Chuck Todd: If Economy Falters, Will Trump Supporters ‘Be as Forgiving’ of His Norm-Breaking Presidency?

Chuck Todd opened this morning’s Meet the Press by asking whether President Donald Trump‘s supporters will continue to be “forgiving” of his norm-breaking presidency if the economy tanks.

“Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump has had one powerful and faithful ally, the economy,” Todd said. “More than anything else, he has counted on the economy to help overcome doubts about his style and carry him to re-election. But that ally may be deserting him.”

Given the concerning economic news over the past week, Todd said, “The question for the president: will his supporters, who have either embraced or simply accepted so much of his norm-breaking presidency, be as forgiving of all of those breaking of norms if the economy falters?”

A new NBC/WSJ poll taken before the stock market tumble this past week shows the president’s approval rating at 43 percent. Todd also highlighted an increase in Americans’ support for free trade since December 2015.

You can watch above, via NBC.

Kudlow on Greenland: Trump ‘Knows a Thing or Two About Buying Real Estate’ and Wants to Take a Look

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow appeared on Fox News Sunday this morning to dismiss concerns of a recession and say, “We should not be afraid of optimism.”

Dana Perino spoke with Kudlow on the economy, the impact of the trade war, whether a tax cut for middle-income families is still on the table.

Towards the end of the interview, she brought up the rather stunning news that President Donald Trump has talked about buying Greenland.

Greenland has said it’s not for sale and the president is being widely mocked for the idea.

Kudlow chuckled a bit and said, “It’s developing. We’re looking at it, we don’t know.”

“Denmark owns Greenland. Denmark is an ally. Greenland is a strategic place up there. They’ve got a lot of valuable minerals,” he continued. “I don’t want to predict an outcome, I’m just saying the president, who knows a thing or two about buying real estate, wants to take a look.”

You can watch above, via Fox News Sunday.

Buttigieg on Whether Voting for Trump Is Racist: It’s ‘Looking the Other Way on Racism’ at Best

Democratic 2020 candidate Pete Buttigieg has determined that people are making an approximate decision on racism when they decide to support President Donald Trump.

During a broad-range interview with Jake Tapper, Buttigieg was asked about how he previous told the CNN hot that he considers the president a “white nationalist.” To that point, Tapper asked the South Bend mayor “Do you think that it’s a racist act to cast a vote for President Trump in 2020?”

“Well at best, it means looking the other way on racism,” Buttigieg said. “Basically what he’s saying is ‘all right, I want you to look the other way on the racism, tolerate the negativity, accept the instability of my administration because I’m going to deliver for you job growth almost as good as the Obama years.’ That’s what his argument amounts to now and it’s part of the reason why he’s unpopular.”

Watch above, via CNN.

Trump Rails Against the Media and ‘Failing’ NY Times: ‘An Evil Propaganda Machine’ for Dems

President Donald Trump railed against the “evil” New York Times by twisting the contents of a transcript from an internal meeting among the paper’s staff.

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It appears Trump is referring to how Slate obtained a recording last week from an internal town hall where Times executive editor Dean Bacquet spoke to employees about the direction of the paper’s coverage. Much of the discussion gravitated around the internal and external strife the Times saw when they recently changed their headline on Trump’s speech regarding the El Paso and Dayton shootings.

Baquet said this during the town hall:

This is a really hard story, newsrooms haven’t confronted one like this since the 1960s. It got trickier after [inaudible] … went from being a story about whether the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia and obstruction of justice to being a more head-on story about the president’s character. We built our newsroom to cover one story, and we did it truly well. Now we have to regroup, and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story. I’d love your help with that.

The Times‘ headline was criticized by those who feel that it was too soft on Trump’s alleged racism and positions regarding gun control. Bacquet has conceded that the original was a “bad headline,” but Slate’s description of the Times’ meeting shows Bacquet grumbling about how people don’t understand the paper’s function in the Trump era.

“They sometimes want us to pretend that he was not elected president, but he was elected president,” Baquet said. “And our job is to figure out why, and how, and to hold the administration to account. If you’re independent, that’s what you do.”

The transcript also has a moment where Bacquet acknowledges that the Times was “a little tiny bit flat-footed” with how they adjusted their coverage after the end of Robert Mueller’s investigation. This involved a dispute among the staff about what is the proper way to report on the president’s racist antics.

One last minor note by the way: Trump continues to claim the Times is failing, but their recent, record-setting paid subscriber count says the opposite is true.

[Photo via Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images]

Bill Maher’s New Rule on Gun Violence and Internet Culture: ‘From Lonely and Sad to Radicalized and Lethal’

In the wake of the recent carnage in El Paso and Dayton, Bill Maher’s “New Rule” linked the nation’s mass shootings to a social media culture that breeds resentment and inadequacy and then weaponizes those feelings into hate and violence: “The Internet is where young white men go from lonely and sad to radicalized and lethal.”

Trying to diagnose “why America has a gun violence problem,” Maher’s monologue focused his ire on “an every-man-for-himself, winner-take-all culture that chews up and spits out people.”

“The NRA should change its slogan to ‘Guns don’t kill people. Seething loners who can’t get laid kill people,’” he said to applause. “Yes, we have too many guns, but America has an epidemic of gun violence because it has an epidemic of guys who were picked last in gym.”

He went on to blame the manufactured reality of social media for feeding anger among the country’s young, disaffected white males.

“The Internet is where young white men go from lonely and sad to radicalized and lethal,” he said. “Social media tells you everyone is having more fun, with more toys, and more friends than you. They’re always in St. Kitts, having Mai Tais at sunset, while you’re in Canoga Park selling your plasma at dusk—yolo.”

“Before Instagram, you could be a loser but wouldn’t feel it, because the winners weren’t always in your face,” he explained, before he linked that site’s FOMO narrative to the seething anger that can be found on another popular online forum, 8chan, where three of the most recent mass shooters posted a manifesto before their crimes. “This is how the Internet gets you coming and going: Guys watch the “haves” on Instagram, and then go over to sites like 8chan to brood with the “have-nots.”

“Being a loser used to just mean that you stayed home on Friday nights,” Maher joked. “You had a hard dick and no social skills, but it wasn’t a movement.”

Watch the video above, via HBO.

NY Daily News Mocks Trump’s Greenland Plan With New Take on Classic Headline: ‘Fjord to Trump: Drop Dead’

New York Daily News Mocks Trump's Greenland Plans With Classic Headline

The left-leaning New York Daily News offered an updated take on one of the paper’s classic headlines to mock President Donald Trump for his recent, apparently serious interest in having the US buy Greenland: “Fjord to Trump: ‘Drop Dead.’”

When the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Trump has been seriously mulling the idea of purchasing the world’s largest island — which is an autonomous region of Denmark and, quite clearly, not for sale — pundits and politicians alike reacted with a collective “Huh?!” So, the notoriously Trump-averse Daily News decided to poke fun at the president’s absurd idea while invoking a headline about another past president the paper didn’t care much for either.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsSaturday’s Daily News wood is clearly an homage to the newspaper’s all-time-great headline from October 30, 1975, when then-President Gerald Ford refused to pledge federal funds to help New York City out of a dire financial crisis.

And while the modern version is a bit of a stretch, contorting “Ford” into “Fjord,” the same point still very much comes across.

Screengrab, top, via New York Daily News Twitter feed.

Screengrab, below, of October 30, 1975 front page, via New York Daily News archives.

‘BDS Is a Bullsh*t Purity Test’ for Democrats: Bill Maher Rants Against Boycott Israel Movement

Comedian Bill Maher lashed out at the Boycott Israel movement and its popularity among some progressive Democrats, saying “BDS is a bullshit purity test” within the party.

His comments came after a days-long public furor over the planned visit to Israel and Palestine by Muslim Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.), who are vocal BDS supporters. Their visit was foiled after the Israeli government backtracked on its initial approval a month ago and decided to block the pair from entering after President Donald Trump publicly encouraged the country to do so. (Israel later flip-flopped once more, to allow the Congresswomen in, but both Tlaib and Omar ultimately chose not to go.)

Maher, not holding back, slammed the boycott efforts as mere virtue signaling.

“BDS is a bullshit purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class,” he said, to both cheers and jeer. “It’s predicated on this notion, I think, it’s very shallow thinking that the Jews in Israel, mostly white, and the Palestinians are browner, so they must be innocent and correct, and the Jews must be wrong. As if the occupation came right out of the blue, that this completely peaceful people found themselves occupied.”

“Let me read one of the cofounders of the [BDS] movement, Omar Barghouti. His quote: “No rational Palestinian would ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.’ So that’s where that comes from, this movement. Someone who doesn’t even want a Jewish state at all. Somehow, this side never gets presented in the American media.”

Maher’s quote above comes from a longer video where Barghouti offers more context about his thoughts on Israel and Palestine. And contrary to Maher’s claim, the mainstream US press routinely covers the BDS movement, including this critical New York Times look at its rhetoric and motivations from just two weeks ago. And that same Barghouti quote appeared in an anti-BDS op-ed in the New York Times in January 2018.

“I think it’s absolutely become one of these litmus tests inside inside the hard progressive movement now,” Republican strategist Rick Wilson told Maher.

“Congresswoman Omar has said things like, ‘It’s all about the Benjamins,’ ‘Israel has hypnotized the world,’ ‘May Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.’” Maher pointed out. “She apologized for it, but it’s out there: Jews control the world, control the money. I can see why they don’t get a hero’s welcome” in Israel, he concluded.

Watch the video above, via HBO.

Maher Rails Against Criticism of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Tweet on Shooting Deaths: ‘F*ck All You All!’

You may remember that in the wake of the horrific El Paso and Dayton shootings, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was roundly criticized for a tone-deaf tweet putting shooting deaths into perspective.

Tyson subsequently apologized, but Bill Maher came to his defense tonight and said, “He didn’t voice the one true opinion. This country’s now a place where there’s just one acceptable opinion. God forbid you have nuance or think outside the box. So fuck all you all!”

“You can express a different opinion,” Maher continued. “He wasn’t saying ‘I’m glad children are dead’!”

Daily Beast reporter Betsy Woodruff noted how, in the context of the “cancel culture” discussion, President Donald Trump complained about a movie he hadn’t seen after Fox Newsers got angry about it and now the movie’s been yanked.

“But it hurts more,” Maher countered, “when it’s the people on my wide who are supposed to be for free speech.”

Maher also defended comedian and friend Sarah Silverman after she said a 2007 blackface sketch got her fired from a movie, saying the rules of what’s acceptable keep changing.

But when he returned to the blowback Tyson received, he went a bit further as he read from Tyson’s apology:

“He wrote ‘I am therefore thankful for the candor and depth of critical reactions shared in my Twitter feed.’ This is what they used to do in the old Soviet Union! ‘Can I get out of the gulag now?’ ‘Thank you for educating me. Re-educating me.’”

Maher also said that Tyson’s not the first astrophysicist to get in trouble and brought up what Galileo went through.

You can watch above, via HBO.

Bill Maher: ‘A Recession Would Be Very Worth’ Getting Rid of Trump and Horrible Policies

Bill Maher has repeatedly expressed hope for a recession because it would tank Donald Trump‘s presidency, and tonight he stood by that assessment in the context of his administration’s announced Endangered Species Act rollback.

Maher mockingly dismissed how “people get mad at me” for hoping for a recession, knocking Sean Hannity in particular and saying “I do not have this power.”

“I’m just saying we can survive a recession,” Maher repeated. “They don’t last forever? You know what lasts forever? Wiping out species!”

He brought up the planned rollbacks and how Trump is going “what any evil villain would do,” and also noted the water crisis in Newark.

Maher concluded, “Yes, a recession would be very worth getting rid of Donald Trump and these kinds of policies.”

You can watch above, via HBO.

WH Reporter, CNN Analyst Brian Karem Going to Court Over White House Suspending Hard Pass

Playboy reporter Brian Karem‘s hard pass has officially been revoked by the White House and he said this afternoon he intends to go to court to challenge this.

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Attorney Ted Boutrous shared their correspondence with White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, who made it clear they are taking this action over Karem’s behavior at the White House Social Media Summit and his now-infamous confrontation with Sebastian Gorka. You can review the videos of the incident here and here.

Grisham says, “Mr. Karem’s conduct, taken as a whole, was unacceptable and disruptive, and requires a response to ensure that it does not happen again.”

Playboy posted a statement to Twitter supporting Karem and expressing concern about the White House’s move.

Karem spoke to CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy and said, “This is the White House ignoring due process, ignoring the First Amendment, going after reporters, chopping this up piecemeal, going after us one after a time. Trying very much to silence a press that has been critical of this administration. And they will use any method to do it.”

[image via Alex Wong / Getty Images]