Inside the Beltway: Donald Trump Jan. 6 press conference stirs media curiosity

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The press is already offering both news and commentary about former President Donald Trump for a very specific reason: Mr. Trump is planning a press conference late afternoon Thursday from his residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. And of course, Thursday is Jan. 6, the first anniversary of the unfortunate attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Mr. Trump initially revealed on Dec. 21 that he would host this precisely timed event, and he repeated the message in a press release on Monday. Headlines and coverage in the past 48 hours offers speculation about the event, and judgment calls too.

“At the time of a Capitol prayer service on Jan. 6, Trump will deliver remarks doubling down on the ‘Big Lie.’ The riot at the Capitol briefly looked like it had broken Trump’s hold on the GOP. Instead, he has reaffirmed his dominion over the party,” advised Politico in a two-part headline.

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“The cruelty of Trump’s Jan. 6 press conference,” noted a headline from The Hill, heralding an op-ed on the subject by Douglas MacKinnon, a former White House official.

“Trump’s ‘tone-deaf’ plan for Jan. 6 press conference slammed by Republicans [and] former aide,” noted Newsweek, citing a quote from Alyssa Farah, a former communications aide to Mr. Trump.

“He’s still getting terrible advice from folks around him. This would be a wise day for him to stay silent, to let those who were victims on Capitol Hill talk about that very important and solemn day,” Ms. Farah said.

Media interest may change though. Will the press curb its coverage of Mr. Trump’s event? We’ll know Thursday.

CHRIS MATTHEWS’ WARNING

Former MSNBC host Chris Matthews — who presided over his primetime talk show “Hardball” from 1997 to 2020 — issued a noteworthy tweet to his 948,700 Twitter followers on Monday.

“I want Hardball fans to know how I appreciate your faith in me. 2022 could be a great time to show what we’ve learned. I tried to warn we were headed too far left,” Mr. Matthews advised.

This was his first tweet since Oct. 28, by the way.

DON’T ‘CIRCLE BACK’ OR ‘DEEP DIVE’

Politicians, pundits, news anchors and spokespersons may have to rethink their use of the popular much-used phrases “circle back” and “at the end of the day.”

Both phrases made the annual “Banished Words List” issued by Lake Superior State University, a tongue-in-cheek designation that calls attention to words and phrases which are “overworked, redundant, oxymoronic, clichéd, illogical, nonsensical — and otherwise ineffective, baffling, or irritating,” the university noted in a statement.

“If you’re going to turn to the vernacular to make yourself known, be sure you’re accurate and concise. Avoid error in and exploitation of everyday language. In short, do the opposite of what the public and the media did this year,” the school said.

The “winner” and top offender for 2021 was the phrase “Wait, what” — followed by “No worries” and “At the end of the day.”

“That being said,” was fourth place, followed by “asking for a friend,” “circle back,” “deep dive,” “new normal,” “you’re on mute” and “supply chain.”

The last three phrases are related to the coronavirus pandemic, the judges said. Some 1,250 nominations for the banished words and phrases arrived at the university from around the U.S., Norway, Belgium, England, Scotland, Australia and Canada.

“Most people speak through informal discourse. Most people shouldn’t misspeak through informal discourse. That’s the distinction nominators far and wide made, and our judges agreed with them,” said Peter Szatmary, executive director of communications at the university, which has compiled the list annually since 1976.

THE MOST IMPORTANT PRIMARIES OF ALL

Should we bother to pay attention to primary races around the U.S. Yes, says David Catanese, a Substack columnist.

“Primaries are uncomfortable family feuds where rivalries run more personal and bruises last longer. The distinctions are trickier and there’s often more than two people in the fray. This not only makes them more fun, but instructive,” he wrote.

“Primaries tell us about the animating arguments beating inside the heart of each party. They pry open and pick at its weakness, risking the health of the entire organism. They test just how far candidates and their hired guns will go to bury one of their own. They gauge a person’s willingness and ability to reconcile, heal and then unite,” he said.

Mr. Catanese has also identified what he considers the five “most consequential primary races” of 2022. And here they are, listed in order of their importance:

Rep. Liz Cheney vs. Harriet Hageman on Aug. 16 in Wyoming; Gov. Brian Kemp vs. David Perdue on May 24 in Georgia; Sen. Lisa Murkowski vs. Kelly Tshibaka on Aug. 16 in Alaska; Lt. Gov. John Fetterman vs. Rep. Conor Lamb vs. state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta in Pennsylvania on May 17; and Attorney General Ken Paxton vs. George P. Bush vs. Louie Gohmert vs. Eva Guzman in Texas on March 1.

The Pennsylvania primary is a Democratic contest for the state’s U.S. Senate seat. The other four are all Republican races for offices now held by the first-named incumbents.

NIGHTSTAND READING

Presidential historian and Ronald Reagan biographer Craig Shirley has a new book arriving titled “April 1945: The Hinge of History.” It is his companion book to “December, 1941,” published in 2013.

Both books focus on the state of America in the World War II era in remarkable detail, along with the pivotal world events at that time.

Mr. Shirley is known for his meticulous research and clear, often unique perspectives on events and cultural influences. The book arrives Feb. 22 but is already available for preorder, the author advises. Preorders can be made through Amazon or the publisher, Thomas Nelson.

POLL DU JOUR

• 59% of U.S. voters say they are “very proud” to be an American; 75% of Republicans, 55% of independents and 47% of Democrats agree.

• 24% of voters overall are “somewhat proud” to be an American; 18% of Republicans, 22% of independents and 29% of Democrats agree.

• 10% of voters overall are “only a little proud”; 4% of Republicans, 11% of independents and 15% of Democrats agree.

• 5% overall are “not at all proud”; 1% of Republicans, 7% of independents and 7% of Democrats agree.

• 2% overall don’t know or have no opinion; 1% of Republicans, 5% of independents and 2% of Democrats agree.

SOURCE: A Politico/Morning Consult poll of 2,000 registered U.S. voters conducted Dec. 18-20 and released Monday.

• Helpful information to [email protected]

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