December 31, 2017

Sunday School 12/31/17

I was taking a stroll through the hallways today, thinking I'd make one last stop in each of our Sunday School classrooms. But I started - and stopped - with CNN's State of the Union.

Why? Well, call me crazy but it seemed appropriate to end the year with someone interviewing Anthony Scaramucci. 

Yep - that Anthony Scaramucci, the one who once called Trump a "hack politician" and an "inherited money dude from Queens County" and who gave that  super focused interview with CNN back in July, in which he was super focused on telling us what the president was super focused on.

Today, the Mooch was talking with Dana Bash, for reasons that I will likely never understand. I mean, you're CNN - the most reviled network in the country, at least with the president and his followers.  You're number one with a bullet on the #FakeNews list, for cripes sake - and so you end the year talking to a guy who worked for the administration for 11 days before going down in flames because of his inability to control what he says to reporters?  I can only imagine that Ivana Trump or Marla Maples were unavailable to offer their opinions on how the president feels about year one.

That was Bash's first question - how is the president feeling about his first year in office?
Listen, I think the president feels great. I talked to him last Monday. And he's very happy with what happened as it related to the tax reform bill that was put in place recently. And so, listen, I think you got - 2018 is going to be a big year, a big year for the Republicans.
Honing in on the tax reform question, Bash wondered if the president was punishing Blue states in the tax bill, with the SALT provision, which limits the deductions for state and local taxes. Trump implied he could have worked with the Dems on taxes. Scaramucci knows the answer on this one, he does.
I think all the president's saying there is that there are always chips on the table for bargaining purposes. And so, because they weren't willing to deal with him, a lot of the chips that they could have used were left on the table. 
And so that is actually a signal from the president. He's trying to signal the Democrats that he's ready to work with them, and that whatever chips are on the table for health care or for DACA, he's there to negotiate with them. 
I mean, I think that's been the hallmark of his entrepreneurial success as a business leader, is being a great negotiator, and I think he's just trying to signal to these guys, listen, there's stuff that we can do together. 
As it relates to the SALT situation, I know people on the Democratic side will say that was a punishment for the blue states. I don't think anybody sees it that way. I think we're past that as it relates to tax strategy the good relationship with Secretary Mnuchin.
The goal there was just basically to find ways to lower the overall rate, but then also make everybody a little big more competitive and accountable on their budgets at the state and local level.
So -- so to me, I think, long term, that is probably short-term states for - short-term pain for the states like the one I live in, New York. But, long term, I think it will make those states more adaptive, aggressive, and leaner and more entrepreneurial. So I think it's a good thing, by and large.  
They talked a little about the FBI and the president's attack on the agency, as well as attacks from other Republicans; Scaramucci thinks it's just the president expressing some "frustration" but Bash wondered whether it's really Trump being worried about the outcome of the investigation.

After discounting that, and referencing the NY Times interview about how "he expects the investigation of Mueller to treat him very fairly" he offered some insight.
So, I'm not worried about it. I don't think he's woried about it. I think he's frustrated about it. I think he doesn't like the scandals incorporated that go on in Washington, where we find the scandal du jour to try and distract our political opponents from their agendas by picking on them personally.
And so I think that has got to stop on both sides, frankly. I have said that if Senator Clinton had become president, they would be attacking her on her emails, they would be attacking her on Uranium One. 
Washington has this magnificent way of finding scandals to hit people with to distract them from their agendas. The great news about the president is, he's undistracted, he's undeterred and I think he is going to have a phenomenal 2018.
There was more after that, but there's really no point in going any further.

Because while Scaramucci  may have convinced the folks at CNN that he's still close to the president, I'm not sure that's really true. Heck, I could have given any of the answers that Scaramucci did - all you have to do is watch the news.

And the answer about the "scandal du jour" and the fact that if Clinton has been elected she'd be attacked on Uranium One and her emails -- good lord, the email stuff has never stopped and Trump himself has been hammering on the Uranium One issue. News broke today that AG Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has ordered an investigation, as was promised last month.

The Mooch would know that, and CNN certainly should know that -- and certainly should have questioned it, instead of letting it lie like a sleeping dog.

Closing out 2017 with this guy sort is a perfect way to wind things down. And allowing interviews like this to stand without questioning the easy stuff is something that hopefully we'll see less of in the coming year.

See you around campus.

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