Antisemitism

Trump Is Not an Anti-Semite. He Is Just a Jerk.

Ivanka Trump, unlike her father, understands that sympathy, not hostility, is the right response to people worried by anti-Jewish bomb threats.

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C-SPAN

Yesterday Ivanka Trump responded to the latest spate of phony bomb threats to Jewish institutions across the country by calling for religious tolerance. "America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance," the president's daughter, who converted to Judaism before marrying Jared Kushner in 2009, said on Twitter. "We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers."

Jake Turx, White House correspondent for Ami magazine, seemed to be looking for just that sort of anodyne assurance when he tried to ask Ivanka's father a question at his press conference last Thursday. Trump called on Turx, an Orthodox Jew who wears a black suit and a large black kippah embroidered with his Twitter handle, after announcing, "I want to find a friendly reporter." He asked Turx, "Are you a friendly reporter?" After replying, "I am friendly," Turx introduced his question by telling the president that "despite what some of my colleagues may have been reporting, I haven't seen anybody in my community accuse either yourself or…anyone on your staff of being anti-Semitic." He even added, "We understand you have Jewish grandchildren; you are their zayde." Although Trump thanked him for that stipulation, he was so outraged by the subject of Turx's question that he would not let him finish:

Turx: What we haven't really heard be addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it. There have been reports out that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers all across the country in the last couple of weeks. There are people who are committing anti-Semitic acts or threatening to—

Trump: You see, he said he was going to ask a very simple, easy question. And it's not. It's not. Not a simple question, not a fair question. OK, sit down. I understand the rest of your question.

So here's the story, folks. Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism—the least racist person. In fact, we did very well relative to other people running as a Republican.

Turx: [Inaudible objection.]

Trump: Quiet, quiet, quiet. See, he lied about—he was going to get up and ask a very straight, simple question. So you know, welcome to the world of the media. But let me just tell you something—that I hate the charge. I find it repulsive. I hate even the question because people that know me—and you heard the prime minister, you heard Netanyahu yesterday—did you hear him, Bibi? He said, I've known Donald Trump for a long time, and then he said, forget it. So you should take that, instead of having to get up and ask a very insulting question like that….It just shows you about the press, but that's the way the press is.

As Turx observed on Twitter, "President Trump clearly misunderstood my question." But the way he misunderstood it was telling. Even though Turx explicitly assured Trump he was not accusing him of anti-Semitism, the president interpreted his question as an accusation of anti-Semitism, which shows he was not paying attention and suggests he leaps at any opportunity to present himself as unfairly maligned (which he did through much of the press conference). The episode very clearly showed how Trump bullies people while claiming to be the victim, mirroring the left-wing critics whose political correctness he mocks.

"It was a very disheartening moment for us, to watch him being berated," Turx's editor, Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter, told The New York Times. I'm not sure what a president is supposed to do about anti-Semitic incidents like those Turx cited, beyond condemning them and perhaps saying the FBI is ready to assist local law enforcement agencies insofar as there is evidence of interstate coordination. Trump could easily have uttered some soothing words if he had not been so wrapped up in his own persecution complex that he literally could not hear what Turx, a bona fide "friendly reporter," was saying. Trump's egregious mishandling of the situation does not show he is an anti-Semite; it just shows he is a jerk, which we have known for quite some time now.

Update: After visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture today, Trump said what he should have said on Thursday: "The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil."

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  1. Do you like being accused of anti-Semitism? No. Do you like feeling that you’re about to be accused of anti-Semitism? No. Do you like standing up there answering a lot of questions not about how great you are? No. You’re going to head that shit off at the pass.

    The president didn’t need to hear the whole question to know it was going to be Trump-bashing.

  2. I have yet to see any evidence that there is a pattern in who Trump treats terribly. He’s an equal opportunity asshole. He’s not a racist or a Nazi or an anti-Semite.

    1. I read the question to be baiting, to imply that: “Mr. President, do you realize that the techniques of demagoguery you have been using against the press have been anti-Semetic tactics throughout the ages?” And in a certain way, I find that view to be fair, since the Ottomans and the Polish aristocracy would use Jewish people as tax collectors and in other civil service positions, since they could be pogromed if the commoners got upset at the policies of the ruling class. In a similar way, since the press has been the tool of the ruling Mandarins in D.C. for a long time, and helped to accumulate power to that city, Trump is turning upon that tool of the ruling class in order to vent the anger that the commoners feel towards said ruling class and turn that anger away from himself and his policies.

  3. Trump being an insecure jerk is a much more logical explanation for his behavior than any of the more elaborate theories like he’s a tool of Russian intelligence or a political mastermind playing 5 dimensional chess on his opponents.

  4. Trump has every right to be sick of the disgusting accusations and innuendo. It is also reasonable for him to expect adult and responsible questions from reporters at a press conference. The transcript above shows that it wasn’t even a question, but rather a rant. fug that

    He’s the goddamn POTUS and one would think if given an opportunity to ask him a question, the reporters would actually do so.

    To hell with this ‘reporter’. Step up and do your job if you want respect.

    1. Have you notice how many time they need transcripts of President Trump to show how _______ he is.

  5. Yep, this was a terrible response to the question. The way he should have answered it is, “This is why we’re trying to keep radical Muslim extremists out of our country. To help protect not only your people, but all Americans. My administration is going to continue to do everything possible to make that happen.”

  6. Trump is giving ’em hell as far as I’m concerned.

    The media are going in with their full of shit load questions looking for trouble, he calls them out, they cry foul and Reason goes for the jerk store angle.

    Obama seemed like a jerk on many occasions to me yet I don’t seem to recall him being called as such.

    1. Obama seemed like a jerk on many occasions to me yet I don’t seem to recall him being called as such.

      Yes, he was. His style was/is just that of condescension. He talked/talks down to people.

      1. Which I certainly saw as being a jerk. But a lot of people seem to want to be condescended to.

  7. Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism?the least racist person.

    See, this is what irritates the shit out of me about this troll – it’s not enough that he be good at something or even great at something, he’s by far the greatest person who’s ever lived at whatever the thing in question is. He knows more about banking than bankers, more about the military than generals, more about foreign relations than diplomats, more about the law than lawyers, more about the Constitution than judges. And I’m sure if you asked him he’d brag about how he’s the most humble person on the planet just like he’s boasted about how even-tempered and thick-skinned he is. Donald, just shut your fat mouth and stop lying for two goddamn minutes.

    1. He’s a salesman. I’ve worked with dozens of salespeople who act exactly same way. Some of them are shockingly competent at what they do.
      I’d rather have a raging prick who nominates people like Gorsuch, than a smiling politician who nominates people like Sotomayor.

      1. I know. You wanna “hate” them but marvel at their determination, organization and the ability to close deals. Our ‘Trump’ at the bank was ‘Andy’. Everything he did, ate, shat, bought, raped, pillaged, volunteered etc. was BETTER.

        The boss LOVED him because he surpassed all objectives.

        1. I’ve met people like this. Not much depth intellectually, but they rise and grind when it comes to work. I wouldn’t trust anyone I’ve met like that to be president. I do have a minimal requirement for intellectual acumen when it comes to the most important office in the world.

          1. Anyone qualified to be President wouldn’t want the job.

            1. Nobody is competent to be President of the USA.

              Nobody.

          2. This says more about you than the job of president. “I don’t care that this type of person excels at any job they put their mind to. They are still not the “right kind” of person.”

            1. I don’t care that this type of person excels at any job they put their mind to.

              That bit is yet to be seen. It’s a bit early to say that Trump will excel at being president.

            2. No person exists that can simply do anything that they put their mind to. I would love to solve the mysteries of quantum computing, but it’s not my thing. I’m a realist. Sorry.

          3. The last President to have demonstrated real intellectual depth was Coolidge. The Presidents since then have all* been high-status idiots, of varying degrees, who have primarily served as vehicles for advancing their party’s/voters’ interests. Obama was a paper tiger, intellectually. He has a fine pedigree (just don’t ask for the records) but he never demonstrated any depth of thought. You can say the same thing about Bush 43 and Clinton, although at least they released their records.

            * = Possible exception: Jimmy Carter

            1. The last President to have demonstrated real intellectual depth was Coolidge. The Presidents since then have all* been high-status idiots

              What did Eisenhower do to deserve this shabby treatment?

              1. A fair counterpoint. Eisenhower did not deserve to be lumped in with the rest.

            2. Wilson was notoriously intellectual. And a really bad POTUS to foist on the world.

              1. I don’t know that Wilson had intellectual depth (also, he preceded Coolidge). I think he thought highly of himself and was not stupid, but that combination made him quite dangerous.

            3. Exception due to Carter being only an idiot.

          4. In cellular’s infancy, I was the third guy in a start-up that hustled Chicago billionaires, trying to convince them that the conventional wisdom on cellular was wrong. I can’t comment on my intellectual depth, but the guy that made the numbers work, the second employee, had more depth than any in the room. He had a masters in English Literature and was one of the brightest guys you could meet. Truly a Renaissance Man. But he’d have made a terrible president.

            Nothing on the world stage happens that’s not the result of a negotiation. And Trump, if nothing else, is a master negotiator. That many don’t like him sticks in his craw, yes. But I wouldn’t count him out just yet. He could very well be one of our most fortuitous choices for president, intellectual depth or not.

        2. You have to be a very special kind of human being to be a salesman.

          Also, in my experience, fucking hell do they do a lot of cocaine.

      2. Yeah, and salesmen tend to be annoying jerks. I hate salesmen (it’s good that they exist, but I have little desire to interact with them personally).

        Does everything have to be a comparison to Obama and/or Clinton? Trump’s a weirdo and a jerk. That doesn’t mean one should assume that everything he does will be terrible, I have some hope in a few areas, but it is a true fact.

    2. Actually thought you were pulling a switch, to reveal at the end you’re quoting Obama. “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

    3. I see people here continually justifying his behavior by claiming that he is either playing an incredibly sophisticated game with the press and his opponents, and when that doesn’t fly the fall back on the claim that he’s no worse that other politicians. It’s depressing to think that this is the majority view on a guy like Trump at a libertarian website.

      1. He is an asshole who refuses to play the usual kabuki political theater.

        It’s fun to watch.

        1. It’s fun to watch in a sense. It’s also terrifying in another sense. I don’t think he is refusing to do anything. He’s just being himself.

        2. That is certainly true. I hope he keeps doing press conferences like he did last week. That was quite amusing.

        3. Yeah, I don’t which it is but I’m enjoying the hell out of it.

          1. I think there is a word missing.

      2. It’s depressing to think that this is the majority view on a guy like Trump at a libertarian website.

        What does Trump being a jerk or not have to do with libertarianism? Nothing. I thought Obama was a pompous douche, but if he’d pushed even a small part of the libertarian agenda forward I would have applauded him for it.

        1. It’s also not the majority view. Trump isn’t playing a sophisticated game with the press. He’s playing a petty game with the press. But that’s the game they want to play, and he’s right at home there.

          1. Yep. It reminds me of the old saying, “never wrestle with a pig – you’ll get dirty and the pig likes it.” The media finally found somebody even more at home in the mud than they are.

        2. Because, just speaking rationally, the probability of things going catastrophically wrong under someone like Trump is astronomically higher than under someone like Obama. If you’re honest with yourself, you should be able to admit that. I hope that he continues plodding along his current path of ineptitude, and that my fears end up being completely unwarranted. However, I shudder to think of the response a Trump administration might have if a terrorist attack were to occur within the next few years. Of course, I had similar fears under Obama, but the Republicans were there to keep him in check.

          1. Because, just speaking rationally, the probability of things going catastrophically wrong under someone like Trump is astronomically higher than under someone like Obama.

            Pseudo-intellectual claptrap. It’s just personal biases rephrased with fancier language.

              1. Yawn.

                Well I guess that about sums up your intellectual depth.

                1. I will only engage with people who don’t argue in good faith on so many occasions.

                  1. Wouldn’t you have to start arguing in good faith yourself before throwing around such judgments?

                    You can make weak arguments. You can even try to strengthen your arguments with better reasoning after being called out on how weak they are.

                    But whining and deflecting criticism doesn’t make your arguments any stronger. You want good faith? Give some.

                  2. Like how you determined catastrophically more risk?

          2. Because Trump singlehandedly has the power to start WWIII? This is not a rational fear.

            1. He does have this power. I don’t see WWIII as a possibility though.

            2. Vladimir Putin says Hi.

              1. I actually find it kind of amazing that someone believes that Trump wouldn’t have the power to start WWIII. That’s genuine delusion. Obama had the power. Bush had the power. Etc.

                1. *I actually find it kind of amazing that someone believes that Trump wouldn’t have the power to start WWIII.*

                  Yeah, I’m sure that the JCoS would go along with some crazy spur-of-the-moment plan by Trump to launch nukes.

                  Give it a rest.

          3. What a ridiculous strawman. You have nothing to base that on, except your own fear and paranoia about something that doesn’t fit your narrow world-view and life experience. From your early comment…

            “I’ve met people like this. Not much depth intellectually, but they rise and grind when it comes to work. I wouldn’t trust anyone I’ve met like that to be president. I do have a minimal requirement for intellectual acumen when it comes to the most important office in the world.”

            Which just shows that you are full of yourself and dismissive of others whom you have no real ability to judge.

            1. Do you think Trump’s disposition is ideal for an office such as the presidency? Aside from his presumed ability to close deals — being that he won’t release his tax returns, it’s safe to say he might not even be good at that — , what about his mental makeup makes him a good fit?

              1. being that he won’t release his tax returns, it’s safe to say he might not even be good at that

                The IRS doesn’t really do a lot of deal-making. Everybody knows Trump has been in bankruptcy court multiple times before. What is to be gained, knowledge-wise, about his deal-making ability from his tax returns?

                1. What’s to be gained? The outcomes of the deals that he has made. This is the last time I will ever respond to you. Good luck in life.

                  1. This is the last time I will ever respond to you. Good luck in life.

                    Uh, ok.

                    What’s to be gained? The outcomes of the deals that he has made.

                    … that you couldn’t already figure out from the multiple bankruptcies? Income is reported in very coarse categories; there isn’t a line item for each deal made. Knowing the cumulative effect of the deals — such as having had to get your debt restructured multiple times — is more useful than knowing the transient effects from annual gross income.

                  2. It wouldnt show up in a personal tax return

              2. Why does a disposition have to be ideal to qualify?

          4. heckles raised

            I smell a troll…

          5. Because, just speaking rationally, the probability of things going catastrophically wrong under someone like Trump is astronomically higher than under someone like Obama.

            Look, I get that this is what your feels are telling you is true, but there’s no evidence of that. They gave Obama the peace prize, and he started two wars. Imagine what might happen in a real emergency? The problem with somebody like Obama, who the press absolutely loved, is that they don’t get the scrutiny somebody like Trump does. That’s far more dangerous to the nation than Trump being a big meanie to reporters.

            1. “Look, I get that this is what your feels are telling you is true, but there’s no evidence of that. They gave Obama the peace prize, and he started two wars. Imagine what might happen in a real emergency? The problem with somebody like Obama, who the press absolutely loved, is that they don’t get the scrutiny somebody like Trump does. That’s far more dangerous to the nation than Trump being a big meanie to reporters.”

              I don’t see being an uneven, emotional, petty, narcissistic, pathological liar as being irrelevant. I know, you’re tempted to respond and say that some other politician in the recent past was similar. Trump has no analog. We’re talking politicians, and it’s conspicuous that Trump has separated himself from the field in all of the aforementioned areas. That’s what should be alarming.

              On a side note. I’ve been on the bandwagon on people claiming that Trump’s alleged ties to Russia are bullshit. I still believe that the DNC leaks were are good thing, and we should focus on the content of the leaks rather than who leaked them, but it’s getting harder to deny that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia in some way, and are continuing to do so.

              1. Why the fuck does an edit button not exist.

                1. Violate the Goldwater Rule, lose privileges.

              2. So it basically comes down to your wanting a professional politician in office? Any one will do, as long as it’s not some skeevy non-pol.

                As far as Russia goes, no doubt they are colluding. That’s why Trump has been doing everything he can to shut down oil production in the country, and strongly encouraging NATO members to lower their own military spending. It all makes perfect sense.

                1. No. I’d love for a rational non-politician to get into power. One of my biggest gripes with Trump is the he is hurting the future prospects of outsider candidates with his ineptitude. Trump is only serving to make the establishment look like the voice of reason, which is not as it should be.

                2. Yea how are they the campaign continuing to collude?

                  What are they gaining? Why does russia need the campaign for collusion?

              3. Colluded in what way and to do what?

                1. You know, good old fashion witch-hunt based collusion, AmSoc.

                  I don’t have to substantiate my claims, do I?

                  1. There’s enough smoke at this point to be sure something occurred.

                    1. yeah–unless the people screaming about the smoke are the ones who lit the fires………….

          6. “Because, just speaking rationally, the probability of things going catastrophically wrong under someone like Trump is astronomically higher than under someone like Obama. ”
            Citation needed. In fact of course things DID go catastrophically wrong under Obama. Pompous pseudointellectuals are far more dangerous than jumped up barroom braggards.

  8. President Trump clearly misunderstood my question

    The intent of the question was even stupider than accusing Trump of anything. It was demanding the Uncle Sugar DOOOO SOMETHING. What exactly is the good reporter expecting him to “do”?

    1. This.

    2. I wouldn’t mind hearing a president saying that it’s not the federal government’s role to deal with crime like that unless there is some interstate aspect to it and state authorities can’t handle it (or are somehow failing to protect rights or provide due process). Remind people that the federal government has well defined and limited powers.

      I don’t really expect that from Trump. But it would be the right answer.

  9. This affects so many lives. There are so many very important points made in this that it should be taught in schools. We should all be very concerned about these harsh tones and vile mannerisms.

  10. Also….Wake and Bake!

  11. “President Trump, you aren’t anti-semitic, you are just ineffective at protecting Jews.”

    I think he’d rather be called anti-semitic.

  12. President Trump clearly misunderstood my question

    Impossible as no question was asked. If you have a question, ask it. Nobody needs to hear two minutes of obfuscative narrative before you get around to it.

    1. Presumably the question would have been about “how the government is planning to take care of” the uptick. But the guy was providing background info to Trump, which is probably a good idea.

  13. What we haven’t really heard be addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it.

    JFC. Just… JFC.

  14. Man, is Trump ever thin-skinned.

    Presumably, the safe way to ask Trump ” What we haven’t really heard be addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it. There have been reports out that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers all across the country in the last couple of weeks. There are people who are committing anti-Semitic acts or threatening to?”

    is to phrase it as

    “Can you tell us whether you are monitoring the recent uptick in anti-Semitism and what your administration plans to do in response?”

    . . . but man, is it ever easy to accidentally prick this guy’s ego.

    1. I’d bet that Trump has ADD or something like it. I can understand the level of frustration when people won’t just get to the fucking point.

      1. God forbid we expect the president to display some emotional restraint. Only a month in.

        1. God forbid a reporter ask a question. I’d just as soon see the idea of the Presidential press conference be thrown in the garbage. But if reporters are determined to waste everybody’s time then maybe they could figure out a way to minimize it.

          1. Trump’s press conferences are usually filled to the brim with interesting, intelligent content, huh? God forbid the level of discourse brought down from its current height.

            1. I guess you missed the part where I said they should just stop having them. Nobody watches that garbage anyway and the things they talk about are so far removed from the things that get done. It’s all just another pointless reality show. The only difference is that now one of the sides has some experience with pointless reality shows.

    2. I imagine you’d get the same damn response. The guy explicitly said he wasn’t accusing Trump of anti-Semitism, and Trump still got all pissy.

      1. Anybody who started with a disclaimer of accusing me of anti-Semitism I’d take as insinuating the same smarmily.

    3. Obama was a thin-skinned, jerk.

      Just sayin’.

  15. Muh Trump.

  16. If you keep insulting Trump you’re going to run off all the “libertarians” here, goddammit.

    good job

    1. Tell us again how great Obama’s deficits were, shriek. I’m sure it will provide some well needed “balance”.

        1. The only thing that keeps shriek going is cocaine, and I have no control over his supply.

        2. I have a theory that the real goal of trolls is to get people to tell others not to feed them.

          1. Some sort of sadistic glee in the reprimanding of others’ improper internetiquette?

            No plausible way, man. No way.

            1. I’m mostly joking. But I do think the reprimands are pretty pointless.

    2. Don’t you still need to pay a lost bet?

  17. The episode very clearly showed how Trump bullies people while claiming to be the victim, mirroring the left-wing critics whose political correctness he mocks.

    Meh. Sometimes one must fight fire with fire. I do not whine and play the victim, but I love to use Regressives own language against them.

    1. Sometimes one must fight fire with fire.

      Sometimes. But my worry is that “fire” isn’t the best metaphor here. I’m afraid that what they are fighting with is better compared to firehoses spraying liquid shit all over the place. And when you fight shithose with shithose, all you end up with is everything being even shittier than when you started.

      When you fight your enemy on their own terms, there is a significant risk that you end up a lot more like your enemy than you realize.

      1. Insert comment about monsters and abyss here.

      2. “When you fight your enemy on their own terms, there is a significant risk that you end up a lot more like your enemy than you realize.”

        AMEN TO THIS.

        This is EXACTLY what has happened on the Trumpian Right. They don’t even realize how much they have morphed into the left that they claim to despise.

        They’re now on board with Bernie Sanders-style trade policies. They’re now totally on board defending a guy who is even squishier on health care than Mitt F’n Romney.

        They rightly lambasted Obama for using his pen and phone, but praise Trump when he does it. So much for limited government and separation of powers.

        It’s sad to see really.

        1. It does depend on what the pen and phone is used for.

          1. Pens are best used for drawing dicks on other people’s stuff. And phones are for looking at porn.

    2. Trump is a blow hard but jake has a pretty low standard for what constitutes bullying

  18. “But the way he misunderstood it was telling. Even though Turx explicitly assured Trump he was not accusing him of anti-Semitism, the president interpreted his question as an accusation of anti-Semitism, which shows he was not paying attention and suggests he leaps at any opportunity to present himself as unfairly maligned”

    I have nothing but respect for Sullum. Having written that, is there much doubt but that I’m about to disagree with him?

    We all know you’re not a antisemite, Mr. Trump, but . . .

    But what? Isn’t what follows likely to include an exception to that rule?

  19. Meanwhile, Trump is right to presume that every question he gets from the White House press corp is meant to trap or misrepresent him; after all, the White House press corps wrote an open letter to Trump in the Columbia Journalism Review promising to show a “united front” against him:

    “We’re going to work together. You have tried to divide us and use reporters’ deep competitive streaks to cause family fights. Those days are ending. We now recognize that the challenge of covering you requires that we cooperate and help one another whenever possible. So, when you shout down or ignore a reporter at a press conference who has said something you don’t like, you’re going to face a unified front. We’ll work together on stories when it makes sense, and make sure the world hears when our colleagues write stories of importance. We will, of course, still have disagreements, and even important debates, about ethics or taste or fair comment. But those debates will be ours to begin and end.”

    http://www.cjr.org/covering_tr….._corps.php

    They go on to talk about how they’re “playing the long game”, etc., etc.

    The White House press corps has openly stated that they’re united against him, and he’d be an idiot to treat them otherwise.

    1. Ya i dont have a problem with him being an ahole to them

      1. They made their bed.

  20. So why is being a blow hard back to them and petty now considered bullying?

    1. Because he’s the God-Emperor King Pope President now and can order an exterminatus their execution their excommunication them to be called mean names on Twitter.

    2. Because he is in a position of power. Random trolls on Twitter are not.

      If some random commenter says “STFU”, it has a much different meaning and impact than if your boss (or your spouse, or your parents) say “STFU”.

      1. Giving it back to the press is bullying ? He isnt their boss though. Sounds like they need a safe space.

        1. Bullying, by definition, involves a power differential between the aggressor and the victim, so yes.

          1. So ya cant call the press out or else it is bullying? Cause power differential

            Dear god

            It would make sense if he was actually using that power differential against them…like sending the doj after them. But he isnt

            1. But the fact that he *could* sic the DOJ on them, has the potential to create a chilling effect.

              If you were a reporter and you thought that Trump might actually tap your phone, would you be more likely or less likely to ask that tough question against Trump?

              1. Ok that is bullying. Flinging crap back at them is not.

                He could have a peaceful press conference where he just takes crap, doesnt fling it back instead do what you describe

                You are jumping ahead

              2. He will have to do this first in order to show me.

      2. If you are going to act like a prick to someone who acts like a prick…dont whine when the prick gives it back to you

      3. Because he is in a position of power.

        Over the government, not over the press.

        1. No, over the press as well. Over everyone, really. That is what makes it rather scary.

          He could engage in some rather petty and vindictive crap using the levers of power at his disposal. I’m not saying he would, or that he will. Just that he *could*.

          FFS Obama actually spied on reporters. Could Trump do the same?

          1. It is scary that he dishes crap back to them?

            by your own logic he cant disagree or call out anything because power differential or else it is bullying

            That makes no sense

          2. Spying on reporters or using levers of power is not the same as …. being a blowhard on twitter to someone who upset him or giving the press crap in a press conference

            The former is bullying, the latter is just unfriendly interaction

          3. Spying on reporters or using levers of power is not the same as …. being a blowhard on twitter to someone who upset him or giving the press crap in a press conference

            The former is bullying, the latter is just unfriendly interaction

          4. FFS Obama actually spied on reporters. Could Trump do the same?

            Yes, and that would be a different story.

        2. Trump should rise above it but i dont consider dishing words back as bullying

          Like when mccain runs his mouth and then trump talks about mccain wanting to start ww3

      4. If every newspaper, television station, and movie and music production house is trying to undermine you, they’re saying STFU a hell of a lot louder than some random troll.

  21. Jake Turx did not understand what Trump meant when he asked for a “friendly question”. Neither does Jacob Sollum.

    Trump idea of a friendly question is the sort that reporters routinely asked Obama. Genuinely friendly questions like: “What’s it like to be awesome?” Or, tough and friendly questions like: “What’s your favorite color?”

    Instead, Turx asked a serious question that required a thoughtful, intelligent response. Friends don’t ask Trump questions like that in any case. But it was especially “unfriendly” to ask a question that was based on what is, in all likelihood, a fake news story. I seriously doubt that, after excluding false flag threats, American Jewish institutions have experienced an uptick in anti-Semitic hostility. Of course, a less thin-skinned, sympathetic person would have understood that it was a serious question even if based upon a false premise, and provided a thoughtful, intelligent answer that would have simultaneously re-assured rational Turx’s readers, dissed extremist liberals, and made himself look good. Trump utterly failed in this.

    For thirty years, I’ve thought that Trump has an idiot savant’s genius in self-promotion. However, even idiot savants make a mistake every once in while.

    1. Or, maybe, it wasn’t a mistake. Jake Turx’s take on the incident.

      It would brilliant for Trump to invite Turx for a short one-on-one interview.

      1. Turx was pot-stirring. A professional does not open up a question to a person at a podium with a “we know you are not XYZ, but…”
        Stipulations are insulting and degrading because it implies “I don’t, but others do” sort of nonsense.

        It didn’t need to be said…the preamble was pointless to the question and either designed to rile Trump or just an indication of Turx’s inexperience or ineptitude.
        He may have been able to get away with it, with an immediate transition to a clear question. But he didn’t. He rambled with no obvious question.
        It was unprofessional and with the contentious POTUS-press relationship, Trump had every reason to pounce and dismiss Turx.

        1. You may not have followed the link. Turx says he has no beef with Trump, the Orthodox Jewish community has no beef with him and nobody who is jewish thinks he’s anti-Semitic.

  22. Of course he’s a jerk. A. he’s Trump, and B. he’s a New Yorker. What’s unusual about Trump is his complete lack of inhibition. Everyone takes things personally now and then even when they aren’t meant personally, hinting at some kind of insecurities stemming from past victimization or whatever.

    And yes a slick politician would just hide his emotions and launch into his own talking points for the situation and insult everyone’s intelligence with a bunch of bullshit. Big improvement that would have been.

    1. A smart politician would leave then reduced to covering his tweets.

  23. I dont think trump plays 3d chess but is smarter and more sane than he lets on. Perhaps it is just coincidence but appears:

    Knows how to bait the press and left into looking insane which conversely makes him look a little saner in comparison

    Focusing on stupid crap makes people oblivious to all else that moves…like the keystone i would have thought that gets way more mention and regs as far as freak out from the left. Also the stream rule and pruitt

    1. I dont think trump plays 3d chess but is smarter and more sane than he lets on.

      This is apparently a very difficult concept for many people to understand.

      Think of it like running from a bear. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to survive. You just have to run faster than the next guy.

      Trump doesn’t have to have a genius-level IQ. He just has to be smarter than the reporters, courtesans, run-of-the-mill politicians, and other hangers-on, more often than not.

      Many people do not want to accept/admit that this happens. Not necessarily because it makes him smarter than them, but because it reveals just how vacuous the press and political process really are.

      1. Yea his opponents arent very bright

        Like how he goaded the hrc campaign into freaking out about her emails being a national security threat (when two weeks earlier they hoped that issued was buried after comey announcement)

      2. Trump doesn’t have to have a genius-level IQ.

        Actually, it looks like he does.

    2. Trump’s not playing 3D chess–what makes what he’s doing look so off is that the GOP–or at least the Trump part of it– is finally playing the SAME game as the left.

      And since they’ve been playing a two player game with only one player knowing what to do all these years, when someone steps up and actually moves a piece correctly they don’t know what to do.

  24. Konima says “On a side note. I’ve been on the bandwagon on people claiming that Trump’s alleged ties to Russia are bullshit. I still believe that the DNC leaks were are good thing, and we should focus on the content of the leaks rather than who leaked them, but it’s getting harder to deny that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia in some way, and are continuing to do so.”

    Which is it? Is he in bed with the russians pr not?

    1. No, he’s in bed with a Slovenian.

  25. Jacob Sullum, I regret to notice that you’re also a jerk. In fact more so than President Trump.

    Just because someone holds a different opinion to you, that doesn’t make them a jerk. But you calling them one because you disagree with them makes you one. How on earth did you manage to get the job – and how do you manage to keep it?

    It’s a shame that Reason has now fallen to name-calling which detracts instead of bolstering rational disagreement.

    1. No, Trump’s a jerk because he’s a jerk. In fact, I think his jerkiness was a big part of his appeal to many people. He’s not calling Trump a jerk because he disagrees with him. He’s calling him a jerk because of how he interacts with people. And it’s a pretty fair thing to call him. Being a jerk seems to work for Trump. Why wouldn’t he be a jerk? It got him all the way to the white house.

  26. Frankly, I like the fact that he doesn’t put up with the paragraph-long “questions”-with-built-in-assertions of which media are so fond.

  27. The fault is with the inexperienced or disingenuous Turx. If he wanted a response regarding terror threats against Jewish targets, then he should have asked it directly. When you preface a question with “You’ve been accused of being anti-semitic, but I don’t believe it,” It’s the preface that begs a response. Alternatively, if someone had prefaced a question about women’s rights with, “I’ve heard some people say you beat your wife, but I don’t think you do,” which part of that question do you think is going to get a response?

  28. No one can accuse Trump of being an articulate man. If his daughter didn’t make an ultimatum, the would have stuck with Lewandowski as his campaign manager. A thoughtful response to an insignificant uptick in “hate crime” (like phony bomb threats and swastikas on playground) would have defused the situation.

    But assuming that he said something like “anti-semitism is wrong and I’ll keep on eye on the situation”, what does that accomplish? I’m not under any illusion that liberals aren’t concern trolling about antisemitism to score points on Trump. When the knockout game targeted some Jews they casually dismissed it as an anomaly, which it was for the most part. Temp hate crime trends were never an issue during the Obama years. These people didn’t say a word when deranged lunatics kidnapped and assaulted a disabled Trump supporter.

    Trump did what libertarians would have wanted him to do in response to a hate crime freak out. He ignored it, in his own way. He didn’t issue random EOs to increase the police / surveillance state or strengthen hate crime laws to deter these incidents. Strictly speaking, stopping hate crimes should be local responsibility and should involve as little use of “force” or fed intervention as possible.

  29. You could have put a little more flesh on the bones of Turx “misunderstood” response.

    He fully explained himself in the Tucker Carlson interview linked above. Putting a hunk of a twitter response so that you could hang your own conclusion on it is a bit cheap. He gave a full-throated defense of Trump’s response, and questioned why non-jews are running around trying to tell the Orthodox Jewish community that knows him well that they should believe him to be antisemitic.

    His short interview kinda blows up a good hunk of this article.

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  31. Of course President Pee Pee (Couldn’t resist. Realized today how this name came about. Boy am I dense.) “misunderstood” a reporter. Getting a politician to give a straight answer is as hard as saying “President Pee Pee” without laughing.

  32. I’d be put off by the question as well. But for an (almost entirely) different reason than Trump.

    Him: ” What we haven’t really heard be addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it….”

    Me: Ok. let me stop you right there. I am the President of an ostensibly free country. If liberty means anything it means the right to hold to your own opinions. Even wrong ones. Especially wrong ones. I believe anti-Semitism is wrong, it is a horrible form of religious bigotry, but I was not elected to impose that opinion upon the American people. So if you are asking me what the government is going to do about bigotry, religious or otherwise. my answer is: Nothing. We cannot and should not do anything in that regard. To do so would be to violate our most basic foundational principles.

    If you are asking me about actual crimes – property damage, violence, or specific and credible threats of violence – then yes, I agree it is the responsibility of the government to identify any culprits and seek to impose whatever criminal sanctions are appropriate. And under my administration that is exactly what we will do.

    Next question please.

  33. Trump is just anti-non-Trump. He’s that really dysfunctional person in your life that thinks he’s fine and the problem is everyone else. I never realized how fortunate I was not to have such a person in my life until now.

  34. Am I the only one who thinks that the US president condemning others for threatening to bomb someone is deeply ironic.

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