Friday, November 10, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He left China without taking questions from the press while there, because China told him not to.

Trump left China today for Vietnam, capping three days in which he did not take questions from the media, either American or foreign. This was, the White House confirmed, because China insisted that he not do so. 

The demand is routine; complying with it is not. American presidents have generally refused to go along with plans that involve shunning the press. China heavily censors the news media (and media in general) and American presidents' typical insistence on speaking to reporters has been a way of exerting pressure on the Chinese government. 

Trump's acceptance of China's media blackout allowed him to escape questions about new developments in the Mueller and congressional investigations, the child sex scandal engulfing Senate candidate Roy Moore, and reports that his former national security advisor Michael Flynn may have been involved, while in office, in a plot to kidnap a Turkish citizen living in the United States on behalf of the Turkish government for a $15 million ransom.

Why does this matter?