Cliff Schecter is a political columnist for The Daily Beast, president of PR firm Libertas LLC and a gun safety activist. He contributed this post for our Take Action section. Some days it can seem like we should just give up. You’re just processing…
Donald Trump's record was again torched Saturday with some new General Services Administration (GSA) data showing that his administration fell fall short of its claims about how much border wall it built -- and that it fudged the numbers as well.
But as Trump prepares to tour some of the small amount of wall he did build, perhaps just as humiliating was the rough treatment he got from the conservative Washington Times. His home team newspaper greeted its readers Monday with this large, top-of-Page-1 headline reading:
"Trump's claims on construction of border wall system undercut by GAO audit."
The body of the story wasn't any gentler:
"Congress' chief auditor sure knows how to rain on former President Donald Trump's parade.
"As Mr. Trump prepares to make his first post-presidency trip to the border next week, the Government Accountability Office has delivered a scorching report card on his border wall. It calculates that he completed only 69 miles of the wall system he promised Americans — not the more than 450 miles he claimed.
"The GAO said the administration front-loaded construction of fence panels to meet Mr. Trump's deadline, and that meant shortchanging the roads, lights and other technology for the highly touted "wall system."
"Although 458 miles of new fence panels were erected before Mr. Trump left office, just 69 miles had all of the components that the Border Patrol had planned.
"While the wall panels are typically the most costly part of border barrier construction, the full wall system remains incomplete," the GAO said."
"That appears to undercut Mr. Trump's claims in recent months that the wall has been finished but for some "small remaining openings in areas of the almost 500-mile long wall."
"Mr. Trump's office didn't respond to a request for comment for this article."
The rest of the Washington Times front page contained articles far less likely to evoke cries of "Fake News!" from Trump world -- including tomes on parents hating critical race theory and a new outrage: "Liberals remember Alamo for slavery." So, the Times hasn't lost its right-wing bite, apparently just a little of its fear of Trump.
Masks were controversial from the start inside Donald Trump's administration, where officials mocked face coverings with sexist language.
After public health experts recommended face coverings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, administration officials ridiculed masks as looking like a "training bra" or "underwear on your face," according to "Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration's Response to the Pandemic That Changed History," a new book by Washington Post reporters Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta.
Then-vice president Mike Pence was tapped to head the coronavirus task force at the end of February 2020, and he and his chief of staff Mark Short quickly turned their focus on the political and economic implications of the pandemic and complained that Trump was overreacting by extending an economic pause through Easter at the advice of public health experts.
Short also pushed back on a federal effort to send free masks to every American household, which public health experts had hoped would depoliticize the practice of wearing masks, but the vice president's offie believed would unnecessarily alarm the public.
Trump has given interviews for 17 books – but bans two reporters whose bombshells revealed the worst about him
Donald Trump, the former president, has given at least 22 interviews to 17 different writers in an attempt to keep his name alive in the press as much as possible over the next few years, but two reporters who have written bombshell books revealing some of the worst things he's said and done have been banned.
The Washington Post's Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, who separately have written damning books on Trump, will not be invited to Mar-a-Lago to be wined and dined by the former president, unlike far right wing editor at The Federalist Mollie Mollie Hemingway, who was gifted with not one but two interviews, Axios reports.
Woodward recorded numerous interviews with Trump in the Oval Office, where in February of 2020 Trump warned him just how dangerous and deadly the coronavirus was, and that it was airborne, facts he was downplaying in public. He even admitted, on tape, he wasn't telling the public the truth.
Michael Wolff, Maggie Haberman, Michael Bender, and former Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway have also been granted two interviews.
"Sources tell me Trump makes each author feel they're getting something special. And some of them are: Many of the nuggets will definitely make news. But there appears to be quite a bit of overlap in the 'scoops' Trump is dishing out," Axios' Mike Allen reports. "The interviews are mostly on the record, for use when the books publish. So Trump, who has rarely been heard on non-Fox outlets since leaving office, will see himself quoted constantly over the next year."
The upcoming book from Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Axios previously reported, will be "on the final days of the Trump presidency and the first phase of the Biden presidency."
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