What PR genius advised Donald Trump to travel to East Palestine on Feb. 22 for a cheap campaign publicity stunt at the site of a possible environmental disaster?
Did the twice-impeached president really pose next to a pallet of “Trump Water,” which is normally quaffed by guests at Mar-a-Lago, that he donated to the people living near the toxic Norfolk Southern train derailment?
At least he didn’t toss the bottles into the crowd, a la his 2017 flinging of paper towels at Puerto Ricans in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
A few lucky folks got MAGA hats and some cleaning fluids, courtesy of the election-denier-in-chief.
Newly elected Ohio Senator JD Vance joined the fun. At a 2022 campaign rally, Trump said this of the "Hillbilly Elegy" author: "JD is kissing my ass he wants my support so bad." Vance is light on the self-esteem front.
Trump’s photo-op stood in sharp contrast to President Biden who made a heroic trip to Kyiv and then traveled to Warsaw to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Biden stood tall on the world’s stage, while Trump whined about the commander-in-chief “touring Ukraine.” He failed to mention the air raid sirens that blared while Biden and Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky strolled the streets.
Trump’s visit and phony display of empathy brought to mind his dismal rail safety record while he was in the White House, where he was in the pocket of the big railroads and their lobbyists.
Sara Chieffo, VP-government affairs at the League of Conservation Voters, said it was “the height of hypocrisy for Trump to feign concern for the community of East Palestine after years of openly mocking and rolling back environmental safeguards.”
She noted that his administration rolled back rail safety protections, cut funding to the Dept. of Transportation and the EPA, and dismantled nearly 100 environmental protections.
“Trump bent over backwards to cater to corporate polluters at every turn and put East Palestine and other communities directly in harm’s way,” she said.
The PR caper showed Trump as his craven worst. He doesn’t give a fig about the people of East Palestine. But they were needed as his props.
YouTube loves Russian propaganda. NewsGuard’s Misinformation Monitor reports the Russian propaganda channel, RT, produced 50 full-length films justifying the invasion of Ukraine. The videos are available on YouTube.
One of these gems features Russian president Vladimir Putin denying that he started the war.
“It was unleashed by the collective west, which organized and supported the unconstitutional armed coup in Ukraine and then encouraged and justified genocide on the people of Donbas,” said Putin.
Other films depict Ukraine as overrun by Nazis, while another has a grieving woman accusing Ukrainian soldiers of killing their own people.
YouTube didn’t reject NewsGuard’s report.
A spokesperson said YouTube teams “have quickly restricted and removed harmful content and our systems have connected people to high quality information from authoritative sources.”
Ron "What Me Worry" DeSantis. Florida’s tough-guy governor ain't afraid of no Russians.
He told the gang at Fox and Friends that Russia is a third-rate miliary power and downplayed the threat that it poses to American allies. “It’s important to point out that the fear of Russia going into NATO countries and all of that, and steamrolling that is not even coming close to happening,” DeSantis said.
Of course, does DeSantis know that his third-rate military power possesses nuclear weapons that could blow the world to bits? And that the guy in charge of those nuclear weapons is a paranoid lunatic who envisions himself as the reincarnated Peter the Great?
Ron may be able to bully Walt Disney Co. on the homefront, but underestimating the capability of Russia to create havoc shows that DeSantis is not ready for prime time.
America and its allies are lucky to have Joe Cool Biden at the helm.
All are welcome at the inn. The lodging business is making a robust comeback from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The American Hotel & Lodging Assn. projects the 2023 hotel occupancy rate will reach 63.8 percent, just off the 65.9 percent level in the 2019 pre-pandemic year.
State and local tax revenues will be up 13.6 percent to $46.7B over the same period.
“Hotels are making significant strides toward recovery, supporting millions of good-paying jobs and generating billions in state and local tax revenue in communities across the nation,” said AHLA CEO Chip Rogers.
One dark cloud is the shortage of hotel workers. There are currently about 100,000 open jobs in the lodging sector.
The AHLA affiliate called “Hospitality is Working” recently launched the Workforce & Immigration Initiative.
The effort is aimed at urging Congress to address labor shortages and to incorporate more immigrants into the American economy, especially the lodging business.
The American Dream beckons for many. Will Congress heed the call?