In the wake of Donald Trump’s disgusting, narcissistic comments about Puerto Rican deaths as a result of Hurricane Maria, Trump made a rehab visit yesterday to areas of North Carolina hit hard by Hurricane Florence – and Fox News was so happy to help it was hard to know if they were reading from a White House press release or just sounding like one.
Of course, it’s a good thing for Trump to have visited. This time, instead of throwing paper towels at hurricane victims, he handed out meals at a Baptist church. America Newsroom anchors Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith as well as Fox reporter Bryan Llenas were too busy gushing to remind viewers of Trump’s shockingly unpresidential behavior as Florence bore down on the region less than a week ago.
Below are some excerpts from the breathless coverage that lasted more than 11 minutes:
LLENAS: You can see the line of volunteers stretched out here that are waiting to meet the president of the United States here. … These folks obviously very, very excited.
SMITH: He’s helpin’ hand out lunches to some of the volunteers there! … The president felt this was incredibly necessary to go down and thank these volunteers for the hard work that they are doing.
HEMMER: That flyover on Air Force One had to really leave an impression, too.
I think also, too, you know for the commander in chief, the president to be there today, it is really – it’s a shot in the arm for people who have needed to be lifted up and have their spirits carried through and also to know that , you know, the federal government’s got their back and they need a lot of help right now.
SMITH: As you can see, he’s handin’ out lunches! … You can see he’s talkin’ to folks, taking pictures with many, shaking hands. I guess it’s fair to say a very welcome moment for some folks who have been through some hard times.
1.6 million meals have been delivered so far…
Smith did mention that Trump had, during an earlier stop, asked about Lake Norman, the area where one of his golf clubs is. That prompted a comment from Hemmer, “Lake Norman is beautiful.”
Then it was back to rhapsodizing over the glories of Trump:
HEMMER: A little hug there for one of the young men. [The youngster just happened to ask for a hug and Trump gave one]
Pretty neat sight as the president continues to distribute meals to those pulling up, volunteers standing behind him. … Still a tough situation there but possibly a little bit of a bright moment here.
HEMMER: This trip is very important to the people of North and South Carolina.
Despite Trump’s handlers best efforts, Trump still managed to repeatedly stick his foot in his narcissistic mouth. In addition to asking about his golf course, Trump told one of the hurricane victims “Have a good time” while handing out lunches. The same footage was picked up in the Fox video and unremarked on though it’s admittedly hard to hear. Even worse, was this remark:
Trump to a homeowner in New Bern, NC, who had a yacht wash up in his backyard: “At least you got a nice boat out of the deal.” pic.twitter.com/twtT3it8ul— Mark Landler (@MarkLandler) September 19, 2018
That tweet, from a pool report, came after America’s Newsroom ended. So it’s possible neither Hemmer nor Smith knew about it during their coverage of Trump’s visit to the church. But I think it’s quite likely that even if they had, they would have held it up as an example of Dear Leader’s wonderful sense of humor.
Watch the rave reviews for Trump’s obviously carefully scripted North Carolina photo op below, from the September 19, 2018 America’s Newsroom.
A general comment is Trump doesn’t look thrilled to be there. No smiles. No excitement. No enthusiasm at all. If you’re going to do a photo op you need to do more than just go through the motions. Contrast his behavior here to how much the narcissist gets into his rallies where the crowds are cheering him feeding his monstrous ego.
I understand, despite Trump’s public bluster there’s a red wave brewing, his staff have finally gotten through to the block of concrete he calls a brain that he’s facing a debacle. As a result you’ll notice him following a script. First regarding the allegations against Kavanaugh and now with Florence.
The problem for Trump is none of this is really going to help him. Maybe it slows some of the bleeding but, quite frankly, his refusal to let the FBI spend a couple of days looking into Ford’s rape allegation will further erode his support from women who, according to the latest CNN poll, are completely fed it up with him. 64% of women disapprove of Trump’s job performance compared to 28% who approve. Let those numbers sink in.
Fox News drooling over this photo op? It’s not going to change any minds because, IMHO, the photo op is poorly handled, underwhelming and clearly insincere.