Happy New Year!
Well, 2018 certainly started with a bang, politically, thanks to a new tell-all book regarding the Trump administration. Meanwhile, for many of us, the new year means new resolutions and goals.
Below are some of the stories that mattered this week, along with a look ahead.
Fire and Fury
Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House, sent the Trump administration into a tailspin. The two key takeaways discussed before the book’s release:
Steve Bannon’s comments that a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives was “treasonous,” that they’ll crack Donald Jr. “like an egg” on national TV, and that the investigation centers around money laundering
The overall narrative that the president is not fit to lead
Where this goes: Bannon’s comments regarding the Russian investigation lend credibility to the allegations of Russian interference and potential wrongdoing. But, as I noted on my blog earlier this week, perhaps they make no difference in the long run. More importantly, the president himself has become unglued over the book.
His lawsuit to try to stop the publishing of the book is unprecedented. God bless my Trump supporting friends, but for those who scoffed at liberal hysterics over the idea of an authoritarian Trump, let me as this: When is the last time a president tried to stop a book?
The president took to Twitter Saturday morning to refer to himself as “a very stable genius,” giving, I’m assuming, very few people additional confidence in his mental health.
Update: Bannon is now apologizing. Really??? Yes, really.
Finally, if there's one thing you should read from the past week about Wolff's book, it comes from Drew Magary at GQ. (Yes, that GQ magazine.) He writes about how Michael Wolff did what every other White House reporter was too cowardly to do: burn bridges and access to get the story. Read it here.
Meanwhile, the Feds are now investigating the Clinton Foundation. CNN says that the FBI and federal prosecutors are looking into corruption charges, specifically that the Clinton Foundation promised access to Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State.
There’s been criticism of this move. Trump demanded an investigation and got one, and Democrats have expressed outrage at the idea of a sitting president launching an investigation into a political enemy.
Why this matters: The results of the investigation, and Democrat and Republican reaction to it, will have a big impact with voters as it progresses. Which side will wind up looking like the bigger hypocrites? Republicans going after Clinton but defending Trump, or Democrats going after Trump but defending Clinton?
JG Thoughts: I would caution Democrats here. True, a president should not go after a political enemy as punishment. BUT… if a crime was committed, do Hillary and Bill get a pass just because Hillary lost? Who knows… maybe she and Trump can get indicted together.
There is speculation that Mitt Romney might make a run for Senate. Utah Senator Orrin hatch will retire and not seek re-election. Romney changed his Twitter location from Massachusetts to Utah, further fueling this speculation (and revealing, apparently, that real people get paid real money to watch these sorts of things).
Why it matters: Mitt Romney, a Republican, didn’t support Donald Trump, and hasn’t been afraid to go after him. As the Republican nominee for president in 2012, people still pay attention to him, and a Senator Romney would put a strong Republican Trump critic in the senate. Some has said he has a chance to fill a void that might be left by an ailing John McCain.
Media & Entertainment
David Letterman returns with an all-new talk show on Netflix. The new series debuts on January 12th, and his first guest will be former president Barack Obama. The name of the new show: “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.”
This says a lot about today’s media. It would seem Letterman could do this type of show anywhere. What broadcast network or cable channel wouldn’t want to have him. Instead, he’ll join the ranks of Jerry Seinfeld as another one of TV’s biggest stars doing their next project on a medium that is only available via the Internet.
Life & Culture
Pope Francis caught the media's attention heading into the new year. For people who do what I do, Francis had some advice: He called media sensationalism and disinformation a “serious sin,” and urged journalists to provide, as The Guardian reports, “precise, complete and correct information and not to provide one-sided reports.”
He also had some words of wisdom that everyone of all religious stripes (or not) can apply to 2018. In a homily at a vespers service on New Year’s Eve, he expressed gratitude for “all those persons who, every day, contribute with small but previous gestures to the common good, who seek to do their duty as well as possible.”
Advice to heed: Be grateful for what you have, and whatever your goals for 2018, try to be someone who helps.
Hope you have a wonderful week and that you are able to keep focusing on your goals for the year ahead.
Jason Griffin a political junkie who is often wrong but insists on writing about politics anyway. Follow further into the depths of political addiction by following on Facebook or Twitter. The monkey on your back thanks you.