Because I frequently wake up at a depressingly early hour I sometimes wind up catching the replays of late night cable news hosts. That was the case today, and when I first tuned in I became concerned that some sort of constitutional crisis was engulfing the nation. Something had happened involving Donald Trump and he had disappeared. Oh no! What could it be?
As it turns out, Trump’s traveling press corps had been given the full lid signal last night as the President Elect settled in at Trump Tower. After they cleared out, the First Family in waiting decided to go out for a steak dinner at a nearby eatery. Yes, this was the crisis of the day. (The Hill)
Donald Trump left Trump Tower without his press pool on Tuesday to have dinner with his family, according to reporters.
The president-elect reportedly received a standing ovation and cheers upon arriving at 21 Club, a New York City restaurant, an hour after his spokeswoman had called a “lid,” signaling to the reporters following him that he was in for the night.
Spokeswoman Hope Hicks said she “wasn’t aware of this movement,” adding she wouldn’t do anything to “leave the press in the dark.”
So Trump ate dinner with his wife and children. Now, you might be wondering why this is so awful. (I know I certainly was.) It’s apparently a terrible violation of protocol, you see. No… I didn’t make that one up myself. It’s a quote from Sam Stein.
So Trump ditched his press pool tonight to grab a steak dinner– a terrible violation of protocol that his defenders will probably cheer
— Sam Stein (@samstein) November 16, 2016
The breathless diatribe I referred to at the top came from none other than Rachel Maddow at MSNBC, who introduced her brief coverage of this event by describing the story as, “really, really important.”
It is a matter of tradition, a matter of security, a matter of national interest that you don’t go dark… you don’t get to be a private person anymore. People get to know where you are at all times…
You may resent that you’re not allowed to have a private life anymore, but it’s a matter of national security and national interest…
You really don’t get to just go anywhere you want. It’s too important to the country.
Here’s the first thing to know about this. There is no law that says the press pool has to follow the President (or President Elect) at all times. It is, as Maddow grudgingly admits, “a tradition.” And the reason that it’s a “tradition” is because that’s how the press wants it. It’s particularly curious how she keeps repeating that it’s a matter of “national security.” Excuse me? Are the reporters all packing heat and prepared to take down any bad guys who show up? This would be a bigger story if Trump had given his Secret Service detail the slip, but apparently they were along for the ride.
Given Trump’s rather rocky relationship with the media (to say the least) and the treatment he’s received from most of them thus far, is anyone really surprised? Ultimately Donald Trump wound up having dinner with his wife and several of his children. If he had remained inside of Trump Tower he could have done the same thing and the press would not have been invited into the dining room to cover it. Add to that the ongoing protests by sore losers and this is fairly easy to understand. As soon as the reporters began broadcasting Trump’s plans and choice of restaurant the crowd probably would have shown up to hurl bottles and shut the place down. This, of course, is precisely what most of those same reporters would like to see because it would provide them with more B roll footage to continue the narrative of how “unpopular” he is and what a mistake the nation has made.
Do you really blame him for ditching them? And for the record, Trump’s spokesperson said she wasn’t told of the plans either, so if anyone ditched the press intentionally it was Trump himself. Somehow I think the republic will survive this terrible tragedy.