White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, has turned the daily briefings into must-see-TV. Day in and day out, Spicer, ranges from combative to frantic, as he is forced to defend and explain the incomprehensible moves and words of the administration and the man at the top.
This week, as the President was enjoying a rare moment of near universal praise for the strike on a Syrian airfield in response to alleged use of chemical weapons, Spicer stepped in it almost immediately.
On Monday, the press secretary seemed confused about the country’s position on the war in Syria. Spicer said there would be a “response” from the president if embattled Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad continued using barrel bombs, of which the Syrian government dropped 13,000 in 2016. Later he walked that statement back, saying “nothing has changed in our posture.”
Spicer’s major gaffe came Tuesday, however. Spicer, at the very least, flubbed an answer comparing Assad’s use of chemical weapons as being worse that Hitler’s action in WWII. At most he dabbled in Holocaust denial. He immediately heard calls for his resignation.
“You had someone who was despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” Spicer said. Spicer then tried, woefully, to explain the comment. Spicer, bafflingly cited Hitler’s use of “holocaust centers,” as the press looked on in amazement. He spent the rest of the day trying to recover, issuing several clarifications and ultimately apologizing.
“Frankly, I mistakenly made an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which there is no comparison,” Spicer said. “And for that, I apologize. It was a mistake to do that.”
Now, back to Trump’s brief wave of media appreciation from the Syria strike. The President enjoyed it so much that he wanted to keep it going by launching more artillery, but this time it wasn’t just any bomb.
On Thursday, the U.S. continued to flex its military might by dropping the GBU-43 on a series of tunnels in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province thought to be utilized by ISIS. The weapon colorfully dubbed the “Mother of All Bombs,” is the largest and most powerful non-nuclear bomb at the military’s disposal. The Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb has a blast radius of a mile.
The weapon has been available for quite some time but was never used due to concerns about civilian casualties. “It was decided that the civilian harm greatly outweighed the military gain,” said Bush-era official Marc Garlasco. The White House and the Pentagon said the risk of civilian casualties was sufficiently low at this target. The former Afghan president Hamid Karzai condemned the use of the weapon.
“This is not the war on terror,” he said, “but the inhuman and most brutal misuse of our country as testing ground for new and dangerous weapons.”
Last week, Brian Williams of MSNBC, drew criticism and mockery for his romanticized descriptions of war images during the Syria strike. Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” a show the President admittedly watches, one-upped Williams.
“That is what freedom looks like,” said the Fox host, after playing a black-and-white video of the bombing with an atrocious Toby Keith song playing in the background. Geraldo Rivera then offered his cringeworthy reactions to the use of the 21,000-pound bomb, with a pungent jingoistic flavor.
“One of my favorite things in the 16 years I’ve been here at Fox News is watching bombs drop on bad guys,” said Geraldo Rivera. The bomb killed 36 “bad guys,” reports show.
The Democrats and the Trump resistance suffered a defeat on Tuesday, losing the Kansas special election to fill the congressional seat vacated by newly sworn-in CIA Director, Mike Pompeo.
Republican Ron Estes fended off a surprisingly strong challenge from Democrat James Thompson. Estes won the special election by just 6 percentage points. Mike Pompeo easily won reelection in the reliably red district by more than 30 points, this past November. Both sides of the aisle attempted to spin the results.
“The recent Kansas election [Congress] was a really big media event,” President Trump tweeted, “until the Republicans won.” Trump continuing his constant criticism of the media, said that news organizations would “play the same game,” in next week’s special election in Georgia.
Vermont Senator, and former Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, endorsed Thompson and weighed in on the results on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“It is true that the Democratic Party should have put more resources into that election,” Sanders said. “But it is also true that he ran 20 points better than the Democratic candidate for president did in Kansas.”
Sanders kept his criticisms measured, however, as he prepares to hit the road with new DNC Chairman Tom Perez. The two will tour traditionally red states. “You can’t just be a West Coast party and an East Coast party,” Sanders said.
In sports, the Bruins and the Celtics both launched their playoff campaigns this week. The Bruins are currently in a 1-1 series tie with the Ottawa Senators
Lifted by a stellar performance by goaltender Tuukka Rask, the bruins stole game 1 in Ottawa by a score of 2-1. It was a gutsy come-from-behind win from the Bruins who have been plagued with injuries. In game two Saturday, the Bruins let a potentially commanding 2-0 series lead slip away, giving up three consecutive goals, including the sudden death overtime winner.
The Bruins play the Senators at home on Monday, looking to take back the series lead. In lieu of a formal, over-produced pump up video, here’s a compilation of Bruins commentator Jack Edwards doing his thing. Edwards has been in top form over the first two games.
The Boston Celtics dropped the first game of their series against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, losing 106-102. The real story, though, was star guard Isaiah Thomas, who face unimaginable tragedy the day before.
In the early morning hours Saturday, Chyna Thomas, Isaiah’s 22-year-old sister, died at the scene of a single car accident, in Washington state. All eyes were on Thomas as he started for the Celtics, despite the circumstances. Thomas led the team with 33 points in the game one loss. Coach Brad Stevens assessed the heroic performance at a post-game press conference.
“He was incredible,” Stevens said. “He’s an amazing, amazing player and an amazing person. Days won’t get easier for him, but somehow he plays like that.”
The Celtics will look to bounce back on Tuesday night at the Garden.