West Wing nervous breakdown — and media still won’t demand Trump resign

They called on Bill Clinton to step down

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Unfurling a West Wing nervous breakdown, Trump spent Mother's Day tweeting like a true mad man, posting and re-posting more than 120 missives. The rants ricocheted from alleged crimes by Democrats, to an array of perceived enemies swirling around his head, including a cable TV host, FBI officials, and the entire state of California.

The President of the United States collapsed into another of his bewildering and manic bouts of anger, while a public health crisis crippled the U.S. economy, and it was met with mostly shoulder shrugs from the Beltway media, which refuses to demand that the mad man resign for the good of the country.

The White House isn't the only institution guilty of failing to lead during our current pandemic. So are major news outlets that refuse to use their voice to demand change in the face of historic, deadly failure, as Trump refused to protect America from the virus invasion. The media failure is especially galling since more than 100 newspapers in the 1990s loudly demanded a Democratic president step down for the good of the country. That president's sin? He lied about an extramarital affair he was having.

"He should resign because he has resolutely failed — and continues to fail — the most fundamental test of any president: to put his nation's interests first," USA Today announced unequivocally of Bill Clinton in September 1998. "Bill Clinton should resign, echoed the Philadelphia Inquirer. "He should resign because his repeated, reckless deceits have dishonored his presidency beyond repair." The Denver Post, Washington Times, Orlando Sentinel, San Antonio Express-News, Anchorage Daily News, and Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader were among the dailies that joined the resignation chorus.

Does anyone think the allegations of deceit lodged against Clinton's character and actions back then don't today apply to Trump? Trump has openly colluding with a foreign government to dig up dirt on his political opponent, while offering up the assistance of the Department of Justice. He froze U.S. foreign aid to make sure the overseas dirt was unearthed, hid transcripts of presidential calls on secret servers in hopes of covering up the collusion, and publically threatened to expose the crucial whistleblower, insinuating that he or she should be executed. He's also urged that a Democratic member of Congress be arrested for treason.

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More? He's actively gutted the national intelligence apparatus. He's a chronic, habitual liar who's the single most destructive force in terms of misinforming the American public. He's promoted Twitter accounts that have shown support for the dangerous and demented online conspiracy theory known as QAnon. He regularly inspires white nationalist gunmen to unleash murderous attacks. He's been busy lining his pockets while serving in the Oval Office. He coddles murderous dictators. And today, nearly 85,000 Americans are dead from a pandemic, and almost 40 million Americans have lost their jobs.

"Any CEO who was deemed responsible for allowing a massive tragedy to unfold would be immediately called upon to resign or be fired, even if he or she were six months from retirement," noted former Clinton White House spokesman Joe Lockhart in a recent CNN column on why newspapers remain silent regarding Trump's much-needed resignation.

Added Michael Steinberger at The Atlantic last week: "In the face of Trump’s catastrophic ineptitude, as well as his obvious indifference to the pain he has inflicted on the country, how has the only nationally influential voice to demand his resignation been … Howard Stern?"

It's true that clarion calls for resignation certainly would not force Trump from office. They would however, help change the national debate and more accurately reflect the crisis our country faces with a pathological liar at the helm. And quite simply, the calls would be the right, and just, thing to do.

So why the deafening silence regarding Trump today? Isn't it time for newspapers to use their public platforms to call for Trump to resign and to make the case for a return to the rule of law in the executive branch? That loud condescending voice of moral indignation that rained down on Clinton has been replaced by embarrassing timidity for Trump.

The sad truth is, the Beltway press remains afraid of Trump — they're bullied and battered. And that's changed how they deal with the White House. Specifically, they refuse to fight back. Recently, Trump unfurled nasty public insults directed at ABC News' Jonathan Karl. When asked about the ugly attack, Karl insisted Trump "insults don't matter," which obviously gives Trump a green light to keep attacking reporters and denigrate newsgathering.

This week, CBS News' Weijia Jiang was on the receiving end of Trump taunts at a Rose Garden press conference. The next day, the Washington Post reported that Trump's outburst had shocked the press corps. Noticeably absent from the article was any public condemnation from CBS News regarding Trump's wildly inappropriate attack. Maybe like Karl, CBS News doesn't think Trump insults "matter"?

If news outlets won't get serious about Trump slandering their own employees, they're never going to get serious about demanding the mad man resign.

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Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl wrote a heartfelt open letter to fans this week in The Atlantic, "The day the live concert returns." It's about the hole in the heart of so many music fans these days as we come to the realization that live music, on any meaningful scale, will likely not return in 2020.

As a lifelong concertgoer, I know this feeling well. I myself have been pressed against the cold front rail of an arena rock show. I have air-drummed along to my favorite songs in the rafters, and been crushed in the crowd, dancing to dangerous decibel levels while lost in the rhythm. I’ve been lifted and carried to the stage by total strangers for a glorious swan dive back into their sweaty embrace. Arm in arm, I have sung at the top of my lungs with people I may never see again. All to celebrate and share the tangible, communal power of music.  

I can't wait for the return.


James Maddock, "Beautiful Now"

Speaking of the joys of live music, I think Maddock is the artist I've seen most often live in concert — at least 30 times over the last decade. The shows have most often been in New York City, especially at the Rockwood Music Hall. Maddock, who once lead the British band Wood before moving New York full-time, is an absolutely brilliant songwriter. And when he fronts a full band his infectious shows always swing with a giddy Americana joy that would make Levon Helms smile.

Here's a clip from an old show— who knows, maybe I was there.

As I look down the carousel of years,

baby there you are, a dancer crying salty tears,

a vagabond and a star, the slayer of mediocrity,

of every sacred cow, you were beautiful then,

but you're way more beautiful now