I found a missing Russian in Washington D.C. yesterday.
He’s a funny guy and an easy guy to get along with overall. Boris Epshteyn, an assistant to the president, a friend of President Trump’s son and a well-known surrogate on the television circuit for this administration has gone walk about.
Last week the administration quietly acknowledged Boris has left to “pursue other interests in the administration,” according to Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“Paulie, you won’t see him around no more,” Clemenza warned us as he made spaghetti sauce and the Corleones went to the mattresses. Sorry. Strong sense of déjà vu.
Congress and the press were searching for a Russian link to the Trump administration when a Russian born guy named Boris - from Moscow - worked for Trump all along.
Boris is a friendly guy. I like him. He returned my call Wednesday and we spoke briefly. He is apparently still looking to help out the president. He has no office and has nearly dropped off the face of the earth after being as ubiquitous as Kellyanne Conway on the talk show circuit.
Meanwhile the Trump White House barrels forward upset and angry with reporters, Syria, former President Obama and Congress – though not necessarily in that order.
Monday Sean Spicer appeared slightly less energetic than a man in a coma conducting a press briefing one reporter said reminded him of losing his virginity, “Too short and I didn’t enjoy it at all.”
Okay. I said that.
But Spicer’s press briefing was noticeably lacking in substance.
He started out with a nice publicity stunt – donating the president’s first quarter paycheck to the National Park Service.
President Trump originally said he wouldn’t accept his pay, and then told members of the media we could decide where to donate it. Monday he changed his mind and said he’d give it to the National Parks to help take care of some infrastructure maintenance. No doubt since his administration plans on cutting about $12 billion to that department according to several sources, the $78,000 the president donated will make a huge dent.
The rest of the day Spicer hammered the media about continued reporting on the growing Russia scandal and a few other things as he maintained reporters have an agenda and won’t cut him any husk.
This segued into an even shorter press gaggle on Tuesday – a briefing without cameras.
It was the Thomas Hobbes version of communication – “Nasty, brutish and short.”
Spicer began by telling us how upset the administration was with Syria – since the leader of that country apparently used chemical weapons on his own citizens.
Spicer appeared even more upset with former President Obama’s international policies as he heaped almost as much derision on Obama as on Bashar al-Assad – and Assad killed his own people.
But it was Obama’s doomed policies that caused it - or something like that.
Spicer then continued his narrative of how life is so much better for us all since Trump rode into town, whether it’s in international relations or the stock market and business. Still, he seemed as lethargic and downbeat on Tuesday as he did on Monday.
Perhaps he is tiring from trying to sell this administration’s only clear message – everything bad on the planet is due to the former president and everything good is because of President Trump.
This narrative extends to the Democrats - who according to the administration are filled with anarchists and obstructionists since they seem intent on opposing Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
Spicer uses the word “unprecedented” whenever he talks about the Democratic obstruction - while conveniently not mentioning how the GOP blocked Obama.
This narrative is repeated by anyone who speaks for Trump.
Monday Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke smiled as he accepted the president’s check and noted what a big fan of Teddy Roosevelt he was even as he talked about opening up the national parks to be mined for coal.
As he is a good Boy Scout Zinke claimed he’d return the land back to its pristine condition once it’s been stripped of every vital mineral – because jobs come first and gosh our president is so smart.
I don’t know what particular page in the Teddy Roosevelt manual Zinke was quoting, but I think he missed the general idea of what “conservation” is all about.
He is no different from OMB director Mick Mulvaney who told us starving the poor was compassionate, A.G. Jeff Sessions who told us persecuting poor immigrants was justice and the President who claims he is a fan of the press while saying we’re the enemy of the people. Where is Boris?