August 16, 2017 Last Updated 12:43 pm

Press reacts, White House staff shrugs, US CEOs face tough decision, following president’s pro-white nationalist presser

Morning Brief: The president’s green lighting of alt-right activities presents news editors with a challenge, knowing that it has been targeted by the president as ‘fake news’ and ‘bad people’ it may only be a matter of time before journalists face violence while doing their jobs

The presser was supposed to be about infrastructure, it ended up about much more. It was the confirmation that I suppose many were waiting for: the president is aligned with white nationalism, and that is simply the way it is going to be.

One would think that this morning the announcements of staff resignations would be coming fast and furious, but as of 8:30 ET not a single administration official has handed in his or her resignation — not John Kelly, who was supposed to bring order to the White House but could only hang his head during Trump’s defense of the neo-Nazis; not Gary Cohn, Director of the National Economic Council, who said he was “disgusted”; not Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who stood next to the madman the entire time with a weird sort of smile on her face, either recognition that the man was off his rocker, or the look one gets when one takes enough drugs to make every thing look positively rosy.

newspaper front pages

Once again, the news about the USA president came too late for the European press to react and change their front pages. But Trump’s presser was scheduled early enough so that any news about infrastructure could get good play — at least that was the plan. Instead, the president’s remarks about the “alt-left” and “good guys” with tiki torches led most of the tabloids.

But there were exceptions. Many mid-major dailies depend on the Associated Press for their DC coverage, and their story was about the president’s calling out “both sides” rather than is overt support for the neo-Nazis. And in San Francisco, where you might expect all the news to be about the president’s presser, the big story is about efforts to try and prevent planned gathering in Crissy Field after the National Park Service granted a permit to right-wing groups to demonstrate.

Update: The president’s manufacturing council collapsed this afternoon after CEOs from 3M and other companies pulled out (Dell, you will notice below, decided to stick it out). Additionally, word was that the Strategy & Policy Forum had voted to disband, as well.

Finally, the president saw the writing on the wall and announced (via Twitter, of course) that he was pulling the plug, writing “Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!”

The New Republic, Brian Beutler:

Every Trump Official With a Conscience Must Resign

Given a second opportunity to revise and extend his original, ignominious response to the deadly, racist violence in Charlottesville last weekend, President Donald Trump instead descended to the lowest point of his squalid presidency. Flanked in the Trump Tower lobby by smiling cabinet officials, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao (and as Chief of Staff John Kelly looked on glumly), Trump volunteered praise for some of the white supremacists who rallied around a monument to the confederacy…

…It may not have dawned on Chao, as Trump’s comments ended, just how severe the backlash would be. Asked by reporters afterward to comment on Trump’s ongoing feud with her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Chao remarked, “I stand by my man. Both of them.”

Breitbart News, Tony Lee:

Fox News New Low: Establishment Mouthpiece Perino Implies Pro-Israel Breitbart a Nazi Site

Fox News viewers were livid after Dana Perino—long suspected to be someone, like Megyn Kelly, who cares more about the opinions of elites in New York and D.C. than Fox News’ viewers—smeared Breitbart News as a site for Nazis on Monday…

…Perino lashed out at President Donald Trump on The Five for allowing Nazis and the alt-right to seek “safe harbor under his wing” before adding that “the alt-right doesn’t even believe in the Constitution of the United States.”

“These are people who, through, sites like Breitbart for the last two years come after people,” Perino said. “I thought Nazis were something that we dealt in the past … of course, I knew [there were] like little groups here and there … but that America had a handle on it.”

She spoke about people having “been a target of some of the vile things [these people] did with all of their cucking and Pepe frogs.”

The Washington Post, Editorial: The nation can only weep
The New York Times, Editorial: Mr. Trump Makes a Spectacle of Himself
NY Post, John Podhoretz: Trump’s horrifying ‘take three’ on Charlottesville
Chicago Tribune, Steve Chapman: Donald Trump sinks to new depths of degradation
USA Today, Gabriel Schoenfeld: Trump Tower presser proved our president is far worse than a racist

Is there really a record book for tweets? Apparently

The Washington Post, Kristine Phillips:

Obama’s response to Charlottesville violence is the most liked tweet in Twitter’s history

Unlike some former presidents, Barack Obama is showing no signs of completely abandoning public life.

Since leaving office, Obama has commented on major events or controversies, including the terrorist attack in Manchester, England, and Sen. John McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis. He did so again on Saturday, after the deadly violence in Charlottesville.

Michael Dell is famously the person who said of Apple in 1997 “I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.” Whether he said it just to give a reporter an answer really matters not compared to the decisions the man makes today.

The manufacturer of computers that when presented to employees usually elicits a disappointed look, Dell is struggling to survive in a world where PC margins have evaporated. Their CEO, though, is a member of the president’s manufacturing council and so is faced with a decision: stay or go. He has decided to stay.

But Dell is not alone if having to make a tough decision going forward. Not only will other members of the manufacturing council face the same decision, but so will countless editors across the country. Today, many are reacting to the president’s presser with editorials and columns condemning his words, but there are much darker days ahead.

The Department of Justice has won an order that is designed to force website host DreamHost to hand over information on 1.3 million users of a website that has been accused of organizing a demonstration against the president that turned violent. Though people were arrested in the inaugural demonstration, the DOJ wants information on everyone connected with the website. Where will the US press stand on such a request?

And what happens when right-wing rallies come to local communities, and more violence erupts? At what point will the press itself become the target of violence?

The fall may be very dark, indeed. Editors and reporters should be prepared.

Gizmodo, Dell Cameron:

Dell Says CEO Will Continue to Advise Trump Even After Defense of Racist Rally

President Donald Trump angrily defended the torch-bearing racists who stormed the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend to participate in a white supremacist rally that culminated in the tragic slaying of 32-year-old Heather Hayer.

His words apparently had little impact on Michael Dell, the CEO of Dell Technologies. The company tells Gizmodo that Trump’s press conference changed nothing, and that Dell will continue to advise Trump as a member of the White House manufacturing council—even as #QuitTheCouncil began trending on Twitter and another of his peers abandoned the president citing personal moral obligations.

TechCrunch, Natasha Lomas:

DreamHost is fighting DoJ request for 1.3M IP addresses of visitors to anti-Trump protest site

Web hosting service DreamHost is fighting a Department of Justice demand to scoop up all the IP addresses of visitors to an anti-Trump website. The website in question,, organized participants of political protests against the current U.S. administration…

…In the warrant the DoJ demands that DreamHost hand over 1.3 million visitor IP addresses to the website, along with contact information, email content, and photos of thousands of people.

“That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment. That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone’s mind,” argues DreamHost.

“This is, in our opinion, a strong example of investigatory overreach and a clear abuse of government authority.”

There is way too much news going on right now for this story to gain much traction in the US. But The Australian, a Rupert Murdoch paper, led with a story about Donald Trump and mob connections. At least one US journalist is expecting there to be more about this in the future.

Not mentioned by Charlie, is the elephant in the room: the fact that Murdoch wants to stop the Sinclair Broadcasting Group takeover of Tribune Media, but the administration seems inclined to approve it. That would possibly cost Murdoch money and isn’t all this crap happening really just about money?

The Australian, Tessa Akerman, Michael McKenna and Troy Bramston:

‘Mob links’ killed Trump’s casino bid

Donald Trump’s plan to build and operate Sydney’s first casino was killed off in 1987 by the NSW government on the back of a high-level police report that warned against the now-US President’s bid because of his “mafia ­connections’’.

The secret report by the NSW Police Board into the suitability of tenderers for the inner-city ­Darling Harbour casino project cautioned that it would be “dangerous’’ to go ahead with Mr Trump’s joint venture with the Queensland-based Kern Corporation, headed by the late developer Barry Paul.

Documents show that the ­Unsworth Labor cabinet met in May 1987 to discuss the assessment of the four tenderers for the project, which also included a fin­ancial report that concluded Mr Trump’s consortium had overstated projected revenues from the ­casino.

Esquire, Charles P. Pierce:

Exactly How Much Does Rupert Murdoch Know About Trump?

To me, anyway, it seems significant that a Murdoch flagship publication would drop this story at this particular point in time. Trump’s rise to New York celebrity almost perfectly dovetails with Murdoch’s all-in dive into American media. They were part of the same go-go New York of the 1980s. They know all about each other, but Rupert Murdoch is 86 years old now and Donald Trump is President of the United States. If things between them go sideways, they know a great deal about each other, and I know who has the least to lose.

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