Air Force One touched down in Tel Aviv this morning a little after five o’clock on the east coast. The President and the First Lady quickly deplaned and were greeted by Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife. It was one of the more friendly, informal initial greetings between world leaders I’ve seen in a while, with both men smiling broadly, shaking hands and joking about where they should stand for the pictures and in what order they should walk down the carpet. One microphone picked up the two leaders joking around with each other and Netanyahu saying that he never knows what the protocol is for these things. ABC News offered a preview of the upcoming agenda items as soon as the plane was on the ground.
The two-day visit there will include private meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, a wreath-laying at the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem and a visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
The stop in Israel comes after the president’s visit to Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, and will be followed by a trip to the Vatican, where Trump will meet with the pope.
I happened to have my television tuned in to MSNBC and their warm-up, five to six block actually did a good job of covering the arrival and the opening remarks made by several Israeli officials, including Netanyahu. He was beyond gracious in his welcoming speech, though he did seem to take a bit of a poke at Barack Obama and other previous presidents (without mentioning them by name, of course) when he noted that this was the only time that an American President’s first overseas trip had included a visit to Israel.
There was more going on after that, but if you were watching MSNBC like I was you probably didn’t know it because the six o’clock hour had rolled around. Morning Joe began, and even though they had a split screen going showing President Trump greeting and speaking with various dignitaries, Mika and Joe were talking about two things: Russia and James Comey. They were holding up newspapers with the latest rumors about who may or may not be directly under investigation. One of the only early mentions of “Israel” in the first block was for Scarborough to say that this trip to Israel was not going to distract the new special investigator from his duties, day after day seeking the truth. Since there was nothing new on the Russia story breaking overnight they were basically just rehashing what their network had already covered the night before while the President of the United States was walking into meetings in one of the most contentious regions on the planet.
Shortly after the program kicked off, I checked on Twitter and noted that the Morning Joe account had, for some mysterious reason, tweeted out a claim that they were covering the President’s trip. My response, I admit, was probably less than gracious.
That's funny. All I'm hearing so far is about Comey. https://t.co/JA03zePjUV
— Jazz Shaw (@JazzShaw) May 22, 2017
I suppose this is the response we can expect in much of the American press over the days to come. I realize that it probably comes as a tremendous disappointment to the legacy MSM, but thus far Donald Trump’s first overseas trip has been basically devoid of things to attack him over. (Though that didn’t stop some of them from trying.) In front of both Arab and now Jewish leaders, Trump has been managing to dive into foreign affairs with a series of seemingly productive meetings which have been well received by leaders in that part of the world. That’s not to say that issues surrounding the ongoing investigations in Washington have gone away or should be ignored, but you’d think that the details of this trip would be big news also, eh?
Perhaps not. It’s a brave new world to be sure.