Today are we still talking about Trump-Russia stuff? Maybe a tiny bit less because of the latest distracting stink bomb strategically lobbed by the White House (see Nos. 1, 2 and 7, below). And the latest astonishing/embarrassing leak (No. 4). But also still, yes, of course, Trump-Russia stuff (No. 3). Always and forever Trump-Russia stuff. Because this is our life now. Anyway, let's get started ...
President Trump on Wednesday threw the weight of the White House behind a bill that would cut legal immigration in half with a merit-based entry system that would reward applicants who have job skills, education and the ability to speak English. ... In the cross hairs was the Statue of Liberty itself, whose symbolism as a beacon of hope came under fierce debate at a nationally televised news conference.
Cue this morning's Daily News front page:
2. Meanwhile, over at White House-favorite Breitbart News: "Seven Facts About Donald Trump's Merit-Based Immigration Reform," by Neil Munro, who writes,
Progressives want to hate the reform. It would end their plan to seize national power via the mass immigration of unskilled, government-dependent migrants. That plan has already won them near-complete power in California and Illinois. But without those future migrants, progressives would be forced to seek the votes from actual blue-collar and white-collar Americans, so shifting the focus of national politics back towards a focus on middle-class Americans, and away from the progressives' media-magnified push for pro-transgender laws, free abortion and weather control.
3. Wait, where were we? Oh, right ... "Russia: Trump shows 'total impotence' in signing 'humiliating' sanctions legislation," per the Chicago Tribune.
David Frum of The Atlantic observes:
And so today, Trump - who always "punches back"- responds to criticism from Russia's Medvedev by hitting back … at Congress.— David Frum (@davidfrum) August 3, 2017
Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low. You can thank Congress, the same people that can't even give us HCare!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 3, 2017
+ Because of course: "Trump Slammed Obama for Taking Vacation, but He Just Booked 17-Day Golf Retreat," per Newsweek, which helpfully resurfaces this 2012 Trump tweet:
"Don't take vacations. What's the point? If you're not enjoying your work, you're in the wrong job." -- Think Like A Billionaire— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2012
4. Oh dear. Per The Washington Post's Greg Miller in a story headlined "Trump urged Mexican president to end his public defiance on border wall, transcript reveals":
President Trump made building a wall along the southern U.S. border and forcing Mexico to pay for it core pledges of his campaign. But in his first White House call with Mexico's president, Trump described his vow to charge Mexico as a growing political problem, pressuring the Mexican leader to stop saying publicly that his government would never pay. "You cannot say that to the press," Trump said repeatedly, according to a transcript of the Jan. 27 call obtained by The Washington Post. Trump made clear that he realized the funding would have to come from other sources but threatened to cut off contact if Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto continued to make defiant statements.
+ See also: "'This deal will make me look terrible': Full transcripts of Trump's calls with Mexico and Australia," the Post's companion piece to the above report.
+ "Trump to Australian prime minister: 'Putin was a pleasant call, this is ridiculous,'" wherein The Hill highlights one of its favorite bits.
5. In other phone-call-related news: Remember reading about that profane conversation that then-White House comms director Anthony Scaramucci had with The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza? (Seems so long ago now, doesn't it?) Well, The New Yorker, God bless it, is not above milking that blockbuster story. On the latest edition of "The New Yorker Radio Hour," you can listen to excerpts of audio of that delightful conversation -- or performance piece or aneurysm or whatever it was.
6. The Wall Street Journal thinks millennials are kind of adorable! The most amusing story on the WSJ front page this morning is titled "Millenial TV Viewers Discover a Miracle Gadget: the Antenna." The web version of the story with the tweaked headline "Millennials Unearth an Amazing Hack to Get Free TV: the Antenna" (subhead: "Cord-cutters accustomed to watching shows online are often shocked that $20 'rabbit ears' pluck signals from the air; is this legal?") has already gone viral, thanks to landing on Reddit's home page.
7. And finally ..."Melania, honey, uh, I got some tough news. Only 50% of your parents can come to Thanksgiving. I say your mom. She's in great physical shape -- really looking good." --Stephen Colbert channeling President Trump on "The Late Show" last night.
Thanks to Brian Braiker, Ann-Christine Diaz, Laurel Wentz, Jessica Wohl and Chen Wu for their roundup suggestions.
Simon Dumenco, aka Media Guy, is an Ad Age editor-at-large. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.