Oct 17, 2017

Trump's alternative reality

Mike Allen, author of AM

Trump in the White House Rose Garden yesterday. Photo: Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump "goes there, on just about every topic imaginable," as NBC's Brian Williams put it, during a pair of Q&As, two hours apart yesterday — one in the Cabinet Room and one with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Rose Garden.

Why it matters: It's almost impossible for the media to cover these press conferences — or for Republicans to discern what he wants and how he plans to get it — because Trump spreads fake news while calling real news fake. This isn't new. And, yes, 35% of voters don't seem to care. But that doesn't make it any less dangerous.

A look at Trump's alternative reality:

  • Trump says he and McConnell are "closer than ever before." Both men and their staffs have been trashing each other in public and private for months.
  • Trump says other presidents "didn't make calls" to families of soldiers killed in duty. They did.
  • Trump says Obamacare is "dead." His repeated efforts to repeal it failed.
  • Trump says it's been established that "no collusion" took place with the Russians. Bob Mueller is interrogating the president's associates and advisers on this very point in real time.
  • Trump says he's on a historic pace of accomplishment. He's not.
  • Trump says he "already" has "the votes right now" for a bipartisan health care fix. He doesn't.

Sound smart: The damnedest thing is not a single bullet point I just wrote is disputable — while every one of those things the president said was.

Yesterday's keepers:

  • On GOP senators: "I'm not going to blame myself, I'll be honest. They are not getting the job done."
  • "Obamacare is finished. It's dead. It's gone. It's no longer — you shouldn't even mention. It's gone. There is no such thing as Obamacare anymore."
  • On Steve Bannon's war on McConnell and the Republican establishment: "Steve is ... a friend of mine ... I can understand where Steve Bannon is coming from. ... I know how he feels. ... There are some Republicans, frankly, that should be ashamed of themselves."
  • On whether he's considering firing Mueller: "No, not at all."
  • "Oh, I hope Hillary runs. Is she going to run? I hope. Hillary, please run again."

P.S. Bannon tells me by email: "McConnell and the GOP Establishment have sown the wind — now be prepared the reap the whirlwind."

Go deeper

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Twitter said Friday morning that a tweet from President Trump in which he threatened shooting in response to civil unrest in Minneapolis violated the company's rules. The company said it was leaving the tweet up in the public interest.

Why it matters: The move exacerbates tensions between Twitter and Trump over the company's authority to label or limit his speech and, conversely, the president's authority to dictate rules for a private company.

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Trump threatens to "assume control" of Minneapolis over unrest

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President Trump threatened via Twitter early Friday to send the national guard to Minneapolis following three days of massive demonstrations and unrest in the city over George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody this week.

Details: "I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right," Trump tweeted after a police station was torched by some protesters.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Protests over George Floyd's death grip Minneapolis

Protesters cheer as the Third Police Precinct burns behind them on in Minneapolis on Thursday night. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Cheering protesters set a Minneapolis police station on fire Thursday night in the third night of unrest following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in the city, per AP.

The state of play: Minnesota's governor on Thursday activated the state's national guard following violent outbreaks throughout the week, as the nation waits to see if the officers involved will be charged with murder.