This has been one of the strangest ten days in the history of the American Presidency. One of the odder events happened when in the White House cabinet room Donald Trump walked but, but did not walk back some of his statements made during the Putin press conference on Monday.
As Trump started to read his statement walking back his comments on Tuesday (in a manner to show that he didn’t really mean it) the lights went out in the room.
Watch Trump’s reaction.
Of course this brought immediate talk in internet world that a secret message was being sent to Trump – which means to his followers that he is struggling against deep state forces on their behalf.
A reporter in the room on twitter said that a White House staffer turned off the lights.
I wonder if that person is Julia Hahn.
She came in as the assistant to Steve Bannon and when he left moved into the communications department in close alliance with Stephen Miller in early June – right before the immigration crisis broke – which Trump created.
Julia Hahn’s job in the communications department is to act as a liason to friendly Trump media outlets.
Hahn is an interesting person to be in this position.
She is a young girl who wrote a major’s thesis in postmodern intellectual theory – a pithole of thinking that often asserts that there is no “truth” and the only thing that matters is power and using language in pure propaganda to achieve it.
So perhaps that Trumpian moment when the lights went out was Hahn’s moment of a lifetime.
As for Hahn a Washington Post profile from a year ago ended with this:
She’s super smart,” said her former college classmate Fry. “She knows nitpicking and building up straw men just to knock them down are not strong argument forms,” he said. “Maybe she actually believes the cause is so important it’s worth [it].”
What is the cause? Her mentor, Bannon, has for years spoken darkly of the clashes of civilizations he sees overtaking the world — between Christians and Muslims, between native-born Americans and immigrants, between the elites and the working man. Or as Foucault might have put it — and as Hahn quoted in her videotaped presentation — “my point is not that everything is bad, but that everything is dangerous. . . . If everything is dangerous, then we always have something to do.”
But does Hahn believe that? Even her grandmother can’t be sure.
“What she feels in this particular moment,” Honickman said, “could be different three days from now.”
In time we’ll find out who turned the lights on and off and many other details of what has gone on this past week.
As for Trump’s behavior this week. Many people see it as erratic. I have seen comments in the media that he must have a mental defect. Maybe he gets tired at times or has mini strokes. Or worse some say he is a traitor or under Putin’s control. I don’t believe those things, but I don’t blame people for speculating as the performance Monday was so odd and Trump looked so weak next to Putin (after spending a week attacking other leaders around the world) that it leads people to make conclusions to explain it.
I think the simplest explanation is that much of this is all an act for his followers.
And so in the aftermath of Monday with walk backs and non-walks back and twitter messaging Trump tries to hint to his followers that he is a victim of a deep state attack.
And yesterday his top intelligence chief said that he didn’t even know what was said between Trump and Putin at the summit.
And watch this video and this man’s body language and demeanor in reaction to this week events (imagine the pressure he is under) and contrast it with Trump.
In reality much of this Trump stuff is an act similar to the one Joseph McCarthy did in the 1950’s and this appears to be heading towards a Judge Walsh moment.
I’d also note that Putin is not helping Trump at all.
The Trump administration has released no details of any agreements that Trump and Putin have made.
At a press briefing yesterday the US Central Command head (who overseas US forces in Syria) said he received no information about what Trump and Putin agreed to in Syria.
Probably there were no concrete agreements, which is fine.
But Putin coming out yesterday saying deals were made in this moment undermines Trump, because they create a need among the rest of the government to know what they were.
Oh – and I almost forgot. Yesterday Trump slammed the Federal Reserve for raising rates and got a rebuke from a former Federal Reserve governor as no President has ever done that publicly before.
This all has the look of a growing instability for messaging to followers ahead of a train wreck.
Why did Trump go to Russia in the first place?