Media Loathed Hillary So Much They Forgot She Was Running Against Donald Trump
I was in D.C. last week for the first time since Donald Trump proved that our electoral process is silly. It feels like Vegas now with all the images of Trump around. Then I remembered he has the same job as the guy in the Jefferson Memorial. I tried to rationalize it in my head: Jefferson had unprotected sex with enslaved women. Trump reportedly has unprotected sex with adult film stars who can more or less come and go as they please. I suppose that's an improvement.
But how did we get here? How did our institutions fail us? It's not so much that Trump is an unqualified, racist radish head. He's also ridiculously corrupt.
Aleksandr Burman, a Ukrainian who engaged in a health care scheme that cost the federal government $26 million and was sentenced to a decade in prison, paid $725,000 cash for a condo at a Trump Tower I in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. in 2009.
Leonid Zeldovich, who has reportedly done extensive business in the Russian-annexed area of Crimea, bought four Trump units outright at a cost of more than $4.35 million, three of them in New York City between 2007 and 2010.
And Igor Romashov, who served as chairman of the board of Transoil, a Russian oil transport company subject to U.S. sanctions, paid $620,000 upfront for a unit at a building adorned with the future U.S. president's name in Sunny Isles Beach in 2010.
Buyers connected to Russia or former Soviet republics made 86 all-cash sales — totaling nearly $109 million — at 10 Trump-branded properties in South Florida and New York City, according to a new analysis shared with McClatchy. Many of them made purchases using shell companies designed to obscure their identities.
If you have a calendar handy, you'll notice those dates are all prior to the 2016 presidential election. Trump wasn't even living under the radar at the time. He was the host of "The Celebrity Apprentice: Russian Money Laundering Edition." Why wasn't there more concern raised during the last (perhaps literally so) presidential election that Trump was possibly a Russian patsy?
Oh, right, Hillary Clinton might have mentioned it once or twice, but her voice is just so darn shrill. Who could listen? Besides, Trump countered these charges during the third debate with a dazzling display of rhetorical brilliance that would shame Lincoln, as Trump's presidency does daily. Maybe if Clinton could've mustered a smile or two when informing us of the existential threat to our democracy Trump's election would cause, we wouldn't be in this mess. Still, where was the vaunted fourth estate during all this? I know newspapers are facing cutbacks but you can't just let the interns run things for a whole year -- maybe when it's just midterms but not during the election people almost care about.
It's disappointing because the media is normally pretty good at raising red flags. Remember how they warned us of the dangers of having two qualified, intelligent people in the White House at the same time?
If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, Bill Clinton will not become a regular at Cabinet meetings, his wife's advisers say. He will not be invited into the Situation Room. He will step away from his family's foundation work and may not even have an office in the West Wing, given the undesirable optics of a former president and husband looking over the shoulder of the first female commander in chief.
But the steps Clinton aides are planning to shape his new life do little to address a potentially thornier problem: Historically, when Bill Clinton does not have a job to do, he gets into trouble.
Wouldn't you give anything to have a bored Bill Clinton stirring up trouble in the Hillary Rodham Awesome White House right now? It's sort of like how I was once ambivalent about a "Will & Grace" revival. Then Trump won, the world went to hell, and I was desperate for the "Three's Company"-but-gayer multi-camera shenanigans I enjoyed in my twenties.
I swore I checked, but I couldn't find any major articles during the campaign wondering if Trump would install his Ivana-brand idiot kids in key White House roles. It wasn't a crazy idea: Trump famously said he'd run the country like a business, and the first three morons he inflicted on the world all worked for the Trump Organization, just like any normal crime family. Why was everyone suddenly surprised when Ivanka and her first husband Jared showed up for their unpaid work-studies in kleptocracy?
The Trump Foundation is a scam but you'll recall how the media was really concerned that the Clinton's actual, non-fake charitable organization might keep helping people with AIDS after Hillary's election.
There's also first lady Melanie Trump. Was she ever asked directly if she intended to move into the White House right away? Not an unreasonable question because she was the single mother of a then 10-year-old son. Maybe as a follow-up they could've asked if she even wanted to do the job at all. They grilled my girl Hillary back in 1992 when Bill was running. She was so prepared for the Benghazi hearings because of all the time she spent under the hot lights defending her tea and cookies policies.
First Lady is not an official title, and, although it has been a little too British and manorial for the United States all along, it has stood the test of time and is unlikely to fade away anytime soon. So First Gentleman will have to suffice, on the grounds of equivalency, even though it gives the perfect opening for asking how much of a gentleman he really is. (First Man or First Dude obviously won't fly, and the gender-neutral First Spouse isn't really parallel.) In a column this week, Miss Manners points out that protocol dictates that Bill would be addressed as Governor Clinton—the last, highest, non-exclusive position he held. So that, at least, would eliminate the confusion of two President Clintons announced at state dinners.
Seriously, I'm weeping. We could've had this and taco trucks for everyone. Instead, the media was more concerned with Hillary Clinton dying of Parkinsons AND Down syndrome (it's true; she's dead already), while today the New York Times graced us with this:
Just another normal day at the NYT. We guess if Hillary Clinton isn't renovating her kitchen without a permit or being asked for diplomatic passports and then saying no, the New York Times ain't particularly interested.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).