Not a Good Week for Trump White House
Americans find ‘Saturday Night Live’ more credible
COMPILED BY ABQ FREE PRESS WEEKLY STAFF
Forget catching Donald Trump in whopper after whopper because, as Bill Murray chanted in “Meatballs,” it … just … doesn’t … matter. That’s because the Trump administration is more trusted than the news media among voters, according to a new Emerson College poll. When broken down by party affiliation, a clear partisan split emerges – 91 percent of Republicans find the Trump administration truthful, while 78 percent of Democrats find the administration untruthful.
Another poll, this one by Public Policy Polling, shows that American voters have so little trust in Donald Trump that they find “Saturday Night Live” to be more credible than the man in the Oval Office – 48 percent to 43 percent. The same polling company says Americans are evenly split on impeaching Trump, 46 percent to 46 percent.
With a Politifact falsehood rating of 69.9 percent in his public pronouncements, Donald Trump’s relationship with the truth is tenuous at best – which is why HBO “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver is buying TV ads on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. Each ad features a man dressed up as a cowboy who explains things like what the nuclear triad is, demographics of urban areas and that there are other people in the world other than himself. According to the New York Daily News, Oliver is devoting a sizeble segment of his show “to focus on the issue of Donald Trump living in his own reality and simply making up facts.”
From Politico.com comes this: “Being president is harder than Donald Trump thought, according to aides and allies who say that he’s growing increasingly frustrated with the challenges of running the massive federal bureaucracy. In interviews, nearly two dozen people who’ve spent time with Trump in the three weeks since his inauguration said that his mood has careened between surprise and anger as he’s faced the predictable realities of governing – from congressional delays over his cabinet nominations and legal fights holding up his aggressive initiatives to staff in-fighting and leaks.”
Deadspin.com’s take on the same story is this: “Corned-beef dirigible Donald Trump, a skill-free inheritance baby with a virtually unbroken lifelong track record of incompetence and failure, has found that running the United States government is a tougher job than lending his name to mail-order steak delivery scams run by other people.”
Melania Trump’s lawsuit against a British tabloid says a false story damaged her ability as “one of the most photographed women in the world” to launch “a broad-based brand.” Salon.com reports that despite a plain reading of those phrases in her lawsuit, her spokesman and her law firm both say Trump had “no intention” of earning money from being first lady, that “it is not a possibility” that she would have wanted to do so and that “any statements to the contrary are being misinterpreted.”
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Congress the Trump administration may require foreign visitors to hand over passwords to their social media accounts as a condition of entering the United States. “We want to get on their social media, with passwords: What do you do, what do you say?” Kelly said. “If they don’t want to cooperate, then you don’t come in.” Iran has long required visitors to turn over passwords to ensure that critics of the regime don’t enter the country.
In a meeting with senators, Donald Trump taunted Democrats by telling them, “Pocahontas is now the face of your party” – his insult of choice for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, sources told CNN. Trump used his pejorative campaign nickname for Warren – a reference to her claims of having Native American ancestry – several times during the meeting, which one source described as “equal parts bizarre and completely awkward.”
The Dominican newspaper El Nacional apologized after mistakenly using a photo of Alec Baldwin dressed as Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” instead of the president himself. The photo appeared in the paper next to a photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Donald Trump was elected president while employing white supremacist, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric. Now the U.S. executive branch is actively seeking to reduce federal efforts to fight domestic right-wing extremism by removing white supremacist groups from the U.S. government “Countering Violent Extremism” program, Fortune reported. Earlier this month, the Trump administration proposed it would repurpose the program’s task force to focus only on Islamic extremists, considering renaming it “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Islamic Extremism.” Fortune said it’s hard not to see the influence of Steve Bannon – the White House chief strategist and senior counselor whose close ties to white nationalist and far right-wing groups are well documented.
The band played on
CNN reported that an hour before Donald Trump was set to dine with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, North Korea launched a ballistic missile 300 miles into the Sea of Japan. Trump and Abe sat down in the center of the Mar-a-Lago patio to review the situation and plot their response over dinner as scores of club members and guests watched. A wedding went on in the background, and guests mingled among White House staff and even took selfies of themselves with a Trump military aide whose duty is to carry the “football,” a briefcase with nuclear-strike codes.
Ratings for Alec Baldwin’s record-setting 17th hosting gig on “Saturday Night Live” on Feb. 12 were “yuge.” Vanity Fair reported that Baldwin, who parodies Donald Trump on the show, got ratings that were far higher than those Trump garnered as SNL host in 2015. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Baldwin averaged a 7.2 rating among metered market households – the best the show has seen since 2011. The Feb. 12 episode featured Baldwin/Trump and three judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals appearing on “The People’s Court,” Melissa McCarthy as a deranged Trump spokesman Sean Spicer at a White House press briefing, and Kate McKinnon in a spooky “Play Misty for Me”-esque portrayal of a nightgown-clad Kellyanne Conway stalking CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Donald Trump is driving a hard bargain with foreign workers staffing the Mar-a-Lago Club this winter. The Palm Beach Post reported he’s paying some of them less than they made last season and that most get just a 1 percent raise. While still a candidate, Trump won approval to hire 64 foreign workers through the federal government’s H-2B visa program, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Labor. Trump’s new foreign workers – 19 cooks, 30 waiters and waitresses, and 15 housekeepers – will make between $10.17 to $12.74 an hour.