The Sunday Morning news fest was particularly exciting this week. Much of it was consumed by Donald Trump’s new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci. He made the rounds to demonstrate that he’s a sufficiently sizable asshole to represent this president. What America learned, for the most part part, was that he “loves” Donald Trump, which he said repeatedly. Plus, he gushed about Trump’s near divine perfection as a communicator and a leader. Good work, Mooch.
However, no Sunday is complete without the screwball antics of White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway. She was interviewed by Brian Stelter on CNN’s Reliable Sources. And she lived up to her low standards for honesty and rational discourse. The conversation focused on the many scandals that have dogged the White House. Conway was surprised at the very notion and refuted it fiercely. And in a shockingly candid appraisal of the President’s proclivity for bald-face lies, Conway served up a unique justification:
Stelter: The scandals are the President’s lies. About voter fraud. About wiretapping. His repeated lies about those issues. That’s the scandal.
Conway: He doesn’t think he’s lying about those issues, and you know it.
Stelter went easy on Conway. There are literally hundreds of other demonstrable falsehoods that Trump has shamelessly uttered. But Conway is adopting the “Costanza Principle,” famously introduced in an episode of Seinfeld. Jerry’s friend George was advising him on how to beat a lie detector test. “If you believe it,” said George, “then it’s not a lie.” And now that principle has been put to the test in the “real” world of Kellyanne’s “alternative facts.” Stelter pointed out that just because the President says something, even if he believes it, doesn’t mean that it isn’t still untrue. But that was a concept that would be over the head of any Trump advisor.
In the same interview, Stelter’s reference to the many scandals plaguing the Trump administration seemed to come as a surprise to Conway. That led to this exchange:
Stelter: This is a White House in crisis whether you recognize it or not.
Conway: Why? I work there. Where do you get that?
Conway’s oblivious response ignores the fact that Trump is under investigation by the FBI, the GOP-controlled Senate and House, and an independent counsel. She also appears not to have noticed that Trump’s attempts to kill ObamaCare have failed. Or that his border wall is still a wingnut fantasy. Or that his immigration policies are stalled. And nothing has been on done taxes or infrastructure, or terrorism. This is likely the least productive administration in decades, despite Trump’s ludicrous claims to the contrary.
What’s more, Trump has the worst approval ratings of any president in modern history. Conway had an explanation for that which made no sense whatsoever:
“Part of the disapproval are the independents who voted for him and want him to ignore all the nonsense, and all the noise, and all the Russia nonsense. That’s part of it. Part of it are people upset with Congress. The President’s approval rating is far higher than the approval rating of the media or the Congress, and there’s a reason for that.”
So Trump’s abysmal ratings are due to his own supporters giving him poor marks because they don’t like Congress? Yeah, that’s the ticket. As for Trump vs. the media, numerous polls have shown that, given a choice, majorities of voters trust the media more. That includes the “failing” New York Times and “fake” news CNN.
Conway was insistent that CNN and others were pushing the “phony” stories about Russia. She suggested that they should cover real stories instead. Then she gave as an example that “millions of Americans don’t have healthcare.” Which is an interesting choice since her boss is advocating a bill that would would take healthcare away from 32 million more Americans. And of course, that story has been covered extensively across the spectrum of media.
It’s morbidly entertaining to watch Trump’s staff and surrogates struggle to put his disastrous administration in a positive light. There are no plausible arguments that can make any of this sound less than catastrophic. Consequently, their efforts seem more and more absurd and desperate. You have to wonder what they think of themselves at the end of a day of this futile spinning. But then, since they work for Donald Trump, what could they think of themselves anyway.