CHICAGO – Earlier this year, Erkin Peksoz wanted a COVID-19 vaccine so badly that he drove 640 miles roundtrip from Chicago to Quincy to get a Johnson & Johnson shot. Peksoz was happy with that decision — until recently, when the more contagious delta variant of the virus emerged. Now, he’d like to get a shot of a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, in hopes of increasing his protection. “Until delta, I was not worried at all,” said Peksoz, a consumer data consultant. “I feel like I’m half-vaccinated now.” In clinical trials before the delta variant began to spread, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was fo...
In a Sunday column for the Daily Beast, conservative Matt Lewis pointed out that Donald Trump's much-hyped speech in Arizona following the one-year anniversary of January 6th insurrection was a big dud that barely was mentioned by the press on Sunday morning.
Put more succinctly, Lewis stated Trump's "schtick" has grown old and was greeted with "a collective chorus of yawns."
Pointing out there was a time when the former president's every utterance "spawned breathless coverage," Lewis made a compelling case that a click-obsessed news media found little Trump said on Saturday night was worth reporting.
And that is bad news for the publicity-obsessed ex-president.
"Trump’s performance in Arizona on Saturday night—his first rally in months and his much-hyped chance to respond to the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot—was neither shocking nor terribly newsworthy," he wrote. "It didn’t even merit a mention on The Washington Post’s homepage Sunday morning. The New York Times only used Trump’s speech as a peg to write a broader story under the headline: 'Trump Rally Underscores G.O.P. Tension Over How to Win in 2022.'"
According to Lewis, the major news outlets covering the speech instead concentrated on the cast of characters who spoke before him because the ex-president said nothing new or interesting.
Suggesting that Trump appears to have "jumped the shark," Lewis stated the twice-impeached president has his work cut out for him if he wants to become relevant again with anyone outside of his band of rabid followers.
"The Arizona rally may have been the unofficial kickoff of his 2024 campaign. But this time around, Trump will have to work harder to break through—and not just because the media is less likely to give him ample air time free of charge," he wrote. "Call it the Andrew Dice Clay conundrum: If your entire schtick is based on shock value, eventually the audience grows inured, and the lack of substance becomes embarrassingly plain."
Making his case, Lewis explained, "Trump’s rock-concert rallies provide enough of his greatest hits for the fans and groupies who actually attend them. But for performers to remain relevant, they require new material. And politics is more stand-up comedy than rock and roll," before adding, "Trump seems like the sort of man who could appreciate the temporal, consumerist, and disposable culture of modernity. We fetishize what is new and what is next. Yet, Trump’s obsession with relitigating an election that is now two calendar years past runs contrary to this modern American tendency. In this regard, his ego trumps his marketing savvy."
Warning that no one should ever "count Trump out," Lewis nonetheless said his time may have passed as an object of interest and then predicted, "... he needs new material, and fast, because if his Arizona rally shows anything, it’s that the old routine just doesn’t land anymore."
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Ron Watkins, a leader of the QAnon movement, scrambled to convince his followers that the man who spoke at former President Donald Trump's rally on Saturday was not a "body double."
While attending Saturday's Trump rally in Arizona, Rolling Stone correspondent Steven Monacelli observed that some of the VIP guests were "too extreme" for the QAnon movement. But Monacelli reported that they were "welcomed warmly" by the Trump crowd in Arizona.
One of the QAnon influencers in attendance, Michael Protzman, has been condemned by some members of the community after his promises that John F. Kennedy Jr. would emerge in Dallas last year never materialized.
Monacelli also reported that Watkins, who some believe started the QAnon movement, struggled to convince his followers that the real Donald Trump had appeared at the rally.
"After the rally, Ron Watkins held an audio chat where followers speculated that Trump himself had been a body double," Monacelli noted.
“I saw Trump. It’s not a body double. It’s actually him,” Watkins reportedly told his followers.
Throughout the day, Watkins shared photos of himself posing with other conspiracy theorists at the rally. One photo featured MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who spoke at the event. Watkins also repeatedly asked for donations to his congressional campaign.
Some of the comments going on with QAnons while Trump is speaking. pic.twitter.com/bKPLag5QRk
— 2022 Karma (@2022_Karma) January 16, 2022
Appearing on MSNBC on Sunday afternoon, Republican political strategist Susan Del Percio called out Sen. Lindsey Graham for his slavish devotion to Donald Trump, explaining that the moment the former president's popularity craters, the South Carolina Republican will drop him like a hot rock.
Laughing at Graham's assertion that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) needs to learn to work with the twice-impeached ex-president if he wants to remain the GOP leader in the Senate, Del Percio said that wasn't going to happen and accused Trump's Senate golfing buddy of being a sycophant with no "morals."
Speaking with host Alex Witt, Del Percio explained, "Donald Trump is the most important influencer of Republican primaries there is. So people are bending over backward to try and out-Trump each other to gain his support."
"Of course Mitch McConnell and [House Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthy are not too thrilled about this because in any swing-seat or even tight within two or three points, district or state, this works against Republicans," she elaborated. "Let's not forget, the state that Donald Trump spoke in last night, Arizona, more people voted below the top of the ticket -- meaning not for Donald Trump -- than they voted for Donald Trump."
"The Republicans do not want to have Donald Trump as their president," she continued. "They saw him as dangerous and divisive -- not all Republicans -- but there's a sliver out there and that sliver really does matter when it comes to the general election. But as far as being the influencer on Republican politics, he's still there."
"Look at Lindsey Graham," she smirked. "If Lindsey Graham didn't think Donald Trump was still an influencer, he wouldn't be on that bandwagon. He has no sense of morals whatsoever."
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