Monday, January 30, 2017

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 1/27/2017

"Shields and Brooks on Trump's first week, the future of ‘alternative facts'" PBS NewsHour 1/27/2017


SUMMARY:  From Mexico to Russia, pipelines to refugees, President Trump had a busy first week of work.  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week's news, including an assessment of the President's executive actions and willingness to pick fights, the White House opposition against the media and whether the GOP will assert independence.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  From executive actions to early morning tweets, the first week of the Trump administration has been marked by a flurry of twists and turns.

To help make sense of it all, the analysis of Shields and Brooks.  That's syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

And welcome to both of you.

And I guess you could say, Mark, from Mexico to Russia, from oil pipelines to health care, it has not been a quiet first week.  How's it gone?

MARK SHIELDS, syndicated columnist:  Well, if you're a Trump supporter, it's gone terrific.

He's done what he said he was going to do.  He was — honored his campaign commitments on the wall, on keeping the borders secure, or safe, or limited, and stopping immigration as much as possible, and building the pipeline and going ahead.  I mean, so, in that sense, he didn't lose any support among his supporters.

Among his critics, I think whose doubts were very much, in large part not simply ideological, but about the temperament of Donald Trump, it's reinforced those doubts, his performance, especially the smallness of his preoccupation about the size of the crowd, which he keeps returning to in a rather bizarre fashion.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  How do you see this first week, David?

DAVID BROOKS, New York Times:  We were here a week ago together, and it feels like a century.

And I wonder, over the course of his Presidency, can he keep up this pace of news and busyness and conflict without just exhausting everybody?

And I will say, among business people I have spoken to, among political class, and among the Republicans on the Hill, just a great sense of being unnerved, unnerved at the instability.

Partly, he's done what he said, as Mark said.  He's undermined the post-war international order pretty quickly.  Tearing down TPP was a bill that I think economists say would have produced hundreds of millions — billions of dollars of earnings every year for Americans.

Picking a fight with our second biggest export market, very unnerving.  I don't see the — but then I think the two other things I would say is, the general sense of chaos and incompetence on how you do it.

OK, you want to pick a fight with Mexico.  Do you have to do it by tweet?  Do you have put forward a proposal that would have Americans paying for the wall, and then sort of withdraw it, and then sort of not withdraw it, do in a way maximally designed to polarize Mexican opinion against the United States?

And then the final thing is, I wonder, I'm left wondering, how much of this is real?  OK, he signs a series of papers that Steve Bannon and others wrote for him, but who is going to implement it?  Does it make any sense?  We saw that with the Syrian ban in the discussion earlier in the program.

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