A porn actress, the president of the United States' lawyer, and the most popular television host in America walk into a court room ...
Nah, no one's going to buy that plot, right? It's too crazy, too over-the-top. But what did we expect, really? We elected a reality show host to the presidency, and he's turned the entire country into a reality show.
It's getting really hard to keep up. I used to bang out this column on Monday and clean it up and revise it a little on Tuesday morning, just before we went to press. Now, that's become almost impossible, especially if I'm writing about national politics. I'll get Trumped every time.
This past Monday, for instance, I took a break to walk up the five stories to the roof of the Parking Can Be Fun building next to our offices. I do this two or three times a day, because when my Fit-Bit buzzes and tells me to get moving, I must obey or risk not making my daily goal of 8,000 steps. Then I will die — or something.
Anyway, I like the view from up there. You can see the river, brown and swollen with snowmelt from Minnesota; you can see the trees over in Arkansas, freshly emerged from the seasonal floods and sporting the tender greens of spring; you can watch the geese fly against a perfect morning-blue sky. You can clear your head and think about what you might want to write about. And I came up with a couple of ideas. Silly me.
When I returned to my desk, the internet had blown up with the news that Trump's fixer's lawyer, the attorney representing Michael Cohen, had been forced to reveal in court that Cohen was also an attorney for Fox News mega-host Sean Hannity. What? Hannity immediately intimated that Cohen was a liar and didn't really represent him but that he wanted attorney-client privilege. What?
Porn stars and presidents and right-wing nuts, oh my! Twitter went crazy; the cable channels went into overdrive; the news cycle had a shiny new toy — and the never-ending American political circus had a new act.
Let's think a minute about what's happened in the past few days. First, the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, announced he wouldn't run for reelection. Then, on Friday, Cohen, who was supposed to be in court facing off against porn star and former Trump paramour Stormy Daniels, was seen smoking cigars on the street with Russian oligarchs and mafioso types. That night, Trump announced a bombing raid on Syria. The former FBI director, James Comey, released a book that exposed the president as a shallow, self-centered liar (shocker!) and went on television to talk about it. On Sunday, UN Ambassador Nicki Haley announced tough new sanctions on Russia — which were reversed on Monday by Trump.
And that was just the weekend.
Monday night, the cable shows chewed through the events of the day, trying to stuff in segments on Hannity's ethical malfeasance in promoting Cohen on his show without revealing his personal connection, Comey's provocative book, and Trump's subsequent eviscerating tweets. The fact that the United States had bombed a country in the Middle East three days prior was lost in the shuffle, having been assessed by most as a meaningless wag-the-dog moment with no casualities and no real consequences. In normal times, any of these stories would have consumed a week's worth of punditry and analysis. Now we're all just trying to keep up, while the carousel goes round and round.
Perhaps figuring we all needed a break, the president and his wife flew to Trump's resort in Florida (on separate planes) for five days of vacation, but not before leaving us with several tweets about crooked Hillary and lyin' Jim Comey. Trump will presumably spend the rest of the week golfing and tanning. We can hope so, anyway.
Seriously, I'm exhausted just recounting all of this. I probably need another trip to the rooftop of Parking Can Be Fun, but I'm afraid I'll miss something.