In an interview in front of a predominantly liberal audience Wednesday at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, 84, who has held that office for 25 years and has announced no current plan to retire, said of President Donald Trump: "This man is going to be president most likely for the rest of this term. I just hope he has the ability to learn and to change. And if he does, he can be a good president. That’s my hope."
Though the video of the event contains some audible jeering at the end of that statement, the press coverage of her appearance has been wildly inconsistent and has vastly exaggerated the immediate negative audience reaction.
In the video segment below, the event's moderator, who by her own description has apparently served as a Congressperson or Senator herself, appeared to be reciting a question from an audience member. It concerned when (not if) Republicans "will definitively turn against President Trump." The raising of that topic brought forth significant applause from the audience. Feinstein's answer most certainly did not.
Here's the full relevant segment:
Transcript (bolds are mine throughout this post):
MODERATOR: At what point do you think the Republican leaders will definitively turn against President Trump —
They’re a little late by my watch — criticize him publicly and urge his resignation or impeachment?
DIANNE FEINSTEIN: Well, I’d really rather not comment. However, I think you all know impeachment and the House brings impeachment and then the Senate sits as a court and votes. At the end there’s a trial in front of the Senate. I’ve kind of been there, done that, it’s not —
MODERATOR: Yeah, we’ve both done that.
FEINSTEIN: It’s not the greatest thing in the world, that’s for sure.
Look, this man is going to be president most likely for the rest of this term. I just hope he has the ability to learn and to change. And if he does, he can be a good president. That’s my hope. I have my own personal feelings about it.
Yeah, I understand how you feel. I understand how you feel.
There are definitely several negative reactions which came from the audience near and at the end of Feinstein's statement. But the claim in the transcript of the video I obtained that it was the "crowd booing" is simply not true. If there is subsequent footage showing a genuine level of loud booing, I wasn't able to find it.
Here's a mini-roundup of how different press outlets interpreted or ignored Feinstein's appearance and how they handled or ignored the video sequence seen above.
A search on the Senator's last name indicates that the Associated Press's main national site has no story.
An unbylined story at APNews.com basically lied to its readers about why the crowd "booed," and primarily focused readers' attention on her opinion of Trump's pardon of former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
Sorry, AP, the reaction to Feinstein's statement that she believed Trump will serve out his term was virtual silence. I just watched and listened again. There wasn't any kind of audible sound from the crowd at that point.
Genuinely negative reactions did not become even remotely apparent until she began hoping that Trump has the ability to "learn" and "change," and grew somewhat, but not in any kind of major fashion, when she stated her wish that Trump might become a "good president." The AP chose to not even report any of that, and its claim that the crowd booed when Feinstein raised the likely prospect that Trump would finish his term is utterly false.
At the San Francisco Chronicle, reporter John Wildermuth at least correctly characterized the crowd's reaction. But the rest of his report was clearly designed to tell readers that no genuine liberal or Democrat should have said what Feinstein said, and was accompanied by a deliberately negative photo which has to be seen to be believed:
Feinstein’s kind words about Trump anger Democrats
... The statement, even with the caveats, shocked the Feinstein-friendly crowd at the Commonwealth Club event, which reacted with stunned silence punctuated by quiet exclamations, scattered boos and nervous laughter.
... Feinstein tried to explain her comments Wednesday in a statement meant to remind Democrats that she has had — and likely will continue to have — plenty of complaints about Trump.
... Feinstein’s walk-back was unlikely to do much to slow the hyper-speed spread of her conciliatory words about Trump, which is something Democrats just don’t say.
So John Wildermuth, ace "objective" reporter, has determined that Democrats should never utter conciliatory words about Donald Trump. This would appear to include him among those in the Bay Area who hypocritically brag about how "tolerant" the people in their area are — until they go ballistic over any person or group which happens to disagree with them in any way politically.
At the Hill, reporter Josh Delk's initial story was headlined "Feinstein: Trump 'can be a good president'" Nine hours later, in an update incorporating the Senator's attempted walkback, reporter Julia Manchester's headline was: "Feinstein clarifies: 'I’m under no illusion' Trump will change." This apparently restored order to the universe.
Some readers may recall that in 2009, Rush Limbaugh was bitterly criticized in the establishment press for hoping that recently elected President Barack Obama would fail in his attempt to increase the size, power, and reach of the federal government, or, as he described it, Obama's agenda of "far-left collectivism." In other words, in their view, if Limbaugh had any class at all and was genuinely loyal to his country, he should have been rooting for Obama's success.
Now that the tables are turned and a Republican is President, the very idea that someone on the left hopes that President Trump might become a "good president" is for all practical purposes a treasonous thought. The hypocrisy is so thick and dense that one would need a chainsaw to cut through it.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.