Late last week, as the White House Press Corps settled into the latest version of “new normal” at the White House – that being no briefings, appearances by the president only in small pool sprays and the occasional chance to shout a question at him – I looked up.
Standing on the South Lawn with the rest of the assembled press corps, I watched
Marine One land. The swift breeze from the rotors cooled me down on a steamy D.C. afternoon.
Suddenly, I heard someone shouting and I looked to my right. Jim Acosta from CNN was smiling. “If he sees us standing together there’s no way he’s going to stop and answer a question.”
I chuckled. I knew he was right. Then I looked to my left. Hallie Jackson from NBC was standing beside me and to her left was Jonathan Karl from ABC.
There was no way President Donald Trump was going to stop on the South Lawn and talk to any of us. The new normal forbids it. The new normal at the Trump White House is Trump in a “pool spray” pontificating and taking very few questions.
It’s a small number of reporters in a confined place. It’s Trump picking from the small number of reporters. And finally it’s a young press wrangler shouting at the top of their lungs “Move along. Nothing to See. We’re Walking. We’re Walking! Feeding time is over at the Zoo.”
Sure enough, Trump emerged from the Oval Office and walked toward the big helicopter destined to take him to someplace in the heartland where he was free to shout and whip his faithful minions into a feeding frenzy of frothy violence.
He held in his hand two green ball caps and he eagerly waved and smiled at the press corps.
As usual, I smiled and waved back.
As he got closer, he saw who was assembled to greet him and even as he showed us his baseball caps, which appeared to make him very happy, he identified the reporters and fled.
That’s also the new normal.
The following day, it was just me and Jackson present of the four there the previous day.
This time, Trump was once again headed for the helicopter.
Once again he didn’t stop.
This time I made sure he was close enough and I shouted, “What do you tell the two million federal employees who think you screwed them out of a pay raise?”
He stopped and grimaced, but kept going. Later that evening he spoke and said he was going to take the long Labor Day weekend and think about the raises he’d cut.
But by the time he came back, Brett Kavanaugh was up on The Hill parading around his credentials as a youth basketball coach of his daughter’s team to convince senators to allow him to work for the rest of his life as a justice in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Trump, whose administration has been floundering like hundreds of dead sea turtles on the shore of a Mexican beach, found himself on Tuesday in even worse trouble.
Former Montgomery County Sentinel reporter (you knew I had to say that) Bob Woodward is releasing a new book that takes a scathing look at Trump.
Trump calls his Attorney General Jeff Sessions retarded and says he couldn’t make a good lawyer in Alabama.
Former and current officials called Trump an idiot and worse.
His bedroom was Satan’s lair and the early morning hours when Trump takes a dump and spreads his Twitter litter is called “The witching hour.”
If that isn’t enough to frighten any sane human being, the entire book, or the excerpts I’ve read anyway, make the entire White House crew look like something closer to the Addams Family meets Dark Shadows via The Apprentice than anything remotely resembling any other administration including the stain called Richard Nixon.
But it’s not over with yet.
By Wednesday, we were entering our third week without the open press that covers this administration having a briefing with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
So the weekly/daily briefing is now quickly becoming the monthly/weekly briefing.
Still that wasn’t the worst of it.
By the late afternoon on Sept. 5 the New York Times published an op-ed piece from an unidentified White House Staffer who claims they are part of the resistance inside the White House.
This stalwart group, it claims, is trying to keep Trump from waging war, keep him away from his scarier ideas and otherwise protect the commonwealth.
It goes without saying, there has never been an administration like Trump’s.
It goes without saying that you couldn’t even begin to sell this as fiction.
And at the end of the day I’m sure POTUS would rather face me, Acosta, Jackson and Karl rather than the hell storm coming his way.