Topic: Media Research Center
Clay Waters beings his Jan. 20 Media Research Center post by ranting:
As if trying to poison the Potomac water for the new president on his first day in office, the New York Times Inauguration Day off-lead story tried to wrong-foot Trump the moment he takes his hand off the Bible: “With an Oath, Complications In Hotel Lease – Ethical ‘Minefield’ for the President-Elect” by Eric Lipton and Susanne Craig.
The jump-page headline read, “At Trump Hotel in Washington, Champagne Toasts in an Ethical ‘Minefield.’” The online teaser was blunt: “From the moment he is sworn in, Mr. Trump may be in violation of a lease with the federal government.”
At no point does Waters dispute the accuracy of the article -- only that it makes Trump look bad.
Waters punts on the idea of defending Trump against violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, farming that out to the right-wing Weekly Standard, where writer Edwin Williamson spins that Trump is exempt from the clause and divesting all financial conflicts is just so hard. And how hard is Williamson spinning all this? This hard:
Trump, however, is going further than the emoluments clause would require, in order to avoid a problem the media has drummed up -- foreign officials will try to curry favor by staying at Trump hotels. Trump has committed all profits on rooms rented by foreign officials to be paid to the U.S. Treasury. Thus, he has taken all profits out of staying at Trump hotels.
Williamson does not provide any reason Trump's words should be trusted, especially given that he notes no evidence that Trump is making the mechanism that will supposedly divert those profits with any sort of transparency.
We suspect neither Waters nor Williamson took President Obama's word for anything, yet they think we should ignore Trump's lengthy trail of falsehoods and take whatever he says at face value.