After first embarrassing himself by declaring it cancelled, Dear Leader then went on to embarrass himself by actually meeting with editors and reporters from the New York Times yesterday. To its credit, the Times insisted that the meeting be on the record, allowing it to publish some of Trump’s biggest howlers. To wit: denying that Steve Bannon is a white supremacist, claiming he wouldn’t have hired Bannon if Bannon was a white supremacist, denying that Breitbart is a white supremacist hackfest, and denouncing white supremacists. Except, of course, for the ones he’s hired.
It might seem that much of the meeting was spent chatting about white supremacists. And given Trump’s evident pattern of hiring racists and white supremacists as advisers and cabinet members, we’re a bit surprised the Times found time to talk about anything else. Much to our relief, Trump also had a chance to deny that his various business interests – interests he seems determined to keep under his control even as he supposedly tends to the nation’s affairs here and abroad – pose any ethical conflicts. Because, you see, “the law is totally on my side, meaning, the President can’t have a conflict of interest.” Rather Nixon-esque, don’t you think? Crooks of a feather, we suppose.
The Editorial Board later opined on the interview, and in doing so showed remarkable charity and journalistic restraint. For example, the Board characterized as “thinly thought through” several of Trump’s policy positions. The Laughing Chimps might have opted instead for “all the coherence of a rabid, meth-addled tasmanian devil smoking bath salts,” or “policies that are thinner than hammered piss,” but that’s just us. Ever the optimists, the Board held out hope that Trump’s administration might not end up being the dumpster fire that was his campaign. “Mr. Trump’s apparent flexibility [LCs – emphasis ours – read ‘willingness to say anything at any time, depending on the audience and the circumstances’], combined with his lack of depth on policy, might be grounds to hope he will steer a wiser course than the one plotted by his campaign.” Indeed. Keep hope alive.
In the end, however, the Editorial Board wisely chose not to pull any punches. Here’s the money line, which, we’re quite sure, left Trump cursing the hallowed halls of the Gray Lady while jumping up and down, pumping his fists, and ordering Reince Priebus to deny anyone from the Times a White House press credential:
“Ronald Reagan used to say that in dealing with the Soviet Union, the right approach was to ‘trust, but verify.’ For now, that’s also the right approach to take with Mr. Trump. Except, regrettably, for the trust part.”