We ask if Thomas Perez being new DNC chair, Priebus violating White House norms, and President Trump not going to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, actually news?
Even though you probably hadn’t noticed, we were out of the office this past week. And while we generally kept up with the bigger stories that was happening around politics, we figured with President Trump’s State of the Union tonight it would be smart to look at some of the headlines from the past week to see if it’s really news! Let’s get right into it!
A Washington Post headline reads, “Thomas Perez elected the first Latino leader of Democratic Party.” The story goes on to say that Perez’s win over Keith Ellison was a huge blow to the liberal-wing and could potentially cause a rift within the Democratic Party. So is this Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair race news?
For those that don’t know, the Democratic National Committee held an election last weekend to see who would be their new chair. The position is important because essentially the DNC chair dictates election strategy for the Democratic Party moving forward (ie the pivotal 2018 and 2020 electoral contests). While there were many people vying for the coveted spot, it essentially came down to two individuals; Democratic establishment favorite/former labor secretary Thomas Perez and progressive favorite Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota.
As you can see from the headline above, Perez won by a close victory. Also this didn’t go over too well with some Ellison supporters that were in attendance.
Keith Ellison supporters lead chant "party for the people! Not big money!" over DNC officials pic.twitter.com/hljzyyWnqB
— Jeff Stein (@JStein_Vox) February 25, 2017
While this isn’t the best look for the Democratic Party, we should remember that inter-party elections like the one the Democrats had this weekend are always very contentious. The real question remains whether progressives in the Democratic Party feel betrayed by the party leaders, because they chose Perez over Ellison?
Because remember, for the last two months, Ellison looked as if he would be the DNC chair, going to “more mainstream venues” like The Daily Show and giving his views of how the Democrats could move forward. It wasn’t until Barack Obama and his allies started to persuade DNC leaders to go with Perez in the last days leading up to the DNC vote. Also if you take into account that an “establishment pick” like Hillary Clinton fell short in the 2016 presidential contest, it’s understandable why progressives would feel slighted. In many ways, the left-wing in the Democratic Party felt it was their turn to steer the party forward.
But as for right now, in terms of Thomas Perez now heading the DNC, yeah that is significant news. As for Democratic Party being fractured, that remains to be seen.
Politico is reporting that “Priebus request to FBI violated norms, if not rules.” It goes on to say that President Trump’s Chief-of-Staff, Reince Priebus, could have violated legitimate rules regarding “political tampering with law enforcement.” So, is this news?
It absolutely is, but only if you consider how it fits with the rest of the stories about the Trump administration.
For those that don’t know, it was reported that President Trump’s Chief-of-Staff, Reince Priebus, had asked FBI officials – which included FBI director James Comey – to refute reports that people within the Trump administration had any contact with Russian Intelligence. Of course, there’s been a long standing agreement in multiple administrations that the White House staff and various justice departments won’t discuss ongoing investigations without legal clearance. While it’s still unclear if President Trump has completely abandoned those rules for his White House, this Priebus situation basically encapsulates all the fears that people have with the Trump administration!
From the perceived lack of ethical guidelines within the administration to strong-arming independent government agencies to their alleged connections with Russian Intelligence, the Trump administration looks to be in constant chaos at best, and compromised by outside forces at worst. The story of Priebus talking to the FBI just looks to be another block in a bigger substantial story about the Trump administration!
Honestly it would have been bigger news if it weren’t for the next headline!
CNN’s headline reads, “Trump declines to attend White House correspondents’ dinner.” As we all know, this is a dinner that raises money for journalism scholarships that is usually attended by the press, various random celebrities, and most importantly the president! However, President Trump is saying “thanks, but no thanks” to his invitation this year. So, is this news?
Oh man! We’re pretty torn about this one.
On one hand, the White House Correspondent’s Dinner is one of those traditions that REALLY should just die a slow and painful death! The event has become the poster child in the perceived, cozy relationship that the mainstream press and politicians have with each other. However, President Trump’s response just looked to be one out of convenience.
I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2017
President Trump has made it incredibly clear that he has no love for mainstream news outlets, going as far as calling them “the enemy of the people” in his address at last week’s CPAC Conference. While many would consider President Trump’s move justifiable, in context with his larger war with the media, it’s significant because the president not attending almost makes it look as if he’s delegitimizing the press in American politics. Which is concerning on multiple levels.
While on the surface, this story isn’t really news, but in the larger context of President Trump’s attempts to delegitimize the media, you can see how it could be.
(Photo Credits: Pixabay.com, Washington Post, CNN website, Politico)