Trump spent his first solo press conference as president berating the press and dodging any serious questions – and none of it is ever going to be normal
It was an exhausting 77-minute extravaganza, and any five-minute segment would have been enough to make front-page headlines around the world.
Trump said he wasn’t “ranting and raving” during his press conference, and that was correct. The president was confidently unhinged as he spent more than an hour berating the press and boasting without any real basis that “there has never been a presidency that’s done so much in such a short period of time”.
Finally the president thanked us and we were dismissed. As I was leaving, he smiled and said to me, “You sure Saddam didn’t say anything about where he put those vials of anthrax?” and everyone laughed. I responded that he didn’t and, if he had, the president would have been the first to know. It was a lame response, but I thought his crack was inappropriate considering that the United States had already lost more than four thousand men and women, with tens of thousands injured.
—John Nixon, Debriefing the President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein, (New York: Penguin Random House, 2016), 168.
… Saddam was out of his depth. He never fully grasped the impact of 9/11, which he saw as something that might bring Iraq and the United States closer together. Since the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington were the work of Islamic extremists, Saddam thought the United States would need his secular government to help fight the scourge of Wahhabist militancy.
—John Nixon, Debriefing the President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein, (New York: Penguin Random House, 2016), 112.
For the last 36 years, since the advent into power of Ronald Reagan, public education and the public school system has been gutted. It’s criminal that we’ve seen how two whole generations have grown up with shamefully limited understanding of the world, history and geography. People in this country now have great difficulty in critical thinking and being able to express themselves.
The public mind has been shattered, fragmented.
Remember reading Macy’s book in the 80s, in the slide into darkness that was the Reagan Administration. Giroux’s got another piece analyzing US destitute thinking on truthdig.org. His hope placed in women’s marches, or Hedges’ calling for protesters to “make America ungovernable” remind me of Jacobin Magazine’s article on the”general strike” coming up, in which those “who can do so without being fired” should go on strike. I think people in this country now have great difficulty in critical thinking.
We subsequently found out, as the U.S. military prepared to invade Iraq, that Saddam was sending the latest draft of a novel he was writing to Tariq Aziz to critique. This was not a man bracing for a pulverizing military attack.
—John Nixon, Debriefing the President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein, (New York: Penguin Random House, 2016), 40.