WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump called a press conference Thursday to announce his new Labor secretary pick, after in the morning focusing on catching “low-life leakers” and attacking the media – again – in Twitter posts.
The press conference, the second in two days, will be at 11:30 a.m. Chicago time. Trump’s first Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder pulled out on Wednesday when it was clear he did not the GOP Senate support to get him confirmed. One factor: he employed an undocumented housekeeper and a former wife once accused him of abuse, a claim she made on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” she later withdrew.
From earlier today, obviously changed because of the press conference: With a light day today — a Congressional listening session, a meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions are highlights – and a lot going on over on Capitol Hill – the storyline on the cable news channels is likely to stay on Trump-in-chaos.
Fuel to the fire: Trump, who has bragged about his multiple Time Magazine covers – all flattering – now has a withering cover in the upcoming edition for his wall: With Trump’s long red tie flapping in the cover art, Time’s headline is “Nothing to See Here.”
Fact front: The Fact Checker in the Washington Post awarded three Pinocchios to Trump’s “claim that there’s ‘tremendous amount of increase’ in autism cases.”
Conclusion: “About one in 68 children in the country has been identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, according to the CDC’s 2016 report. That was the same rate as 2014 — just after a new, broader definition of autism was released. That’s about all we know so far. Trump characterized it as an increasingly common disorder, but there’s not enough research and no medical consensus as to whether autism is on the rise. We award Trump Three Pinocchios.”
Trump’s Twitter Thursday:
“The Democrats had to come up with a story as to why they lost the election, and so badly (306), so they made up a story – RUSSIA. Fake news!” 8:39 a.m. Eastern Time
“FAKE NEWS media, which makes up stories and “sources,” is far more effective than the discredited Democrats – but they are fading fast!” 8:10 a.m. Eastern Time
“The spotlight has finally been put on the low-life leakers! They will be caught!” 6:02 a.m. Eastern Time
“Leaking, and even illegal classified leaking, has been a big problem in Washington for years. Failing @nytimes (and others) must apologize!” 5:58 a.m. Eastern Time
Backstory: For the past few days, Trump has been fixated on leaks.
When they are aimed at someone else, he’s for them.
Back during the campaign, Trump taunted Hillary Clinton: “Russia, if you are listening, I hope you find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”
Now he is against leaks, the source of stories that led to Flynn’s downfall for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.
ICYMI: To catch you up, during a joint press conference on Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump called the deposed Flynn a “wonderful man,” who is a victim of leaks.
“Flynn is a wonderful man. I think he’s been treated very, very unfairly by the media — as I call it, the fake media, in many cases. And I think it’s really a sad thing that he was treated so badly. I think, in addition to that, from intelligence — papers are being leaked, things are being leaked. It’s criminal actions, criminal act, and it’s been going on for a long time — before me. But now it’s really going on, and people are trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the Democrats had under Hillary Clinton.
“I think it’s very, very unfair what’s happened to General Flynn, the way he was treated, and the documents and papers that were illegally — I stress that — illegally leaked. Very, very unfair.”
The New York Times is reporting that Trump tapped billionaire Stephen Feinberg, the co-founder of Cerberus Capital Management, to review U.S. spy agencies, a move that “raised anxiety within the agencies that the review could curtail their independence.”
“Stock market hits new high with longest winning streak in decades. Great level of confidence and optimism – even before tax plan rollout! 5:34 a.m. Eastern Time
Backstory: Trump does not cite which index he has in mind, but overall in the U.S. the markets have been climbing.
From a post in the Thursday Business Insider: “In any event, there has been a sizable run-up in the stock market since the election, and all three major indexes stand at record highs.
“Trump’s Thursday-morning tweet also cited a “great level of confidence.” There have been recent highs in the two main measures of consumers confidence, though they have slipped in the past month.
At-A-Glance: What is driving the Trump White House in chaos and turmoil stories? Here are a few factors:
- On Wednesday Trump’s Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder withdrew his name when it was clear he did not have the GOP Senate support to get him confirmed. On Tuesday, now former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was pushed out because he misled Pence about his contact with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S.
- The Republican-controlled Congress is launching multiple probes of Russian ties to Trump world.
- Stories of toxic rival power centers in the Trump White House. To quell that line of inquiry, White House senior adviser Steve Bannon and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus did a joint interview with Time’s Zeke Miller.“Speaking to TIME in the Cabinet Room, Priebus and Bannon said reports of personal drama couldn’t be further from the truth. They described themselves and senior Trump aide Jared Kushner as an effective team. Bannon and Priebus acknowledged that they sometimes don’t see eye-to-eye on the pace of implementing Trump’s agenda. But they described such disagreement as a strength. Bannon, who has been outspoken in calling for swifter change, said Priebus’ relative caution is an effective counterbalance. “The reason knives are out for him is because of the great job he’s doing,” Bannon said.”