The Minus Touch

Gail: Lately, I’ve been trying to listen to some of Trump’s performances with an open mind. Or maybe blank. Just pretending I don’t know anything about him and judging him just on the one moment I’m watching.

Bret: You must really be going deep with those meditation apps, Gail! I could never achieve that kind of composure.

Gail: On Sunday I was blank-mind-watching his announcement that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was dead as a result of an American raid. How could you not feel positive about that? But the president’s language was so self-serving, you’d think he did the deed himself, (“We moved very, very quickly”) Even on this, he lost me.

Bret: As you know, Gail, I wasn’t exactly Barack Obama’s No. 1 fan when he was in office. But after watching Trump’s performance on Sunday, I went back and watched Obama’s 2011 announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death. It was dignified and eloquent. And then I watched George H.W. Bush’s February 1991 announcement of victory in the gulf war, when he said this was certainly not a time to gloat.” What a contrast these two presidents provide! What depressing reminders of what presidential behavior used to look like!

Gail: Truly the bottom line rule of this administration is that no news is ever going to be really good. DJT will always find a way to make it awful.

Bret Stephens and Gail Collins, New York Times

October 29, 2019

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