TRUMPadelphia: The Mooch is out, and everything is happening so much

Trump
Incoming White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, right, blowing a kiss after answering questions during the press briefing Friday, July 21, 2017. Now he’s gone. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Good morning, friends. I got many lovely emails from you all last week and had some really interesting conversations about the way we read the news today, some of which made it into today’s piece. So thank you! Let’s do this again soon.

You’re getting this email because you signed up for a newsletter about President Trump and how his politics affect the Philadelphia region. You can email me here with questions and suggestions and concerns (and links, if you’ve read anything good this week!); and if you’re reading this online you can sign up here to get this in your inbox every week. If you’re the tweeting sort you can follow me here.

-Aubrey Whelan


Today, let’s talk about the news cycle.

What’s at stake

We’re getting a little meta this week. We’ve been talking for a while now about how quickly news moves these days and how overwhelming it can be for people following politics. And the last two weeks have been particularly news-heavy — from White House palace intrigue (Godspeed, Mooch) to surprise policy changes that have serious implications for thousands of jobs (the ban on transgender military personnel).

The local angle

So, I asked you last week, how are you coping with this onslaught of news? Responses ranged from people who have culled all political posts from their social media; stopped watching TV news; found themselves in a fugue state scrolling through Twitter all night (okay, that one was just me). A Philly-based Democratic activist told me she finds a kind of peace in protesting; a former GOP spokesman said he tries to spend the first half-hour of his morning away from his phone.

Still: “It’s getting increasingly harder to be the person who says, ‘Oh, I didn’t see that,'” Sherri Hope Culver, a media literacy professor at Temple, told me. “There’s an increasing value between being put on being instantly informed.”

What’s ahead

President Trump, tweets aside, isn’t the only factor behind these seemingly unrelenting news cycles: the national media has invested heavily in politics, the media reporter David Uberti told me, and if you get your news from social media, you’re getting your news mostly in fragments — which makes everything that much more disorienting. And things probably aren’t going to change much. Our president approaches the news in a very different way than his predecessors, and that means he’s driving the news in a very different way, too — one that keeps readers, viewers and reporters alike almost constantly on our toes.

“The swamp will not defeat him.” — since-fired White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, referring to himself in the New Yorker last week. (This is one of the few sentences from his interview that I can include in a family newsletter.)

“A great day in the White House!” — President Trump on Twitter, hours after Scaramucci was fired Monday.

“He doesn’t think he’s in any legal jeopardy, so he really views this as a political problem he is going to solve by himself.” — a White House adviser, speaking anonymously to the Washington Post about President Trump’s approach to the Russia investigation.


In other news…

  • The Senate’s attempt to repeal Obamacare is dead (for now), killed in dramatic fashion by Sens. John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins. (The Washington Post has an equally dramatic rundown of of the scene on the Senate floor Thursday night.) What’s next for Republicans? Tax reform, my colleague Jon Tamari reports, and they can’t afford to lose on this one.
  • The Washington Post reports that President Trump personally dictated his son’s misleading first statement about his meeting with various Russians during the campaign — which has advisers worried it could invite legal trouble.
  • President Trump’s commission on the opioid crisis, chaired by N.J. Gov. Chris Christie, has recommended he declare a national emergency: 142 Americans a day are dying of overdoses.

What I’m reading


A non-political palate cleanser

Some guy SCALED CITY HALL and no one noticed until he put a video of it on the Internet.