. Kellyanne Conway blew past that limit before Trump even took office. It’s hard to see what the value of having her on a news show is at this point.
In other developments, hold on to your jaw—or maybe your stomach—as you watch Trump blow a kiss to FBI Director James Comey and then give him a big hug:
Pres. Trump greets FBI Director James Comey during First Responders ceremony at the White House: “He’s become more famous than me.” pic.twitter.com/9Rdgyqi1iM
— ABC News (@ABC) January 22, 2017
Jeet Heer has the proper take on this:
Trump, unlike many others, isn’t in denial about what happened. https://t.co/WE8R1PMkhR
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) January 22, 2017
Trump won because of Comey. Period. Without Comey’s letter of October 28, Trump would have lost by 8 million popular votes and a few dozen electoral votes. And Comey knew exactly what he was doing. Published reports suggest that literally every single person he talked to advised him that writing his letter would be an unprecedented violation of rules against letting ongoing investigations interfere with elections.
Finally, in other news from Kellyanne Conway, we learned officially what’s been obvious for a long time: Donald Trump is never going to release his tax returns.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You mentioned a couple hundred thousand people who sent in petitions on health care, talking about health care, you also have more than 200,000 who petitioned the White House calling on President Trump to release his full tax returns with all information needed to verify emolument’s clause compliance. Whenever 100,000 petition, that triggers a White House response. So, what is the White House response?
CONWAY: The White House response is that he’s not going to release his tax returns. We litigated this all through the election. People didn’t care. They voted for him.
The “audit” was just a ruse all along. I don’t think that will surprise anyone with a room-temperature IQ, and I guess Trump decided to stop playing the game.
1,458 days to go. I can hardly wait for the Spicer/Conway description of Trump’s tax cuts and Trump’s replacement for Obamacare.