The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from Creators.


In the early evening of January 2, the president of the United States tweeted this boast:

“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

I’m going to try hard to ignore that missing hyphen and not think about the commas looking for a home. There’s so much else to worry about here.

I am not one to argue gender superiority, ever. However, it’s hard to imagine any female leader engaging in this “mine is bigger” idiocy. As a rule, we do not, for example, think any good comes from saying, “You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.”

Let us find hope in this where we can. As New York Times senior staff editor Russell Goldman helpfully explained, there is no such thing as a presidential “nuclear button.” That button doesn’t exist anywhere except in Donald Trump’s head, which, of course, is the worst place it could be.

Stop, wicked mind. Stop.

“This may be the most irresponsible tweet in history,” Colin Friedersdorf wrote for The Atlantic — not the least bit hyperbolically, which is where we are now.

Friedersdorf continued by quoting Julian Sanchez of the far-from-liberal Cato Institute, who “articulated the best-case scenario: ‘The good news is, other countries won’t take talk like this too seriously because they understand Trump is a small man who blusters to make himself feel potent. That’s also the bad news; there’s nowhere left to go rhetorically when we need to signal … we’re serious.’ Most likely, that’s the fallout.”

Friedersdorf argues that all world leaders should be banned from using Twitter, in part because it is designed to stoke “needless conflict” by fellow humans who publish “ill-considered” words.

Fortunately, we have a new movie, The Post, to remind us of the redemptive power of journalists, whom Trump likes to call “the enemy of the American people.” As a journalism professor, I’ve been meaning to thank him for that. Nothing inspires this next generation of truth seekers like a president who thinks that what he’s doing to this country is a whole lot of none of their business.

“The Post” is the story of two brave newspapers, really, but focuses on one of them: The Washington Post. In 1971, after President Richard Nixon’s administration persuaded a court to temporarily bar The New York Times from continuing to publish the Pentagon Papers, The Washington Post stepped up.

At the heart of this story is the late Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, played in the film by Meryl Streep. I have yet to see it because movies are released later in Cleveland than on the East Coast, even though we share the same time zone. I add that as a helpful tip for those of you in New York and Washington who, in the course of phone conversations with us, ask, “What time is it where you are?” So annoying.

In preparation for the movie, I’m rereading Graham’s 1997 memoir, Personal History. Hours after Trump’s tweet, I came across a favorite passage. Graham addressed the “chauvinist tradition” of 1960s Washington and noted the one exception: Adlai Stevenson.

“While you both love women,” he said, “Adlai also likes them, and women know the difference.”

Again, I would never claim gender superiority, and heaven forbid I push a Button.

But yes. Yes, we do.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism. She is the author of two books, including “…and His Lovely Wife,” which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. To find out more about Connie Schultz ( and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at



Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Sen. Ted Cruz

A group of lawyers has submitted a 15-page ethics complaint to the State Bar of Texas demanding an investigation of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) for his “leading role” in the far-reaching Republican effort to keep former President Trump in power despite his reelection loss.

The complaint — filed by the 65 Project, an organization of lawyers seeking to hold attorneys accountable for lending a hand in pro-Trump efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 elections — called for an examination of Cruz’s conduct in the weeks before Election Day in 2020 and on January 6, 2021, the day of the Capitol insurrection.

Keep reading... Show less

The House Select Committee, a bipartisan congressional panel looking into the Capitol insurrection, sent a letter on Thursday requesting an interview with a House Republican, Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), who it said led a tour through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021 — the day before a pro-Trump mob stormed the halls of Congress.

In the letter to Loudermilk, the select committee’s chairman and vice-chairwoman, Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Liz Cheney (R-WY), said the panel had seen evidence that “directly contradicts” the claim made by Republicans on the Committee on House Administration — “of which you’re a member” — that they had reviewed security footage of the days before the Capitol attack and concluded that “[t]here were no tours, no large groups, [and] no one with MAGA hats on.”

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}