Hello again from New Hometown, Florida, where it is now late (9-11) morning. The temperature rose several degrees since I last chimed in; it’s now 78˚F (26˚C) under partly sunny skies – according to my PC’s Weather app, anyway. With humidity at 82% and the wind blowing from the northeast at 4 MPH (7 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is also 78˚F (26˚C).
I went for my walk after having a cup of café con leche and a couple of slices of white bread, but I did not take a book with me. I’m glad I didn’t, because it rained last night and though the puddles of water were already starting to evaporate, the sidewalks and grassy spaces were soggy and the wooden park benches were damp. It was nice out, too, aside from the damp benches; I might have walked farther afield and thus stayed outside longer. But, no. I just went to the park, snapped a few photos with my phone’s camera, and returned home.
I’m still a bit groggy and fuzzy-brained even after my brief constitutional. If the temperature had been lower, like in the mid-60s range, I’d be wide-awake. But it was actually a bit warmer outside than inside the house because the thermostat is always set at 71˚F, so while the walk was beneficial for my morale and my body, it didn’t exactly recharge my batteries – so to speak – as much as I’d hoped.
Trump vs. 60 Minutes: Profile of Cowardice
I didn’t watch the 60 Minutes broadcast of Lesley Stahl’s abbreviated interview with President Donald Trump last night. My TV is not cable-connected, and I assiduously avoid watching any televised appearance by the man I often refer to as “Orange Caligula,” so I wouldn’t have watched it anyway. However, since my Facebook newsfeed was chock-full of posts about it, I decided to read the complete transcript just out of curiosity.
In case you haven’t heard about this latest clash between Trump and a reporter from what he calls the “fake news” media, Stahl – a poised and tough interviewer who has worked for CBS News since 1971 – attempted to ask Trump questions about the upcoming election, the COVID-19 pandemic, his alleged plans to replace the Affordable Care Act with a “better” health care plan, and other topics.
Trump, as is his wont, was combative from the start and complained that his Democratic Party opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, always received “softball questions” and replied to Stahl’s questions with bluster, caginess, and dare I say, rudeness. And, as you probably know, 37 minutes into the interview, he abruptly got up and left Stahl to ask Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, “And the President isn’t coming back?”
McEnany replied, “The President has given you a lot of his time.”
Here are some high- I mean, lowlights from this latest exercise in Trumpian rudeness and lack of gravitas, courtesy of the online edition of the British Daily Mail.
Lesley Stahl: Are you ready for some tough questions?
President Donald Trump: You’re gonna be fair?
Lesley Stahl: Are you g–
President Donald Trump: Just be-
Lesley Stahl: I’m gonna be fair.
President Donald Trump: Just be fair.
Lesley Stahl: But you’re okay with some tough questions?
President Donald Trump: No, I’m not. I mean–
Lesley Stahl: (LAUGH) You’re not okay with tough questions?
President Donald Trump: I want them to be fair. You– you don’t ask Biden tough questions.
President Donald Trump: Okay. Are you ready–
Lesley Stahl: You ready? Everybody ready? So we have the pandemic. On your watch, we’ve had racial strife, we’ve had looting. Why do you want this job? Why do you wanna be president again?
President Donald Trump: Because we’ve done a great job and it’s not finished yet. And when I finish, this country will be in a position like it hasn’t been maybe ever. The economy is already roaring back. And– other people aren’t gonna bring it back, certainly the person that we’re dealing with is not gonna bring it back. They’re gonna raise taxes.
And further along in the interview, there is this hilarious bit of the President’s use of Orwellian unlogic regarding the Trump Administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unemployment spike it caused:
Lesley Stahl: Four years ago, you were behind in the polls, as you are now, and you pulled it out. But this time, you have kind of a double migraine. You have unemployment claims going up. You have COVID cases going up. I mean, it’s like the gods have suddenly decided– decided to conspire against you–
President Donald Trump: I don’t think so at all, no. I think we’ve done–
Lesley Stahl: Well, what about the–
President Donald Trump: –a great job with COVID.
Lesley Stahl: Sir, excuse me, cases are up in about 40 states.
President Donald Trump: Okay– you know why cases are up also? Because we do more testing. The fake news media loves to say cases are up. The fact is, we’ve done a very, very good job–
Lesley Stahl: Cases are up.
President Donald Trump: We have done– that’s right because we’re doing so much testing.
There is increased testing, but according to the COVID Tracking Project, that doesn’t account for all of the rise in new cases sweeping the country, or the 40% increase in hospitalizations in the past month.
Lesley Stahl: When you’re out there saying we’ve turned the corner, this thing is disappearing–
President Donald Trump: That’s right. We have turned–
Lesley Stahl: –and people can see–
President Donald Trump: –the corner. We have turned the corner.
Lesley Stahl: –people can see cases going up all over the– in the Midwest, in the Mountain West, record numbers of cases–
President Donald Trump: We have turned the corner.
Lesley Stahl: –in some states.
President Donald Trump: We understand the disease. We understand the elderly, and we are taking care of them like nobody’s ever taken care of ’em. So we are taking care of our people.
The interview gets truly contentious when Stahl – whose voiceover for the piece is also part of the transcript – grills Trump about the “October surprise” concocted by Rudy Gulliani to smear Joe Biden’s son Hunter:
As we moved from subject to subject, our conversation grew more tense. President Trump brought up what he calls the unfairness of the fake media. Most prominently: a lack of coverage of his unproven and unverified charges that former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, have received millions of dollars in corrupt payments from a Russian oligarch and a Chinese billionaire.
President Donald Trump: I wish you would interview Joe Biden like you interview me. It would be so good. You know what?
Lesley Stahl: You like this, I thought-
President Donald Trump: The, the–
Lesley Stahl: I thought you liked spy– sparring–
President Donald Trump: I don’t mind it. I don’t mind it. But when I watch him walk out of a store, and he’s walking with an ice cream. And the question the media asks him, ‘What kind of ice cream? What flavor ice cream do you have?’ And he’s in the midst of a scandal.
Lesley Stahl: He’s not.
President Donald Trump: And he’s taking
Lesley Stahl: He’s not, no–
President Donald Trump: Of course he is, Lesley.
Lesley Stahl: Come on.
President Donald Trump: Of course he is.
President Donald Trump: It’s the biggest — second-biggest scandal. The biggest scandal was when they spied on my campaign. They spied on my campaign, Lesley-
Lesley Stahl: Well, there’s no– real evidence of that.
President Donald Trump: Of course there is. It’s all over–
Lesley Stahl: No–
President Donald Trump: –the place. Lesley, they–
Lesley Stahl: Sir–
President Donald Trump: –spied on my campaign and they got caught–
Lesley Stahl: Can I– can I say something? You know, this is 60 Minutes. And we can’t put on things we can’t verify–
President Donald Trump: No, you won’t put it on because it’s bad for Biden. Look, let me tell you–
Lesley Stahl: We can’t put on things we can’t verify–
President Donald Trump: Lesley, they spied on–
Lesley Stahl: And–
President Donald Trump: –on my campaign.
Lesley Stahl: Well, we can’t verify that–
President Donald Trump: It’s been totally verified.
Lesley Stahl: No.
I could probably share a few more examples of this back-and-forth between Stahl and the adversarial Trump, but you can either watch the interview on the embedded video or read the whole transcript here: CBS airs the full Trump dust-up: 60 Minutes shows the President walking out mid-interview, a stunned Lesley Stahl saying ‘I’ve got a lot of questions’, and Kayleigh McEnany giving her a ‘healthcare’ binder with ‘no plans’ in it
A profile in Presidential courage, this is not.