Some of us remember the days when the Associated Press used to at least feign neutrality in its reporting. It seems those times are long gone. Enter Jonathan Lemire, who has penned a two-year retrospective of Mr. Trump’s brief tenure in the Swamp. It is a spiteful iniquitous offensive launched at the president filled with superficiality over substance. But then again, that’s the stock and trade of the Swamp – optics trump achievement every time.
The A.P. Wrecking Ball
Mr. Lemire asserts that the president took a “wrecking ball to decorum and institutions” and has “rewritten rules of the presidency.” What’s more, Mr. Trump has damaged the established view of the presidency in myriad ways:
In Trump’s Washington, facts are less relevant. Insults and highly personal attacks are increasingly employed by members of both parties. The White House press briefing is all but gone, international summits are optional, the arts are an afterthought and everything – including inherently nonpartisan institutions and investigations – is suddenly political.
While the legacy media is caught up in the minutia let’s review a few facts for them:
- 4.2 percent growth in the second quarter of 2018.
- For the first time in more than a decade, growth is projected to exceed 3 percent over the calendar year.
- 4 million new jobs have been created since the election, and more than 3.5 million since Trump took office.
- Jobless claims at lowest level in nearly five decades.
- African-American unemployment hit a record low of 5.9 percent in May 2018.
- Hispanic unemployment at 4.5 percent.
- Asian-American unemployment at record low of 2 percent.
- Women’s unemployment recently at lowest rate in nearly 65 years.
- Youth unemployment recently reached its lowest level in more than 50 years.
- Veterans’ unemployment recently hit its lowest level in nearly two decades.
- Unemployment rate for Americans without a high school diploma recently reached a record low.
- Rate for disabled Americans recently hit a record low.
- Blue-collar jobs recently grew at the fastest rate in more than three decades.
- Added more than 400,000 manufacturing jobs since the election.
- Manufacturing employment is growing at its fastest pace in more than two decades.
- 100,000 new jobs supporting the production & transport of oil & natural gas.
- Median household income rose to $61,372 in 2017, a post-recession high.
- Paychecks rose by 3.3 percent between 2016 and 2017, the most in a decade.
- Some 3.9 million Americans off food stamps since the election.
We could easily go on, but you get the picture.
Next is the complaint that the White House Press Briefing has all but vanished. And why, pray tell, would that be? Is it because of the president’s lack of decorum? Or would that be a lack of restraint and propriety demonstrated by CNN’s White House Correspondent Jim Acosta?
Then comes the most laughable criticism of them all: “the arts are an afterthought.” What? Rome is on fire, and the A.P. is concerned about the presidential effect on the arts? This assertion leads one to speculate whether Mr. Lemire found something worth smoking in his stocking this year.
Finally, we reach the apex of the A.P.’s argument against Trump, and here they may be spot on: “everything – including inherently nonpartisan institutions and investigations – is suddenly political.” This does seem to be the case. But why is the president held responsible for this? Is he the one calling for investigations without evidence of a crime? It appears the A.P. has its weapon aimed in the wrong direction. It is not President Trump who has managed to politicize everything under the sun – it’s the advocacy media.
Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley is quoted in the A.P. article as saying that President Trump has “dynamited the institution of the presidency.” Well said, Mr. Brinkley, and amen. Let’s hope and pray Mr. Trump continues to defy convention as we turn the corner into 2019. An extra stick of political dynamite can be very useful in the Swamp from time to time.