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Morning Briefing: Trump Provokes Another Morning of Chaos and Panic

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | October 10, 2017 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | October 10, 2017 |

I had collected a lot of stories before I went to bad last night that I wanted to talk about this morning, but by the time the morning rolled around, most of those stories felt like distant memories. There’s a whole new can of shit this morning to contend with, and at some point, you have to ask, ‘How much do you guys really want to know?’ I like you people. I don’t want to break you. The weight of the news cycle — with Trump, Bob Corker, and Harvey Weinstein — is overwhelming at the moment.

I mean, when I went to bed last night, this was the big story of the day (from WashPo):

Frustrated by his Cabinet and angry that he has not received enough credit for his handling of three successive hurricanes, President Trump is now lashing out, rupturing alliances and imperiling his legislative agenda, numerous White House officials and outside advisers said Monday.

In a matter of days, Trump has torched bridges all around him, nearly imploded an informal deal with Democrats to protect young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, and plunged himself into the culture wars on issues ranging from birth control to the national anthem.

Well, things have only gotten worse. For your sanity, I’m going to try and limit ourselves to the major highlights.

John Kelly on the Hot Seat — For instance, when Vanity Fair writes, “there are signs that the rift between [General John] Kelly and his boss may be irreparable,” that seems like a big deal, because unlike Priebus, I don’t think any of us really want John Kelly to be fired. “According to conversations with four prominent Republicans close to the White House, Trump has grown frustrated with Kelly in recent weeks at what he sees as Kelly’s highhandedness. ‘They’re fighting a lot,’ one source explained.”

“He doesn’t love this job. He’s doing it as a duty for the country,” one person close to Kelly said.

I believe that. And what’s the alternative to Kelly at this point. NO ONE takes that job except maybe Roger Stone, and where will we be then? John Kelly: You’re kind of a terrible person, but you’re less terrible than the alternative (the alternative being unfiltered Trump).

Trump challenges Rex Tillerson to an IQ Test — This is where we are now, folks. In the middle of reality show hell. The President — who once said, “I have a good brain” — has challenged the Secretary of State to an IQ test, according to statements he made in an interview with Forbes. “I think it’s fake news,” Trump said of reports that Tillerson called him a moron, “but if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.”

I can’t tell you who is going to win, but I can tell you who is going to lose: Every goddamn one of us.

What does this even mean? — Is Trump calling out the Times or “Liddle Bob Corker”?

The Failing @nytimes set Liddle' Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that's what I am dealing with!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2017

I read the transcript. Corker knew he was on the record. In fact, he had two of his own aides recording the conversation to ensure that the Times didn’t misquote him. He didn’t sound like a “fool” to me. He sounded like a guy who was fed up, and who is legitimately afraid that Donald Trump’s erratic behavior is going to lead us to World War III.

Meanwhile, Stephen Bannon called on Corker to resign last night.

Steve Bannon: "If Bob Corker has any honor, any decency, he should resign immediately."

— 🇺🇸Patriot 24/7🇺🇸 (@TrumpTrain45Pac) October 10, 2017

There’s a lot more to the Corker story, but at a certain point, it’s just all white noise. The long and short of it is this: Republicans are not repeating what Corker is saying, but they’re not disagreeing with him, either. Mealy mouthed Mitch McConnell said it best, when he used a lot of words to say nothing at all:

Via AP's @adambeam in Hazard, Ky:

— Erica Werner (@ericawerner) October 9, 2017

Trump’s Polling Numbers — Look, for what it’s worth, Trump’s approval ratings have fallen in every single state since January. In fact, there are only 12 states now that approve of Trump by 51 percent or more, and those states are exactly the ones you’d expect. Some of those swing states are still swingy (Florida is 47/47 approve/disapprove), but others decidedly less so: Wisconsin: 41/53; Pennsylvania: 44/50; and Michigan: 39/54 are all swinging decidedly against the President. Ohio is closer at 45/48.

Meanwhile, where the major swing Senate elections are next year, Nevada and Arizona, polls are trending poorly for Trump: In Arizona, it’s 44/51 approve/disapprove, and in Nevada, it’s 43/51 approve/disapprove. Check out your state here.

Final Word — Finally, in case you want to get a feel for who we are dealing with in Stephen Miller, the Times reports — and confirms — that he once jumped into a girls’ track meet to prove that men are faster than women. (The Times does not say where he placed).

He jumped, uninvited, into the final stretch of a girls’ track meet, apparently intent on proving his athletic supremacy over the opposite sex. (The White House, reaching for exculpatory context, noted that this was a girls’ team from another school, not his own.)

This. Fucking. Administration.

Oh, one more thing: Melania thinks she’s in prison.


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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.