Of course, we are speaking about President Trump’s press conference on Friday. He reportedly came into the Oval Office on Friday morning and said we will have a press conference today. That’s a decision from a totally confident leader who is utterly secure. President Trump had seen his team botch the response to “fake”, made up turmoil and decided he had to take control.
People reacted to the press conference and President Trump’s blunt talk the way they think of him. Those who hate him were aghast. Those who like him said “wow” to borrow a term from Melissa Francis of Fox. The most interesting comment came from Chris Mathews of MSNBC. In the midst of partisan venom on his show, Chris said “there was no BS”. And that is the absolutely best takeaway from the press conference.
Donald Trump became President because the voters believed him to be a guy who spoke his mind and did what he said. He has been doing what he promised with his executive orders. But he has been silent with the people. Finally on Friday, he spoke to the people under the guise of speaking with the White House reporters. And he spoke his mind. It was like the people once again saw the guy they had voted for and were reassured he had not been pressured or bullied by Washington DC.
In addition, President Trump did something very vital, something very few Presidents would or could have done. Think back to the last few days. The resignation of General Flynn had damaged not only his standing but the prospect of any improvement of relations with Russia. The NeoCons & NeoLibs were in full attack mode against Russia. In turn, Russia had taken some aggressive steps including placing a spy ship 30 miles from American coast.
Almost every other President and every single officer/politician would have been forced to say tough & nasty things about Russia. That would have been the politically smart thing to do, especially for a President with turmoil-ridden White House staff.
But that’s where President Trump showed he is smart, decisive and made of sterner stuff. Not only did he break out of the trap, he blew it apart.
First he made it clear he understood what would be politically good for him:
- ” … the greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that is 30 miles offshore right out of the water; every one in this country is going to say oh; he is so great; you got to understand if I was just brutal on Russia right now, people would say isn’t that wonderful; it would be much easier for me to be so tough; the tougher I am on Russia the better…”
Then he did something that would have been almost impossible for an American President to do. He essentially dismissed all the “serious” things Russia has done recently – placing a spy ship 30 miles from American coast, a ballistic missile test, deploying of a cruise missile in violation of a treaty. Virtually every reporter & anchor was exhorting him to respond forcefully; politicians on both sides were demanding actions against Putin. But President Trump did something that only a completely secure, confident & strong leader can do.
He simply said he could understand why Putin did those things recently:
- “I want to tell you, the false horrible fake reporting makes it much harder to make a deal with Russia & probably Putin said, … you know he is sitting behind his desk & he said, you know its got to be impossible for President Trump to ever get along with Russia because of all the pressure he has got with this fake story.”
- “when did it happen? it happened when if u were Putin right now, u would say hey, we are back to the old games with the United States”
Then he reaffirmed his basic conviction and sent a signal to Putin & Russia:
- “I would love to be able to get along with Russia; you have had a lot of Presidents that haven’t taken that tack; look where we are now; look where we are now…”
- “I love to negotiate things; I do it really well; Its possible I won’t be able to get along with him; but I want to tell you, the false horrible fake reporting makes it much harder to make a deal with Russia … I don’t know that we are going to make a deal; I don’t know we might, we might not; … that’s a shame; because if we could get along with Russia & by the way with China, Japan & everyone, if we could get along, it would be a positive thing and not a negative thing;”
- “We are a very powerful nuclear country and so are they; there is no upside; a nuclear holocaust would be like no other”
- “… but you know what I want to do the right thing for the American people; if Russia and the United States got together; got along; if we have a good relationship with Russia, believe me, that’s a good thing not a bad thing;
It is hard to overstate what President Trump achieved with these words & this signal. First & foremost, he rose very high in the estimation of Putin, Russian diplomats/generals and in the estimation of world leaders. In the final analysis, world affairs and affairs between countries rest on the personal respect & trust leaders enjoy from their counterparts.
Secondly his message was to ignore all the noise and bull emanating from Washington DC. And finally, Putin received the clearest signal that Trump is the best & only alternative to the anti-Russian fervor of NeoCons & NeoLibs. That very simply enhances the negotiating leverage Trump has with Putin.
Frankly, Ronald Reagan couldn’t have done it better and Donald Trump is still in the first month of his presidency.
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