With the president’s domestic agenda derailed by Russian intrigues, family scandals, and legislative gridlock, the Trump administration has rolled out a series of so-called “theme weeks” to highlight purported achievements—or attempted achievements, anyway—in order to shift the national spotlight. The effort has, for the most part, been a failure: “Infrastructure Week” was overshadowed by the Senate testimony of James Comey; “Workforce Development Week,” which was touted by Ivanka Trump, was undercut by her father’s budget; and “Technology Week,” a Jared Kushner pet project, did little to distract from reports that the president had just come under investigation for obstruction of justice.
While Trump himself has demonstrated only anemic commitment to this campaign, the public relations effort continues this week with “Made in America” week, perhaps the most ill-advised and poorly timed of any of the White House’s branded weeks thus far. Companies from all 50 states have been invited to the White House to show off their American-made products and Trump is expected to encourage more companies to manufacture their products state-side, Bloomberg reports. Trump also has plans to head to Virginia for the commissioning of the U.S.S. Gerald Ford Aircraft carrier. “For too long our government has forgotten the American worker,” White House spokeswoman Helen Aguirre Ferré told reporters in a call on Sunday. Those workers, she said, will now be “championed” by Trump.
It’s all a bit jarring, given that both the Trump Organization and Ivanka’s fashion brand have a pretty poor track record of making their products in America:
When asked if the president and his daughter would use this week as an opportunity to announce that they’re committed to producing more of their wares in the U.S., Ferré told a reporter Sunday, “We’ll get back to you on that.”
The rah-rah nationalist focus is also somewhat at odds with the latest Trumpworld defense of Donald Trump Jr.’s now-infamous Russian rendezvous during the 2016 campaign, in which he sought to get dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of an explicit Russian government plot to help his father win election. This, the president’s surrogates have assured us, was not illegal. Further, they have said, anyone would have taken such a meeting. What could be more American than huddling with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer and an alleged ex-Russian military intelligence to receive damaging information about a political opponent, after being informed of a clandestine campaign by a foreign adversary to influence the presidential race?
Nevertheless, the Trump administration is soldiering on, putting on a good face for the cameras even as its own aides and staffers concede that “Made in America Week” is mostly a joke. “Senior White House officials privately ridicule these branded weeks, which have been consistently swamped by the health-care debate and rolling crises,” writes Axios’s Jonathan Swan. This week’s theme might be the most laughable yet.
Source: Vanity Fair
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