For his next trick, magician Donald Trump will distract us all


“Here, catch this and pay no attention to anything bad they say about me.”
Image: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Whether it’s all part of an elaborate scheme or he just kind of stumbled into it, Donald Trump has proven to be a sleight-of-hand master who knows how to throw out something shiny while more nefarious stories are at play.

On Tuesday, as he confirmed his most important cabinet pick (ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State) and postponed his first press conference since being elected, Trump met with Kanye West and posed with the rapper in the Trump Tower lobby. The canceled press conference was supposed to focus on how Trump would handle business conflicts of interest.

Like with the Kanye visit, Trump has managed to over-shadow highly negative stories about him again and again. While he’s not totally successful as the controversies don’t fully fade from view, he has managed to get many to look the other way for a bit.

Whether or not he’s doing so intentionally is a matter of debate. But Trump is a showman best known for real estate and reality television if there’s one thing he knows how to do, it’s getting people’s attention away from where he doesn’t want them to look.

Here are four prominent examples of Trump basically shouting “Look over here … LOOK!” since the election.

Meet and greet with Kanye West

What happened: Kanye West showed up unexpectedly at Trump Tower in New York City on Tuesday morning to, according to Kanye, talk about multicultural issues. After the meeting, Trump posed for photos with West and called the two “good friends” and said they talked about the very broad topic of “life.”

They then did that awkward high-five-into-a-hug thing that men do.

The sleight of hand: Based on the video above, it doesn’t sound like any reporters asked Trump about allegations that Russian hackers tried to interfere in the election. On Monday, Trump tweeted about the accusations and revealed he doesn’t know how hacking really works.

And while Trump had time to meet with West and make the brief appearance before reporters, his team claims he’s so busy that he had to cancel a press conference scheduled for Thursday in which he was finally (allegedly) going to address what he’d do with business matters that are creating conflicts of interests for him as he readies himself for the White House.

Instead, Trump tweeted about the issue Monday night, once again keeping complete control over the topic and not subjecting himself to accountability from reporters. It’s been over a month since the election and Trump still hasn’t held a press conference, a major departure from recent presidents. The closest thing he’s had to one is that surreal sit-down with the New York Times.

Strangely enough, the Kanye meeting also over-shadowed Trump’s announcement of Tillerson as his Secretary of State pick. Tillerson has been criticized for, among other things, his business ties to Russia. Trump himself seemed rather flippant about any of Tillerson’s questionable ties.

Dueling with Hamilton

What happened: On Nov. 19, Trump decided to pick one of his infamous Twitter fights with the entire cast of the famed Broadway musical, Hamilton. No big deal, right? Except it was. It was a huge deal.

The comments came after theater boos and cast comments were directed at VP-elect Mike Pence when he attended the show the night before. Trump hopped online Saturday morning to release a tirade of tweets against the production, claiming the cast “harassed” Pence.

The message Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr, read aloud to Pence after the show simply relayed the casts concern with the new administration and their desire for the VP-elect to uphold his American values as he enters the White House.

Though Pence said the comments did not offend him, Trump refused to drop the subject and later demanded that the “highly overrated” musical apologize to his running mate.

The sleight of hand: Nov. 19 also happened to be the day Trump announced he had settled his Trump University lawsuit. Hmmmm how about that? Trump woke up that morning and tweeted the outcome of his universitys fraud lawsuit just 14 minutes before he launched into his Hamilton blasts. Astounding.

Trump said he had settled “for a small fraction” of the potential award and was now committed to focusing on America. He sent another follow-up tweet saying, the “ONLY bad thing” about winning the election is that he wouldnt be able to devote more time to winning his trial. Those comments came after he asked to delay the trial until after the inauguration and vowed to not settle the case out of principle.

The class-action lawsuits were expected to be the discussion of the day, but Trump swiftly moved past it by redirecting attention to his newfound and passionate hatred for Hamilton.

Lying about illegal votes

What happened: On the Sunday afternoon after Thanksgiving, as many were traveling back home after a long (too long?) weekend with family, Trump dropped this nugget of unsubstantiated, incendiary rhetoric that spawned outrage on an otherwise quiet holiday weekend.

Trump’s tweet was apparently based on a report by infamous fake news website Info Wars, which based the story on a tweet by a random person on Twitter. There’s still no evidence backing this outlandish claim.

The sleight of hand: There were two main stories that Trump was able to deflect. The first was Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s ill-fated recount initiative (that had its own weird twist).

While Stein’s attempt was always warily viewed, especially as she repeatedly hiked the amount she was seeking, it was given a boost by the ongoing popular vote tally that continued to increase in favor of Hillary Clinton (and has increased even more since the below tweet).

But Trump’s tweet also distracted from a far more serious and far-reaching issue: his ongoing conflicts of interests. While these concerns had been present throughout the campaign, especially after he was elected, the conversation was heightened when, in mid-November, daughter Ivanka Trump sat in on a meeting Trump had with the Japanese prime minister, spurring an outcry from critics. Trump has said his children will helm his businesses while he’s in the White House, and it came to light that Ivanka was working on a business deal in Japan when she attended that meeting.

Those concerns only grew louder when Ivanka joined a phone call with Argentina’s president.

Even more noteworthy is that Trump’s illegal voter tweet appeared after the New York Times publishedan in-depth look at his global business ties. Trump continues to dodge conflict-of-interest accusations, only offering vague tweets in his defense and little in the way of transparency and concrete information.

Pulling the wool over the eyes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Gore

What happened: Donald Trump, a well-known denier of climate change, instilled a small sense of hope in environmentally conscious Americans and the scientists around the world when he met with prominent environmentalists Leonardo DiCaprio and former Vice President Al Gore to chat about the issues.

Following the interaction, Gore explained to the press that his meeting with Trump was both “a sincere search for common ground,” and “extremely productive.”

The sleight of hand: Meanwhile, Trump was busy stocking his cabinet with anti-climate change picks.

He appointed Myron Ebell, a scholar who believes the Obama administration’s climate regulations are illegal, to head his transition team. And he declared Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt, who is currently suing the EPA to stop landmark climate regulations, will head the agency.

And on Tuesday, as Trump continues to pull the wool over DiCaprio, Gore and America’s eyes, he announced ExxonMobil’s CEO Rex Tillerson will be his choice for secretary of state. Though Tillerson does not personally deny climate change, his company has a rocky history in this regard (to say the least) and has fought against mainstream scientific findings on global warming.

While Trump met with DiCaprio and Gore to please the people, it doesnt change the fact that his transition and future White House team consists of climate change deniers.

BONUS: Did Trump orchestrate the ‘Hamilton’ debacle to distract us or is life just a distraction?

Read more:


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here