Things seem to go off the rails every time President Trump declares it’s “infrastructure week,” but last week was particularly terrible. In addition to another horrific mass shooting, the administration was dealing with a number of uniquely Triumpian controversies: the White House’s mishandling of domestic violence allegations against a top aide, new reports suggesting Trump had a system for keeping his mistresses silent, and indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller that undercut Trump’s frequent claims that Russia did not meddle in the 2016 election.
It seemed Trump’s strategy was to keep a low profile. After tweeting out just one offensive remark about the Parkland shooting, the president headed to his resort in Florida, and quietly met with several victims and first responders at a hospital on Friday night. His friend Geraldo Rivera reported that he “was deeply affected” by his time spent with the victims, “impressed by their courage,” and “equally distressed by the savagery of their wounds.”
Aides said he’d canceled plans to spend Saturday and Sunday golfing out of respect for the victims, but it seems being cooped up at Mar-a-Lago all weekend wasn’t the healthiest choice. Per the Washington Post:
He spent much of the time watching cable news, venting to friends about the Russia investigation and complaining that it has been driving so much press coverage, according to people who have spoken to him. The president also surveyed Mar-a-Lago Club members about whether he ought to champion gun control measures in the wake of last week’s school massacre in nearby Parkland, telling them that he was closely monitoring the media appearances by some of the surviving students, according to people who spoke with him there.
Starting on Saturday night, Trump exploded on Twitter. After making the ridiculous suggestion that the FBI’s focus on the Russia investigation prevented agents from stopping the school shooting, the president let loose on everything from President Obama and Iran to CNN’s ratings to the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, who he called “Liddle’ Adam Schiff, leakin’ monster of no control.”
Just when it seemed like the tirade was over, late on Sunday night he offered one more thought on his dream nemesis, Oprah Winfrey.
Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t seem Trump actually watched the 60 Minutes segment, which was the followup to a previous discussion with a bipartisan group of 14 Michigan voters. The group stayed in touch and became friends despite their political differences, and plenty of time was devoted to Trump voters loudly expressing why they still support the president. The majority of Winfrey’s questions to the group were totally neutral:
Oprah Winfrey: How many people here voted for him? Just to remind everybody. And how many of you would vote for him again? You would vote for him again?
Oprah Winfrey: So the tax plan, do you feel, are you gonna personally benefit from that?
Oprah Winfrey: Tom, you said the quote that was so memorable the last time, I love him more and more every day. Do you still feel that?
She cited two irrefutable facts when setting up questions: first, that “polls are showing that respect for the United States is eroding around the world” and second, that some members of Congress have questioned Trump’s “stability and fitness for office.”
Winfrey only expressed her own opinions when she challenged a Trump supporter’s claim that the president was only referring to the economy of the “shithole countries,” not their people, and when she told a man who scoffed at the idea of joining a Women’s March that the #MeToo movement was about people “just asking to be heard.”
The timing of this particular Oprah attack was particularly bizarre because she reiterated in an accompanying 60 Minutes web video that she has no intention of running for president, and said of the Golden Globes moment that started the latest speculation, “I was just trying to give a good speech.”
But of course, this is a president who just falsely claimed that he never denied Russia meddled in the 2016 election, and who seems desperate to be back on the campaign trail attacking a female opponent, whether it’s Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, or Oprah Winfrey.