From the editors of the Washington Post:
SADDAM HUSSEIN was not “so good” at killing terrorists, as Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed. On the contrary, he was one of the contemporary world’s foremost sponsors of terrorism. He harbored or funded some of history’s most infamous killers and jihadists, including the current chief of al-Qaeda, and plotted numerous terrorist attacks of his own, including an attempt to assassinate former president George H.W. Bush with a suicide bomb. Long before the U.S. invasion of 2003, his regime was formally identified by the State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism. That Mr. Trump would insistently assert the opposite serves to underline not only his profound and disqualifying ignorance of foreign affairs, but also his creepy and dangerous affinity for dictators.
Trump’s North Carolina whopper must have been a real eye-roller among his staffers who wonder where he gets this stuff. Sadly, unless that staffer is a family member, Trump received no scolding. FOX News Howord Kurtz said this morning that Trump told him this week that WaPo had been more fair of late. Doubtful Trump holds that opinion this afternoon.
Small wonder is handlers – loosely defined as they may be – want to limit his access to the media. As Kurtz reported this week:
Donald Trump, in a sharp shift in strategy, is now refusing to appear on many television outlets, and top advisers who want to limit his exposure are no longer notifying him of every interview request.
According to sources familiar with the campaign, one faction is worried that the constant rounds of interviews entail too much risk of the candidate making mistakes or fanning minor controversies, even though his mastery at driving the media agenda helped power his Republican primary victory.
A series of clashes over these and other tactical questions has caused Trump himself to openly question who is running his campaign, the sources say. And he has expressed anger when he believes his orders aren’t being followed.
On the media front, Trump is no longer appearing on CNN or MSNBC. He is staying off the Sunday talk shows. Nearly all his national television interviews since June 1 have been with Fox News.
This more restrictive approach, combined with recent incidents in which some aides have acted contrary to Trump’s wishes, suggests a power shift as his children and especially his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, play an increasingly influential role.
Trump, who has resumed his full-throated denunciations of the media—such as calling CNN the Clinton News Network—personally vetted every TV invitation for most of the campaign. Now the staff is weeding out many requests without consulting him, the sources say, which could either be viewed as a mark of professionalization or an attempt to restrain Trump from being Trump.
Yet Trump’s gaffe has been overshadowed by events this week. The non-indictment of Hillary Clinton coupled with police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana and the subsequent assassination of five Dallas police officers kept Trump’s naiveté on the back pages.
And perhaps more importantly for Trump, what movement among #NeverTrump operatives to defeat Trump at the convention lost a week’s media coverage. Only eight days remain before the opening of the Cleveland convention.