It’s a common exercise in journalism schools to give students a press release or characterisation of events and ask them to come up with an attention-grabbing lead paragraph (in journalist-speak, ‘lede’ par) from the assembled facts. Which begs the question, how would you open a story about Donald Trump’s day yesterday?
All the below are actually things uttered in the past 24 hours by Donald Trump, arranged in rough chronological order:
KFC with a knife and fork …
On workplace sexual harassment. On Monday evening, Trump defended Fox News former boss Roger Ailes. Asked what he would expect if his daughter was harassed at work, like Ailes is accused of having done to his staff, Trump said:
“I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case.”
The issue continued to gather steam on Tuesday, with two of Trump’s children giving TV interviews softening their fathers remarks. Eric Trump said:
“There is no question that that should obviously be addressed, and it should be addressed strongly … that is an absolute no-go anywhere, and that’s very much the case … I think what he’s saying is, Ivanka is a strong, powerful woman, she wouldn’t allow herself to be objected to it, and by the way, you should take it up with Human Resources.”
Ivanka Trump said:
“Sexual harassment is unacceptable … We have a very strong HR team at the Trump organisation who is equipped to deal with these issues if they arise.”
Trump wars with Republican party leadership. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator John McCain have both criticised Trump and his policies and statements in recent days. Yesterday, Trump told the Washington Post he would not back Ryan or McCann in their primary battles within the next few weeks. On Twitter, he praised Ryan’s opponent. Trump told The Washington Post:
“I like Paul [Ryan], but these are horrible times for our country. We need very strong leadership. We need very, very strong leadership. And I’m just not quite there yet. I’m not quite there yet.”
‘The worst president in history’. A longer statement also was released on Facebook …
‘I always wanted a purple heart’. At a rally in Virginia on Tuesday night, Trump is approached by a veteran who gives him Purple Heart medal in a show of support. The medals are awarded to those wounded in action or to their family members if they are killed as a vote of confidence. Trump responds:
“I always wanted to get the purple heart. This was much easier.”
The joke follows reports that Trump deferred his Vietnam draft five times in his youth, four times to complete his studies and once because he had bone spurs in his heels, despite his seeming athleticism at college and having described the injury as “temporary” and “minor”. That investigation by The New York Times followed Trump’s belittling of the Muslim family of an American solider killed in Iraq, after that family criticised Trump’s plan to keep Muslims out of the country at the Democratic convention.
There goes Pennsylvania? Trump, at the same rally, said Pennsylvania’s capital “looked like a war zone” from the window of his plane.
Babygate. Again at the same rally:
“Don’t worry about that baby. I love babies. I hear that baby crying I like it! … The mom’s running around, don’t worry about it. It’s young and beautiful and healthy and that’s what we want.”
Moments later …
“Actually I was only kidding get that baby out of here. … I think she really believed me that I love having a baby crying while I’m speaking. That’s okay. People don’t understand, that’s ok …”