Finally I got a chance to watch President Trump’s infamous press conference of the other day in its entirety where it was widely reported I think that he had a meltdown the like of which had never been seen in at least the modern history of the U.S. presidency.
Didn’t see the meltdown or the president going off the rails.
I am no Trump supporter. I think he is the worst thing to happen to our government in my lifetime — which I marked at 68 years this past Sunday. Richard Nixon runs a close second.
But back to the news conference. Trump did not make an official statement on the violence in Charlottesville, Va. , rather his comments came in a series of answers to questions from reporters. The press conference was supposed to be about his infrastructure plan (whatever it may be) but rather quickly degenerated into a hostile and/or combative repartee between Trump and the press or the “media” as they are pejoratively called in these modern times — implying that it is a hostile and unified force, usually thought to be consisted of primarily liberal-oriented folks who have no respect for all that is good, such as mom and apple pie and the flag, with their sole mission being to tear down that part of the establishment that is more conservative.
But I did have to listen to the thing in its entirety (forget how long) to realize that during it Mr. Trump to me appeared to disassociate himself with and condemn white nationalists and neo-Nazis. But since he also continued to claim that there were forces from the left goading them on or even starting the violence, it is reported that he failed once again to single out the torch-bearing Nazi storm trooper-like participants. Trump claimed that there were law-abiding citizens on both sides who simply wanted to exercise their right to protest over the issue of retaining symbols of the old Confederacy and the human bondage that it represented. He also questioned the idea of removing statues, and I think he said it was like trying to rewrite history. Of course the complaint from those opposing keeping the statues (this is happening all over) is that they represent a cause in our Civil War that fought to maintain human bondage, as I just mentioned. Trump countered that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson (among others) were slave holders and questioned whether they should be stricken from the respectful side of our history.
That to me that is an argument for another time. I understand historical interest. I can never, never understand how it was thought human bondage, slavery, was OK.
You know, I spent some time in what people now call “the media” but it was in the small time. The largest newspaper I worked on claimed it had a circulation of 12,000, not only is that small potatoes, I know that papers used to fudge on those statistics to try to enhance their ad revenue. But I mention this to say that it was my experience that as a reporter you face the pressure to write what everyone else is writing. If not you get grilled by your editors and even the public who might wonder which riot you attended — well I never covered a riot. But I did cover endless public meetings and some political races. I wished I remembered the details but once when I was working at that larger paper which was up against some high-powered media in the state capital I was asked by my editor why my story was not like theirs.
But Trump is a bad dude no doubt. Even so, in my opinion formed by watching the long version of his press conference, rather than short clips, not all of the press was accurate on this one. I didn’t see Trump’s meltdown but someone suggested that I am just acclimated to his nonsense by now. What I saw was a combative president taking questions head on. Did he answer them directly or did he answer them truthfully? Does any president? All the time?
Even so, Trump appears to be digging himself into a hole.
And you know what they say about that predicament.
So what really happened at Charlottesville? Who did what and when? You probably had to be there. But then you would be like a low-ranking soldier in the middle of a battle, you might not see the whole picture. If you really cared to know and if you had the time you could scour various sources and analyze it all. The most informative account I have seen so far was a story in the LA Times composed of comments from various people on the scene, from white supremacists to counter protestors to reporters and photographers and maybe others who just happened to be there. I guess I have to conclude that there would not have been any trouble if the white supremacist goons had stayed home. Too bad they weren’t just laughed out of the place. But it was deadly and no laughing matter.