Trump turns on the charm with media foes at the Gridiron Club
Speaking to the Gridiron Club, a DC media insiders group that does not permit broadcasting of its dinners, President Trump demolished more than a few negative stereotypes about himself, while adding some carrot to the stick he has been wielding against the progressive Trump-haters. CNN has an account of the best jokes he made, mostly self-deprecating.
Some, however, contained barbs:
On the "failing New York Times":
"You, The New York Times, are an icon. I'm a New York icon, you're a New York icon. And the only difference is, I still own my buildings."
And even a serious message:
On Kim Jong Un:
"I won't rule out direct talks with Kim Jong Un. I just won't. As far as the risk of dealing with a madman is concerned, that's his problem, not mine. It's his problem.
This is a variant on General Mattis’s response when asked what keeps him awake at night. “"Nothing, I keep other people awake at night." But to a serious purpose. As President Reagan taught us, being regarded as potentially crazy tends to instill caution in one’s enemies. We know that the Kim regime is struggling to figure out Trump. This could actually help along their decision that it just isn’t worth the risk of calling America’s bluff while Donald Trump has the nuclear football at his side all the time.
Is this speech a sign that President Trump is initiating a new stage in his relationship with the media, now that the Russia collusion narrative has failed, Mueller is showing flop sweat, and the economy is booming? It might be, but Trump will never put away his tactic of attacking his enemies frontally. He is offering a face that is more approachable for those beginning to realize that full time Trump hatred is boring.
On February 28, I raised the possibility that President Trump may surprise everyone by attending, or at least publicly considering attending the White House Correspondents Association dinner.
I wouldn't put it past the president to shock everyone and attend, just to exercise the power he has, and maybe mess with the heads of his MSM foes. Imagine the tweets he could send out about his decision, tormenting the media swells. Maybe something along the lines of "Media people who hate and denigrate me are now desperate for me to attend WHCA dinner. Not sure I want to go and be insulted."
My guess is that he won’t go – this year. [But he] is mercurial, so I wouldn’t bet any money on it.