The fact there’s a highway to hell and only a stairway to heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers. – Unknown
Welcome to the big show to end the week “Caught My Eye” (CME)!
If you are a first-time visitor, welcome! CME is the once a week column that is posted here every Friday morning. This is when I take a look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. There may be some sarcasm and pointed commentary so be warned!
Here are the topics that “Caught My Eye” this week:
- Trump in Missoula
- Williams/Tester Ads
- The Zinkes
- Rush Limbaugh
- One More Thing
Trump in Missoula:
I did not watch President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Missoula live, but I did watch it on C-SPAN2 later in the evening. You can also watch it by clicking HERE.
It’s always cool to see Air Force One sitting on the tarmac. It stands for freedom and liberty. It was especially nice to see it in a beautiful place like Missoula, Montana.
The headlines that came after Trump’s speech, in which he was promoting U.S. Senate candidate Matt Rosendale and the reelection of Greg Gianforte to the U.S. House, were not too kind to the President, and rightly so.
Trump talked about Gianforte physically assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs in 2017, saying “Any guy who can do a body slam — he’s my guy.” The crowd cheered. Trump added, “He’s a great guy, tough cookie.” There was laughter.
It was an embarrassing moment for Montana.
The headlines about Trump praising Gianforte spread across the fruited plains from the Washington Post, to Reuters, to the Associated Press, to Roll Call, to The Hill, to USA Today, to NBC News (just to name a few). They are in my Twitter feed @TheWesternWord.
For Trump to talk about and praise someone for attacking a reporter after Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi was apparently assassinated in Turkey two weeks ago is beyond belief.
After the praise of Gianforte, Guardian U.S. Editor John Mulholland issued this statement:
“The President of the United States tonight applauded the assault on an American journalist who works for the Guardian. To celebrate an attack on a journalist who was simply doing his job is an attack on the First Amendment by someone who has taken an oath to defend it,” Mulholland said. “In the aftermath of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, it runs the risk of inviting other assaults on journalists both here and across the world where they often face far greater threats. We hope decent people will denounce these comments and that the President will see fit to apologize for them.”
A President should not be doing this. Trump’s negative words toward journalists are going to get someone killed or injured.
But that was not the only thing that was embarrassing. The Montanans in attendance were shown on camera laughing and applauding as Trump called U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” several times.
Using that name the way Trump does to describe Warren is racist. Shame on the members of the crowd who applauded and laughed.
The remainder of Trump’s speech was a rambling talk about everything from his hair to Hillary Clinton, to the 2016 primary election, to Melania and her plane being on fire, to a few mentions of Jon Tester, who Trump wants to defeat because Trump is mad at him for vetting Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson. Trump had nominated Jackson to lead the Veterans Administration.
Some people tweeted that this was one of weirdest speeches Trump has ever given. I agree. Those in attendance laughing and applauding at the body slam and Pocahontas remarks from the President looked like redneck idiots.
Finally, all along I have said that Tester will beat Rosendale. I think it will be in the five-point range. This will be the first U.S. Senate election where Tester will receive over 50% of the vote. Rosendale is no Conrad Burns or Denny Rehberg. Tester will do better in the rural areas than Rosendale because he is a farmer. Tester will dominate in veterans vote.
Two Campaign Videos:
I happened to catch a couple of new campaign videos this week that I think are pretty good.
The first one is from the campaign of Kathleen Williams. It is titled, “Who We Are.” I have been waiting for something like it to air. The ad plays the audio of Greg Gianforte attacking the journalist in 2017. Powerful.
The second video is from the Jon Tester campaign and it is called “Deserve.” It talks about the bills dealing with veterans in the Montana legislature that Tester’s opponent, Matt Rosendale, did not support. They list the bills. It is also very powerful.
I don’t know if these are the final campaign ads of the season for William and Tester. If they are, they are a very powerful closing for both candidates.
It is not good news for Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke and his wife, Lolita.
The Washington Post reported that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s approach to his wife’s travel and activities sparked concerns among the department’s ethics officials, according to a report issued Thursday by Interior’s inspector general office.
Items that were discovered:
- Lolita Zinke rode in government vehicles, which is prohibited.
- Secretary Zinke directed his staff to research if he could give his wife a volunteer job at Interior so he would not have to pay for his wife’s travel with him.
- Taxpayers paid $25,000 to send an unarmed security detail with the Zinkes on their vacation to Turkey and Greece last summer.
- The IG inquiry also found that the secretary had invited two individuals who had hosted a fundraiser for him when he served as a congressman to go on an official trip to California’s Channel Islands, at government expense and had not notified Interior lawyers about the fact that they were former political contributors.
WaPo reported that Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift said the new IG report shows that Zinke had run his travel decisions by the relevant authorities at the department.
I think Zinke tries to skirt the rules where he can for his benefit. He seems to like shortcuts.
Rush Limbaugh Speaks:
Rush Limbaugh was interviewed by Sean Hannity this week. In my mind, Limbaugh is still the unelected leader of the conservatives, so conservatives and liberals should pay attention to what he says.
Limbaugh contends we, as a country, are at a tipping point. He may be right.
You can watch the whole 15-minute interview HERE.
One More Thing:
I get email updates from many candidates from all political parties. This week one that “Caught My Eye” came from the Trump campaign. The subject was “Get your FREE Trump Sticker” so that got my attention. I like free stuff. Trump is rich, so he should give out free bumper stickers, right?
The first line stated:
As one of our top supporters, we’d like to give you a free Trump sticker for you to proudly keep.
By the way, I do not donate to any candidates, so I am not a top supporter.
But then there was a second line:
All we ask is that you cover the shipping handling of $3.
What the %^&$? I am not paying $3 so you can list me as a donor.
They were ugly bumper stickers, anyway.
If any candidates (or staffers) would like to send me an actual “FREE” bumper sticker, I might use it in one of my columns. Email me at Western_Word@yahoo.com.