Quick Takes: Thin-Skinned Trump Kids

* Apparently the Trump kids don’t like being asked tough questions. First it was Ivanka:

Donald Trump’s famously composed eldest daughter, Ivanka, accused a Cosmopolitan reporter of going “negative” and trying to “editorialize” by asking for specifics on her father’s newly announced maternity leave policy before abruptly ending a Wednesday phone interview.

Then it was Trump Jr’s turn:

An aide abruptly shut down a local TV reporter’s Thursday interview with Donald Trump Jr. when the real estate scion was asked about a six-foot-tall portrait of his father reportedly bought with money from the family’s charitable foundation.

* After Trump Jr. made a joke about gas chambers, this one wins tweet-of-the-day.

* Nicholas Kristoff decided that it was time to discuss “when a crackpot runs for president.”

I’m wary of grand conclusions about false equivalence from 30,000 feet. But at the grass roots of a campaign, I think we can do better at signaling that one side is a clown.

There are crackpots who believe that the earth is flat, and they don’t deserve to be quoted without explaining that this is an, er, outlying view, and the same goes for a crackpot who has argued that climate change is a Chinese-made hoax, who has called for barring Muslims and who has said that he will build a border wall and that Mexico will pay for it.

We owe it to our readers to signal when we’re writing about a crackpot. Even if he’s a presidential candidate. No, especially when he’s a presidential candidate.

* Looks like somebody else is best buds with Vladimir Putin.

The Drudge Report, the website owned and operated by conservative gossipmonger Matt Drudge, has linked to RT.com — the website for the news service owned by the Russian government — at least 67 times in 2016. According to an analysis by Media Matters for America, The Drudge Report also repeatedly linked to stories from other Russian-owned news sites, Sputnik News (22 times), and TASS (twice)…

Writing in the Columbia Journalism Review, reporter and former Moscow-based correspondent Julia Ioffe described RT as “the Kremlin’s propaganda outlet” that has at times sought to “stick it to the U.S. from behind the façade of legitimate news gathering.”

* Donald Trump released a “fact sheet” about his economic plan. Kevin Drum has the goods. On the idea that it would create 25 million jobs over 10 years:

Trump has clearly internalized the lesson of PT Barnum: if you’re going to lie, you might as well lie big. So why not say his tax plan will create 25 million jobs? Hell, why not a hundred million? Today’s announcement is a shiny new tax plan that’s apparently scaled back from his old tax plan, but the Tax Policy Center figures that even Trump’s old plan would likely create no jobs at all because its huge deficits would outweigh the impact of its tax cuts. Even the conservative Tax Foundation, after waving some dynamic scoring pixie dust around, could only bring itself to suggest it might create 5 million jobs. (All of these numbers are over ten years.) Since the new plan is smaller, its impact would be smaller too.

* Finally, another day…another national monument. This part of President Obama’s legacy is starting to look huge.

Today, President Obama is designating the first marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean, protecting fragile deep-sea ecosystems off the coast of New England as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument.

The new national monument – which encompasses pristine underwater mountains and canyons – will provide critical protections for important ecological resources and marine species, including deep-sea coral and endangered whales and sea turtles…

Just last month, President Obama expanded the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii by 442,781 square miles, creating the world’s largest marine reserve. Today’s designation will protect 4,913 square miles of marine ecosystems with unique geological features that have been the subject of scientific exploration and discovery since the 1970s. To date, President Obama has protected more land and water than any other U.S. president in history.

Did someone mention sea turtles? Love them!

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.