Fair and Unbalanced

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Mike Littwin

"The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles."

Littwin: Trump is not quite so funny if you’ve sought sanctuary in a church basement

Littwin: Trump is not quite so funny if you’ve sought sanctuary in a church basement

At least at one point in his unsurprisingly unhinged news conference Thursday, Donald Trump told the truth. This is headline stuff, because generally, as we know, Trump prefers to traffic in either alternative truths, gross exaggerations or outright lies.

But he was up there for 77 minutes, so it was bound to happen. Not, of course, when he said his administration was a “fine-tuned machine” or when he asserted that the rollout of his immigration executive orders was “very smooth.” No, it came when he explained that he wasn’t ranting or raving — as he was sure his erratic performance would be described  — but insisted, instead, that he was enjoying himself and that he loved mixing it up with the dishonest media.

And it was clearly true because, let’s face it, this was a rare opportunity for Trump to be Trump, who has the press at the top of his enemies list. For most of the hellishly long four weeks he has been on the job, Trump has been a disaster — true news that he tries to explain away with his morning tweets or with his afternoon Spicer. Neither is working. The tweets are starting to be ignored and Spicer has been Melissa McCarthyed into a late-night punch line.

The news conference was his way toward a Trump reset, in which he’d be the Trump everyone remembered before the job started — you know, back when he was an authoritarian in training. We guessed he’d be a disaster but couldn’t know just how chaotic and dangerous that would be.

It doesn’t have to be said that there has been no president like Trump. No president who claims, as if he’s a college freshman bragging about college board scores, that he had the biggest electoral win since Reagan. (Fact: It was the sixth biggest since 1984; that’s sixth out of eight.) And when asked to explain, he said he’d “seen that information around.”

Real presidents don’t call the Michael Flynn/Russia scandal a “ruse” and “fake news” promulgated by the media to divert our attemption from, yes, Hillary Clinton’s November defeat, as if anyone other than Trump is thinking about Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, he blames leaks and fake news for Michael Flynn being fired when, of course, it was Trump who fired him. And as to why the news was fake: “The leaks,” he explained, “are real. You know what they said, you saw it, and the leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake.”

And in maybe the highlight moment, out of dozens, he asks a black reporter if she knows the people at the Black Congressional Caucus — because, well, they’re all black — and could set up a meeting with them for him. Or maybe it was when he said he was “insulted” by a softball question from a reporter wearing a yarmulke about rising anti-Semitism.

I could go on, but I won’t because that makes it seem as if Trump is just a joke. He’s not just a joke. The unfunny moment that stuck with me — and I’m guessing the moment that stuck wth Jeanette Vizguerra, the undocumented immigrant and mother of three American-citizen children who has taken sanctuary from ICE agents in Denver’s First Unitarian Society church — was Trump’s answer to a question about immigrants: “We have begun a nationwide effort to remove criminal aliens, gang members, drug dealers and others who pose a threat to public safety. We are saving American lives every single day.”

It’s not clear whose lives he saved when ICE agents were set to deport Vizguerra. Her crime is that she came to the United States illegally 20 years ago and was arrested in 2009 for using a fake ID to get a job. That’s it. Not a gang member. Not a drug dealer. Not a rapist. It was time for her annual check-in appointment with ICE, but she knew about the Dreamer who had been arrested in Seattle and the woman taken from the battered shelter in El Paso, and she thought better of it. And so she called in the dishonest press to tell them the truth, that the church was her sanctuary, basically daring Trump to come get her. He won’t. It’s a church, and Trump might take on a pope, but not a church.

It was under Obama that Vizguerra got her deportation papers, but it was also under Obama that the orders were annually delayed because, well, she’s not a danger. She’s an undocumented immigrant who chose not to return to the shadows, where millions are consigned. This refusal to deal with our large and often desperate undocumented population is an ugly chapter in America history and part of the ugly reason that Donald Trump is president.

But there’s more to it than that. Vizguerra, a community activist, has the direct support of Rep. Jared Polis and Mayor Michael Hancock, and her retreat to the church also gives lie to the whole sanctuary city ruse. In Denver, we’re arguing about whether to defiantly proclaim in writing that we’re a sanctuary city, with the rules put down on paper.

The sad truth is that whatever local laws are passed, Denver can’t protect Vizguerra. Police can refuse to cooperate on detainers. Sheriffs can refuse to provide more information than the law requires. ICE can be forced to get actual warrants. And the threat to cut off funds from cities like Denver can rightly be seen as a hollow threat, just as the reported memo of the National Guard’s use as a deportation force is almost certainly a hollow threat.

Trump may be president, but this is still America.

But in Trump’s America, he can take the podium to thrill his base and simultaneously leave the rest of the nation slack-jawed. It is funny in that funny/sad way. Unless you’re one of the millions like Vizguerra. Living in a church basement. Facing the most uncertain of uncertain futures, for her and her children. With nowhere else to turn. And for whom it’s not a joke at all.

 

Photo of Jeanette Vizguerra courtesy of Vizguerra

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About the Author

Mike Littwin

He has covered Dr. J, four presidential inaugurations, six national conventions and countless brain-numbing speeches in the New Hampshire and Iowa snow.
mlittwin@coloradoindependent.com | Twitter @mike_littwin

3 Comments

  1. Don Lopez on said:

    Clown car seen leaving scene of HRC disaster.

    “Hiding news that doesn’t fit an ideological or a partisan agenda is perhaps the worst form of media bias. And it’s one more reason the public holds the press is such low esteem.” – Investor’s Business Daily

    “Look, everyone knows there will never be a President Trump.” – Mike Littwin, July 2015

    }{

    The over/under on the number of times the astonishingly childish Mr. Littwin will refer to Donald Trump as President Trump is 1.5. I’m betting under.

    And in the latest round of fake news—-eagerly spread by Mr. Littwin—-the Department of Homeland Security is not considering use of the National Guard to apprehend illegal aliens. This from the Daily Beast:

    “The Department of Homeland Security is roundly condemning an Associated Press story that broke Friday morning about considering the use of the National Guard to “round up” undocumented immigrants. The DHS says that isn’t true, and—contra the AP’s reporting—that DHS Secretary John Kelly didn’t write the draft memo.

    “The Department is not considering mobilizing the National Guard,” said Gillian Christensen, the acting press secretary for DHS.”

    General Flynn’s resignation has made Mr. Littwin happier than FBI Director James Comey when he recommended no criminal charges against Hillary Clinton. For those keeping score at home that recommendation marked the beginning of Mr. Littwin’s extremely short pro-James Comey period which, along with Hillary Clinton’s political career, ended in November.

    And in the latest—-but certainly not the last—-stunning pot calling the kettle black moment, Mr. Littwin has labeled General Flynn “unhinged”. And speaking of unhinged, liberal columnist E.J. Dionne has unilaterally declared President Trump unfit for office despite President Trump being in the White House less than one month.

    You can’t make this stuff up!

    Mr. Littwin also doesn’t mention this from the Washington Beacon:

    “The abrupt resignation Monday evening of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump’s national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, according to multiple sources in and out of the White House who described to the Washington Free Beacon a behind-the-scenes effort by these officials to plant a series of damaging stories about Flynn in the national media.”

    And if, as Mr. Littwin has said, General Flynn is “unhinged” how would Mr. Littwin have described President Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s behavior after the September 11, 2012 attack on Benghazi? This from thefederalist.com:

    “Rice went on several Sunday shows (on September 16, 2012) to peddle a story she knew was completely phony, one that was already quickly unraveling even as most in the media and administration tried to keep it intact. went on several Sunday shows to peddle a story she knew was completely phony, one that was already quickly unraveling even as most in the media and administration tried to keep it intact.

    In a press gaggle on Air Force One the next day, guess how many times Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked about Rice’s comments? Ten? Five? One? Not once. Let me repeat that. The day after Obama’s national security advisor was on five news programs to blame a terrorist attack on a YouTube video, not one reporter asked the White House about it. I actually had to re-read the transcripts several times, even checking the date over and over, to make sure this was accurate. Her name did not even come up.

    No discussion about the investigation. No discussion about emerging evidence from around the world that Benghazi was indeed a terrorist attack. (The only time it was mentioned was when Jen Psaki criticized Mitt Romney’s comments about how the administration handled Benghazi and questioned whether he was ready for “primetime.”)

    Here’s what they did discuss: Debate prep, Occupy Wall Street, and the Chicago’s teachers strike. An actual human reporter asked this: “It was a beautiful weekend for golf and he wasn’t out on the course. Is it safe to assume maybe he was doing some preparation at the White House?” WHAT? Then they joked about football and “Saturday Night Live.””

    Had Mr. Littwin been employed at the time of the Benghazi attack he surely would have been outraged that an Obama administration official had gone on five(5) television shows and knowingly lied to the American people.

    Or not.

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    “Video footage from a town hall meeting in Cudahy, California shows an African-American Trump supporter passionately slamming sanctuary cities as a racist assault on the black community.

    “Sanctuary cities are racist – black communities have been destroyed by illegal immigration,” says the woman, adding that the situation called for a “second civil rights movement.”

    Tracing her ancestry back to slave ships, the woman said, “I’m not going anywhere….sanctuary cities are racist, all the jobs are going to illegals….that is wrong, you’re not going to be allowed to get away with it….the black community has been destroyed by racist illegal immigration and we’re not gonna have it.” – infowars.com

    “Such a narrative is unsurprising given the media’s continual underestimation of Trump, and the proliferation of hysterical narratives charging Trump with treason,racism, or reckless inexperience.

    What should not be lost in the non-stop uproar is this small reality: in the first round of exchanges between Trump and Xi, it is advantage Trump.
    Why? The U.S. policy on China never changed; the One China policy has been in effect all through the early weeks of the Trump administration. But by raising the question, Trump is now able to get credit for reaffirming something he wasn’t ever going to change. His reaffirmation of a 30 year-old boilerplate piece of American foreign policy is now a “gesture toward China.” As an ex-CIA expert quoted by the FT puts it, by reaffirming this longstanding policy, “President Trump opens the ground for a constructive dialogue with Beijing on the difficult but resolvable issues of rebalancing the trading relationship that has tilted in Beijing’s favour.”” – american-interest.com

    “Addressing the 2017 MAKERS conference, where a bunch of mostly well-off, left-leaning ladies get together in California to celebrate the “trailblazing women of today and tomorrow,” ( Mrs. Hillary) Clinton delivered the usual hazy feminist boilerplate. But amid the vague calls for women to “dare greatly” and “lead boldly” and break glass ceilings, there was also this doozy of a line: “Despite all the challenges we face,” Clinton said, “I remain convinced that, yes, the future is female.

    Ah, there it is: the old “future is female” line, back with a vengeance in 2017. It was first trotted out in 1975, according to the New York Times, on a T-shirt designed at a feminist bookstore in New York City. In 2015, the shirt made a comeback, worn by celebrities and devout feminists alike, thanks to a Los Angeles graphic-design studio that is, at least according to the Times, “the kind of place where one can buy clip-on Susan Sontag white streaks for $25 and attend a workshop called ‘Devotions: Self-Care for Modern Witches.’” – nationalreview.com

    November 08, 2016

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Greenlight a Vet
    Folds of Honor
    Special Operations Warriors Foundation
    Garysinisefoundation.org
    Veterans Day – November 10, 2017

  2. Rafael Sanchez on said:

    Came here 20 years ago, stole someone’s id and still doesn’t speak English. Ya Mikie she’s a real keeper.

  3. Jay D on said:

    Good point, Rafael. Those on the left seem to choose what facts to ignore. And, of course, the right does the same thing. It sure would be nice to have some true objective reporting, wouldn’t it? But that won’t happen here…

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