cold shoulder
September 19, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his close personal relationship with President Trump a centerpiece of his just-concluded election campaign, even picturing the two leaders together on campaign billboards. Trump apparently doesn't see it that way.

The election did not go well for Netanyahu. Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he hasn't spoken with the Israeli leader since the vote, adding, "Our relations are with Israel, so we'll see what happens."

In the election, Netanyahu fell far short of his goal of a 61-seat parliamentary majority — with 90 percent of votes tallied, his conservative Likud party has 32 seats, versus 33 for challenger Benny Gantz's centrist Blue and White Party. Some Israeli commentators are writing Netanyahu's political obituary, and even if he is able to cobble together a governing coalition or power-sharing agreement, he's now unlikely to get the immunity from three pending corruption charges he was hoping a majority government would grant him.

For Trump, that all smells like weakness, and he wants little to do with a "loser," Dan Shapiro, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, tells The Washington Post. An Israeli official concurred, telling the Post: "Yes, he is friends with Bibi, but he also likes winners and he does want to move his peace plan forward no matter who the prime minister is." Aaron David Miller, a longtime U.S. adviser on Mideast issues, said Trump doesn't think he needs Netanyahu to please Jewish Republicans and Israel-fixated evangelical Christian voters. "Trump only cares about one election, and it's not Benjamin Netanyahu's," Miller said.

Trump liked that Netanyahu was a political "survivor" and viewed him as a partner in undermining former President Barack Obama's legacy, people who've talked Israeli politics with Trump told the Post. But he differed with Netanyahu about whether any deal with Iran is good — Netanyahu doesn't think so, Trump believes he can make a better deal than Obama. And he might be able to do that better with another Israeli in power. Peter Weber

May 20, 2019

A Fox & Friends segment went completely off the rails on Monday morning as New Yorker after New Yorker showed absolutely no interest in chatting with Steve Doocy.

Doocy tried to conduct a man-on-the-street segment about a report that New York might start fining people who text while walking across the street. It did not go well to say the least, with Doocy's first attempted interview subject reluctantly offering a few words before shooting him down for more of a response and walking away.

From there, Doocy wandered around for more than a minute getting fully ignored by person after person, eventually realizing that trying to do a man-on-the-street segment about 20 minutes before most people have to be at work wasn't the best idea in the world.

“Can you tell that New York City is a very busy place?” he asks. "It is indeed." Watch the brutal segment via Media Matters for America's Bobby Lewis below. Brendan Morrow

February 25, 2019

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) says she won't hold fundraisers that are exclusively for wealthy donors during her 2020 campaign.

The Democratic presidential candidate said Monday she will not host "fancy receptions or big money fundraisers only with people who can write big checks" during her campaign, according to CNN. She also said she won't be placing phone calls to supporters based on how much they've donated.

"When I thank the people giving to my campaign, it will not be based on the size of their donation," Warren said, also promising a campaign built on "equal access."

Warren will be holding fundraising events, but her campaign manager said in an email to staff that they will be "pay-what-you-can," and there won't be any "major donor-only events," according to The Wall Street Journal, which also reports that this announcement is an effort to "boost lackluster online fundraising."

This plan, however, seems to only apply to the Democratic presidential primaries; the Journal reports that in a staff email, Warren's campaign manager specified that they would use "traditional" fundraising methods in the general election and "do what is necessary to stay competitive with Donald Trump." Brendan Morrow

December 29, 2017

President Trump is about to become the first president in more than six decades to skip a visit to California during his first calendar year in office, the Los Angeles Times reports. The president described the Golden State as "out of control" to Fox News earlier this year, and since taking office he has preferred to visit red states east of the Mississippi River.

Even with multiple regions of California being ravaged by wildfires in 2017, Trump has pointedly avoided visiting the state despite stopping through other disaster zones like those in Texas and Puerto Rico. "California Republicans won't even stick up for their own state, and a Republican president offers nothing in response to an enormous natural disaster," the progressive magazine Mother Jones wrote in November. "Why? No reason was given, but Occam's Razor suggests that the best guess is the most obvious one: California is a Democratic state that didn't vote for Donald Trump."

As political communications professor Dan Schnur, a former Republican, confirmed to the Los Angeles Times: "It's hard to imagine an environment less alluring to [Trump] right now than deep-blue California." Read more about the snub — and what might be behind it — here. Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads