Trump Twitter train wreck continues

President Donald Trump seems to be getting worse on Twitter. You could almost think he had nothing better to do than watch media and respond stupidly. Some supporters no doubt like the entertainment, but there must be growing concerns from those who prefer a serious White House administration.

But Trump obviously thinks his online antics are a good thing and that he can continue without adverse effects. The accumulative effects of his pettiness and distraction must be growing though.

He has overstepped the lines of presidential prudence and basic decency so many times

Washington Post: Trump veers past guardrails, feeling impervious to the uproar he causes

President Trump this week disseminated on social media three inflammatory and unverified ­anti-Muslim videos, took glee in the firing of a news anchor for sexual harassment allegations despite facing more than a dozen of his own accusers and used a ceremony honoring Navajo war heroes to malign a senator with a derogatory nickname, “Pocahontas.”

Again and again, Trump veered far past the guardrails of presidential behavior. But despite the now-routine condemnations, the president is acting emboldened, as if he were impervious to the uproar he causes.

If there are consequences for his actions, Trump does not seem to feel their burden personally. The Republican tax bill appears on track for passage, putting the president on the cusp of his first major legislative achievement. Trump himself remains the ­highest-profile man accused of sexual improprieties to keep his job with no repercussions.

Claims of his own ‘sexual improprieties’ are bad enough, but his support of others accused of similar must be problematic.

Trump has internalized the belief that he can largely operate with impunity, people close to him said. His political base cheers him on. Fellow Republican leaders largely stand by him. His staff scrambles to explain away his misbehavior — or even to laugh it off. And the White House disciplinarian, chief of staff John F. Kelly, has said it is not his job to control the president.

The reality seems to be that he can’t be controlled, or won’t be controlled.

For years, Trump has fired off incendiary tweets and created self-sabotaging controversies. The pattern captures the musings of a man who traffics in conspiracy theories and alternate realities and who can’t resist inserting himself into any story line at any moment.

“In an intensely polarized world, you can’t burn down the same house twice,” said Alex Castellanos, a GOP campaign consultant. “What has Donald Trump got to lose at this point?”

Quite a lot actually. Credibility amongst his base who may not all keep supporting him as he offends on a wide range of things. The presidency.

The USA has already lost quite a bit due to Trump’s behaviour, and could suffer for it a lot more.

Castellanos added that for many voters, and especially Trump’s base, there’s an “upside” to his bellicosity. “A strong daddy bear is what a lot of voters want,” he said. “Right or wrong, at least he’s fighting for us.”

Fighting for whom? He’s a selfish self obsessed arse who looks like he would turn on anyone.

Trump retweets inflammatory and unverified anti-Muslim videos

That will no doubt please some no mater how inappropriate it is for a President, there are still some of ‘us’ who like him and support him, or support him because the alternative is politically grave, but I don’t see Trump as a fighter for anything but his own ego.

He manipulates people and media for his own gratification.

He puts Republican politicians in a very difficult position.

On Capitol Hill, Republicans struggled Wednesday to defend the president. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said Trump’s retweets of the videos were “particularly unhelpful.”

“We don’t want to take a fringe group and elevate their content,” Graham said. “I think it also is not the message we need to be sending right now where we need, you know, Muslim allies.”

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), an outspoken Trump critic, agreed: “I just thought it was highly inappropriate. Not helpful.”

GOP strategist John Brabender said Trump’s tweets distracted from his agenda to pass a tax cuts bill and focus on the nuclear threat from North Korea. But, Brabender said, “this is not new in Donald Trump’s world.”

“We’re seeing the message hijacked by the messenger,” Brabender said. “That’s been problematic for a long time and it’s still problematic. . . . Sometimes we all just scratch our heads.”

There may not be much else they can do about Trump, until wait until he stuffs their re-election chances.

As the train engine blunders onwards carriages are likely to fall off the wreck.

From offensive to reckless

I think Donald Trump has already been reckless in his campaign, but calls are growing to put a stop to it and him.

Even Fox News are seriously questioning Trump’s actions and over the top oral outbursts.

Trump accused of advocating violence against Clinton with ‘2nd Amendment’ remark

Trump seems to suggest people use gun rights to stop Clinton

Donald Trump was accused Tuesday of advocating violence against Hillary Clinton, as he warned voters at a North Carolina rally about what a Clinton presidency would mean for the Second Amendment – though the Trump campaign later rejected the characterization of his remarks.  

The candidate made the comments after telling voters in Wilmington that his Democratic rival wants to “abolish” the Second Amendment.

“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks,” he said.

Trump then added, “Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

Almost immediately, social media lit up with accusations that Trump was essentially calling for someone to kill Clinton.

Later Tuesday, Trump told Fox News’ “Hannity” that he was referring to the political power of gun rights advocates. 

“This is a political movement,” Trump said. “This is a strong powerful movement, the Second Amendment. Hillary wants to take your guns away. She wants to leave you unprotected in your home.

“And there can be no other interpretation,” Trump said of his remarks. “I mean, give me a break.”

Trump’s campaign also slammed the “dishonest media” for the characterization of his comments.

He uses the media to put highly questionable messages out there and then blames the media for reporting and interpreting what he says.

It’s no wonder the media are not very supportive of him.

Some officials, including Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., went so far as to suggest the Secret Service investigate.

An agency spokesperson told Fox News, “The Secret Service is aware of the comment,” but would not say whether an investigation had been launched.

Michael Hayden, the former CIA director who has come out against Trump, also said on CNN: “If anybody else had said this, they’d be out in the parking lot in a police wagon being questioned by the Secret Service.”

Whether Trump wins or loses things could get out of hand and very ugly.

This is just one more response to his latest attention seeking moment.

Tomorrow’s front page THIS ISN’T A JOKE ANYMORE: The News says, Trump must end his campaign

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I doubt either Trump will end his campaign or the GOP will abandon him (it has become seriously damaging farce if the do, seriously damaging farce if they don’t) – yet at least.

But it’s looking more likely as time goes by that some sort of train wreck will be the result. The only question is whether the crash will be quick or if it will be drawn out.

The Trump train wreck

I’m shocked but not really surprised that the US political system and attendant media have enabled Donald Trump to get this far in his bid for presidency and his bid to be arguably the most powerful and potentially most dangerous person in the world.

Trump’s bid may be unravelling but that he got this far is a disturbing sign of dysfunction in the American democratic system.

National, Sabin, Osborne, train wreck

National’s Northland candidate Mark Osborne was the treasurer on ex-MP Mike Sabin’s electorate committee so will obviously have had some contact with Sabin. It has been asked (and will keep getting asked) what he knew about the police investigation of Sabin that resulted in a court case.

Osborne was interviewed by Sean Plunket on RadioLive yesterday – NORTHLAND CANDIDATE KNEW ABOUT SABIN RUMOURS.

Plunket: What political experience have you got?

Osborne: Oh look I’ve been a member of the electorate executive up here for the last three years as treasurer and Northern Zone chair.

Plunket: So you were involved in the selection of Mt Sabin?

Osborne: No I wasn’t, no I wasn’t involved back at that point.

Plunket: At all?

Osborne: No, not at all.

Plunket: Didn’t know about it. Did it just happen while you were away or something?

Osborne: Oh look it happened before my time, so ah I’ve been…

Plunket: I thought you’d been there for three years.

Osborne: Yes but ah…

Plunket: Ok, but what about his re-selection or confirmation as candidate before the last election, where you involved in that?

Osborne: Yes, yes…

Plunket: Ok so you were involved. Did you know anything about the shadows that hung over him?

Osborne: Not at all. Not a thing.

Plunket: Nothing? You didn’t, hadn’t even heard a rumour?

Osborne: Oh I saw the rumours and the…

Plunket: Oh there were rumours. And you had heard the rumours?

Osborne: Oh yes.

Plunket: Yes. Did you ask Mr Sabin or did anyone ask Mr Sabin to clarify those rumours when he was re-selected as the candidate?

Osborne: Well I can’t speak for anybody else, but ah I asked if he was ok.

Plunket: Well what do you mean, did you ask if there was anything that might damage his candidacy or the National party?

Osborne: No no I didn’t, no I just…

A novice in an awkward situation trapped by an old pro. If the timing was awry he should have jumped on it straight away.

Plunket: Why on earth not?

Osborne: Why on earth not.

Plunket: Yeah. If you’d heard the rumours.

Osborne: Well I just wanted to make sure that he was ok.

Plunket: So you wanted to make sure that he was ok, rather than the party was ok, or that he would be in a position to serve the electorate if he would be re-selected and elected as the MP.

Osborne: Oh well look this was at the very end of last year after he’d been re-elected so ah it was more just as a treasurer you know just saying you know are you ok…

Plunket: So when did you first hear the rumours Mark?

Osborne: Ah right at the very end of last year when they were in the newspaper.

Plunket: Didn’t hear them before he was re-selected…

Osborne: Oh no not at all. I knew nothing.

Still no denial that it wasn’t a known issue pre-election though.

Plunket: Ok. So you knew nothing even though you were on the executive?

Osborne: That’s right no, nothing until it was in the media…

Plunket: The executive knew nothing?

Osborne: Ah well I can’t speak for them but I certainly knew nothing.

Plunket: Well why not? You must have had meetings.

Osborne: Well we never had any meetings that discussed that.

Plunket: But when you, ok when did you confirm his re-selection as candidate before the election?

Osborne: (pause) Well I ah, I was the treasurer so ah I didn’t reconfirm his selection.

Plunket: Where you at meetings where it was discussed?

Osborne: Ah no.

Plunket: Ok. All right. So no one knew. It was just suddenly then after the election ‘Woh, there’s a problem?

Osborne: That’s right. Well from my perspective absolutely had no knowledge whatsoever.

That oozes implausible deniability.

Osborne left wide open the possibility, perhaps probability that this was a known issue before the election, but claims it wasn’t discussed at all by the executive in any meetings.

And that he knew nothing until it was in the media. Even from Dunedin I had heard rumours a month or two earlier. There have been many reports of rumours swirling in Northland.

Key’s and National’s handling of the Sabin issue has been abysmal.

The feeling I get from this is that National chose a candidate who could deny knowledge of or complicity in the Sabin issue.

Of their own doing the Sabin train had very wobbly wheels. And now they have installed a novice driver to try and drive down a very shaky track with the National Party ducking for cover en masse.

I can see a high risk of political wreckage.

Winston was always very adept at political opportunism.

     ^ likely votes  –  National’s Northland train

UPDATE: the train has a stoker – John Key to boost National’s Northland by-election campaign

He’s stuffed up on his handling of the Sabin issue so far so he may add fuel to the Sabin fire.

The Standard’s worst ambition

Like any political blog The Standard (authors and most commenters) strive to be noticed. Most of them want to be seen as relevant in the political discourse. The Standard has built up an enviable audience. It is one of the most active blogs in the country, and the biggest covering the left of the political spectrum.

Until recently it was known more for it’s frequent over the top attempts to damage the credibility of John Key and National, even to bring down the Government. It was difficult to take frequently absurd claims seriously – in fact it was easy to not take them seriously.

The Standard put much less effort into promoting Labour policies and MPs.

A week before the Labour conference a blog by ‘Eddie’ started a string of posts and numerous comments focussing on Labour leadership. Most were highly critical of David Shearer – following Eddie were posts from Irish Bill, QoT and lprent. Mike Smith and Anthony Robins defended Shearer and the party but they were generally overwhelmed by the pseudonyms.

Responding to the noise David Shearer, Andrew Little and Clayton Cosgrove all dissed The Standard, calling it ‘nonsense’ and not to be listened to. This created an uproar. The people from The Standard wanted desperately to be heard, to be taken seriously, by MPS and by mainstream media.

This led into the ill-fated Labour conference over the weekend, the perceived leadership challenge and the over-reaction by Shearer defenders which led to Cunliffe’s demotion.

This fueled more angst at The Standard, with post after post and an avalanche of comments expressing frustration and anger at the divide between the Labout caucus and the wider party. Some tried to defend Shearer, notably Mike Smith in Keystone coups Mark 2, but the anti feeling dominated.

And this continues. Last night QOT posted After the firefight, all that did was prove the fight was not yet over. It looks like extending with fury until the showdown in February.

The Standard has become a fascinating look inside Labour activism and angst. Much has been revealed, both deliberately and inadvertently. Most of all major differences and anger have been revealed inside Labour.

The Standard wantd to be a serious political player. Some at The Standard deliberately provoked a debate on Labour leadership.That wish came true.

But their wish for political relevance has not panned out how they would have hoped. It could be said that their worst ambition has come true, but they are demolishing the wrong party, shitting in the left nest.

The Standard bears some responsibility for and has become a spotlight on the Labour trainwreck.

It will be interesting to see how long The Standard continues it’s bloodletting.

It would also be interesting to see if it was possible for this new found fame to be used to do something more, something the Labour caucus seem incapable of.

Can The Standard start to put the mess behind them and take a leading role in reconciling, repairing and recovering? This would take a concerted effort from a number of contributors, and a major change in attitude amongst many.

Or has the iron horse bolted, and too many of them too hellbent on the February showdown? By then the Labour train may be right off the rails.