Senate's Big White House North Korea Briefing Lamer Than Field Trip To Box Factory
They didn't even get Ms. Frizzle to drive the bus
Hey, we can all stop worrying about Donald Trump doing a first strike on North Korea: Wednesday's big briefing for the entire Senate on the White House grounds (the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, actually) turned out to be little more than an exciting photo op for the Trump administration. There was no reason at all to pile almost all of the members of the Senate into a couple of buses and take them down Pennsylvania Avenue; the briefing could have just as well been held in a secure Senate room. But without the theatrics, why would anyone have paid much attention to it? Finally, we have bipartisan agreement on something: This Very Important briefing was no great shakes.
The briefing was classified, with input from Defense Secretary James Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Joint Chiefs chairman General Joseph Dunford, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was roused from a nap to remind everyone the State Department is still, technically at least, part of the U.S. government. To underline the wholly arbitrary nature of bringing the Senate to the White House, the same crew later traveled to Capitol Hill to brief members of the House of Representative. But for the Senate briefing, Donald Trump Himself showed up for a few minutes to introduce the whole thing, as did Mike Pence. That's what makes the Senate the more distinguished branch of Congress, you know. Totally worth the expense of turning an auditorium into a temporary secure facility instead of using one of the existing secure rooms at the Capitol.
The actual news from the briefing was that the Trumplings aren't asking Congress to authorize military force against North Korea; instead, they'll pursue tougher economic sanctions and negotiations, only tough-guy negotiations, not wimpy negotiations like Obama did. A later joint statement from Tillerson and Mattis, however, sounded exactly like every other administration has talked about North Korea, promising Team Trump would focus on “tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our allies." But maybe doing that while grunting more.
Tennessee Republican Bob Corker was clearly thrilled: Asked if he'd learned anything new about North Korea and the administration's policy, he said "I didn't, really," then adding "It was an OK briefing." When pressed, repeating, "It was OK." Another Republican who wasn't quite willing to go on the record was even less whelmed:
The Democrats at the briefing also did their best to make clear they didn't enjoy having their time wasted:
"We learned nothing you couldn't read in the newspaper," Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley told CNN's Erin Burnett Wednesday night. "It felt more like a dog-and-pony show to me than anything else," Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "I guess it has something to do with this 100 days in office."
Then there was the anonymous Democrat who told the New York Times's Jonathan Martin he wasn't even thrilled by the chance to see the President Himself:
At least some folks enjoyed the bus ride, according to Nebraska Republican Ben Sasse:
The Nine Fulltime Bloggers at Twitchy thought that was hilarious, because why is Al Franken so obsessed with going to the bathroom? To be fair, they saved a little kvetching for Sasse, adding "TMI, Dude!"
Since we're part of the Lying Lamestream Enemy of the People Media, we do feel compelled to defend Franken here -- clearly, he wasn't delighted because he had to poo during the six-block ride, but because the entire exercise was so damn silly -- terlets and all.
Can we have our check now, Mr. Soros?
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