• Politics

How Donald Trump Creates News From Thin Air

4 minute read

If you only read one thing: Want to see how President-elect Donald Trump can create a news cycle from nothing? Look no further than his Tuesday morning tweet objecting to the price tag for the new Air Force One planes set to be delivered in the mid 2020s. “Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!” First off, his team couldn’t provide back-up for the $4 billion price tag for the planes, which will replace the aging VC-25s which have carried presidents for two-and-a-half decades. Also, no one was talking about this issue yesterday or last week or last month. Trump wasn’t responding to a news story, he was creating one—or rather thousands. Within minutes the Air Force One replacement program was the subject of dozens of stories, with more following by the second. Third, this is a time-honored ploy to demonstrate a desire to cut costs in the bloated Defense Department—and coming on the heels of a report showing more than 12-figures of bureaucratic waste. President Obama canceled the President Helicopter Replacement program shortly after taking office in 2009 after it ballooned to a $13 billion effort. Trump aides declined to say whether he would be content to fly the old planes, which the Air Force says are growing ever more costly to maintain and repair—and which could benefit from more modern communications technologies to enable the president and staff to carry out their duties while airborne. The aides acknowledged it was a symbolic announcement by Trump designed to show the American people his seriousness about cutting waste. It’s an example of how Trump intends to wield the bully pulpit in ever more novel ways as he prepares to take office.

Why the North Carolina governor’s election is such a big deal for LGBT people. Trump’s national security advisor under fire for fake news posts. And Republicans aren’t on board with Trump’s protectionist plans.

Here are your must reads:

Must Reads

Donald Trump’s Tariffs Proposal Faces Pushback From Republicans
GOP lawmakers aren’t happy with his plan [TIME]

Why the North Carolina Governor’s Election Is Such a Big Deal for LGBT People
The treatment of transgender people was central to the race, TIME’s Katy Steinmetz writes

Flynn Under Fire for Fake News
A shooting at a D.C. pizza restaurant is stoking criticism of the conspiracy theories being spread by Donald Trump’s pick for national security adviser [Politico]

New Pro-Trump Group Takes Form, With Kellyanne Conway Possibly at the Helm
Outside group to model Obama’s Organizing for Action [Washington Post]

Donald Trump’s Message Sparks Anger in China
President-elect’s Taiwan call, tweets signal his approach will be more adversarial [Wall Street Journal]

Pentagon Buries Evidence of $125 Billion in Bureaucratic Waste
Government tried to cover it up [Washington Post]

Sound Off

“I’m not committing not to run. I’m not committed to anything. I learned a long time ago, fate has a strange way of intervening.” — Vice President Joe Biden to reporters on Capitol Hill after saying he would run for president in 2020

“I’m not gonna get into the tweets. You think I’m gonna sit here and comment on the daily tweets?” —Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on President-elect Trump’s tweets

Bits and Bites

Oprah Will Conduct Michelle Obama’s Final White House Interview [TIME]

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory Concedes Governor’s Race to Roy Cooper [Associated Press]

After Senate tribute, Vice President Biden jokes about 2020 run. Or maybe he was serious? [Washington Post]

Trump heads back out on road for ‘thank you’ tour [Associated Press]

Trump kids’ diplomatic forays rattle State Dept. [Politico]

More Must-Reads from TIME

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