The NBA Champion Golden State Warriors may skip the customary White House photo op. Plus other stuff…. (More)

“We have not received an invitation to the White House, but will make those decisions when and if necessary”

Yesterday CNBC analyst Josh Brown reported that the Warriors had “unanimously declined” the usual White House visit, but the Warriors organization denied that last night:

“Today is all about celebrating our championship,” the Warriors said in a statement. “We have not received an invitation to the White House, but will make those decisions when and if necessary.”
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Shortly before the team released the statement, Warriors owner Joe Lacob appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” on Tuesday morning and was asked about the report.

“I can’t believe we’re getting this question already,” Lacob said. “But honestly, that’s something we’ll worry about at the time. That’s a long time from now.”
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Warriors coach Steve Kerr has voiced criticism of President Donald Trump several times this season. In April, Kerr called the President a “blowhard” and said that Trump was “ill-suited” for the presidency when asked about what it takes to be a good coach and leader.

“Has anyone ever thought that Donald Trump was a great leader?” Kerr asked, according to USA Today.

Several Warriors’ players have voiced similar views, and the team may well decide not to visit the White House. It’s hardly as if that’s their only opportunity for a D.C. photo op:

“‘Did not recall’ any meeting during which Trump expressed concern or curiosity about what Russia had been doing during the 2016 election”

In other news, Klanmaster General Jeff Sessions refused to answer any relevant questions in yesterday’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, but he did clear up one point:

Sen. James E. Risch (R-ID) made a comment during the Senate Intelligence Committee’s questioning of Attorney General Jeff Sessions that has an obvious exception.

“I don’t think there’s any American,” Risch said, “who would disagree with the fact that we need to drill down to this” – that is, Russian meddling in the 2016 election – “know what happened, get it out in front of the American people and do what we can to stop it again.”

There is one American, at least, who seems generally uninterested in that need: Sessions’s boss, President Trump.

In his testimony, Sessions told Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) that he “did not recall” any meeting during which Trump expressed concern or curiosity about what Russia had been doing during the 2016 election. Sessions also testified that he himself, as the country’s and Trump’s lead law enforcement official, was never briefed on Russian interference.

That fits with a New York Times report that aides have kept the God-King from firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, for now:

But people close to Mr. Trump say he is so volatile they cannot be sure that he will not change his mind about Mr. Mueller if he finds out anything to lead him to believe the investigation has been compromised. And his ability to endure a free-ranging investigation, directed by Mr. Mueller, that could raise questions about the legitimacy of his Electoral College victory, the topic that most provokes his rage, will be a critical test for a president who has continued on Twitter and elsewhere to flout the advice of his staff, friends and legal team.

Or if Mueller doesn’t bow to kiss his ring, New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait reports:

The president ignored reporters’ questions about Mueller on Tuesday, apparently as part of what he believes is a clever, farsighted strategy. According to someone who spoke to Trump, “The president was pleased by the ambiguity of his position on Mr. Mueller, and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration.” The notion that Mueller, a 72-year-old former FBI director who has spent decades in the highest levels of the U.S. government, needs the special counsel gig badly enough to allow himself to be manipulated by Trump is laughable, but you have to remember that the president probably still believes that people live in genuine horror of him telling them “you’re fired!”

Somehow I don’t think Mueller is even the slightest bit worried about the God-King’s Sword of Delusiacles. Just sayin’.

“We need to be more generous”

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that the God-King is no longer happy with the House Republicans’ Wealthcare Act:

Trump’s comments were described by two GOP congressional sources who received accounts of Tuesday’s White House lunch. They spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal a closed-door conversation.

Their descriptions of Trump’s words differed slightly.

One source said Trump called the House bill “mean, mean, mean” and said, “We need to be more generous, more kind.” The other source said Trump used a vulgarity to describe the House bill and told the senators, “We need to be more generous.”

But Vox’s Sarah Kliff thinks the God-King’s objection has more to do with news reports than policy details:

This quick about-face illustrates the difficulty that Republicans face in passing a health care bill under Trump. The president has not shown much interest in the actual substance of a health care bill; he has repeatedly given interviews saying the AHCA does things it doesn’t. He says deductibles will go down under the bill; the Congressional Budget Office says they’ll go up. Trump claims people with preexisting conditions will be protected under the AHCA. They won’t.

Trump cares less about policy and more about news coverage – how a bill is playing in the media. He liked the AHCA when it was considered a “win” for Republicans, finally moving a key campaign promise through the House. But now that it doesn’t feel like a win – the bill is hugely unpopular, with just 20 percent supporting the effort – Trump has apparently soured on the proposal. It doesn’t matter what is actually in the bill. What matters is what Trump reads about it.

In that case, let me add my voice to the din: it’s an awful bill and voters won’t forget who trashed their health insurance.

“They want the buzz”

And in case anyone doubts the ugly cynicism of network news executives, here’s Page Six’s Carlos Greer on NBC discussions about Megyn Kelly’s scheduled interview with conspiracy-monger Alex Jones:

As families of the Sandy Hook victims continue to pressure NBC to ax Megyn Kelly’s Sunday interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, the network has been holding crisis meetings about how to handle the backlash.

Insiders told us that staff were in panicked meetings all day on Monday. “It’s a shit show. No one wants to withstand a whole week of criticism over this. There are a number of people who want to pull the interview.”

But another source told us NBC needs the controversy to shake up their Sunday night and to bring new viewers. “No one expected sponsors to pull out, but this is why they hired Megyn. They expect to lose and gain viewers and they want the buzz.”

And Kelly’s response is hardly heartening:

“I find Alex Jones’ suggestion that Sandy Hook was ‘a hoax’ as personally revolting as every other rational person does. It left me, and many other Americans, asking the very question that prompted this interview: How does Jones, who traffics in these outrageous conspiracy theories, have the respect of the president of the United States and a growing audience of millions?”

That’s a good question … but it’s not one for which you can find an answer by interviewing Jones.

If that were truly the question she wanted answered, she would interview Jones’ followers and ask them why they believe the bullshit he peddles. She might also interview social scientists who research conspiracy theories and motivated reasoning, and let them explain the mental gymnastics people perform to protect half-baked ideas that feel good to believe.

Such a show could be very insightful. But it wouldn’t have that “buzz” and, for network execs, it’s Ratings Uber Alles.

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Image Credit: Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos

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Good day and good nuts