How Trump killed the gaffe

What The Beltway is Talking About:

Iran, both Obama’s denial that the $400 million cash given to the country the day after four hostages were returned was ransom, and Trump saying he didn’t actually see the (nonexistent) footage of Iran receiving the cash.

What America is Talking About:

The Olympic Opening Ceremony tonight.

How Trump Killed the Gaffe:

Trump has had one of the worst weeks of his campaign. His injuries are largely self-inflicted, and many of them, in the larger scope of the campaign, minor. Like his “you can get the baby out of here” line in Virginia, and his claim at a Maine rally to have seen a video of Iran receiving cash that didn’t actually exist.

In any other year or for any other candidate, these moments may well have been described as “gaffes.” But not in 2016.

Defined as “a mistake made in a social situation,” and in political journalism as something a politician says that’s true but they weren’t supposed to say (coined famously in 1984 by New Republic’s Michael Kinsley), “gaffe” has fallen out of favor since 2012. According to an analysis of articles about U.S. politics in the New York Times from May 1 to August 1 of election years, its usage has dropped.

Independent Journal Review: Maggie Chambers

Part of the drop in usage could be the problem with determining if Trump’s statements are in fact gaffes. For a candidate who built a campaign — and won a primary — based on being “politically incorrect,” is there even such a thing as a gaffe?

Unlike the highly scripted Romney, who four years ago was walking back his “gaffe” about London’s preparations for hosting the Olympics, Trump rarely admits to misspeaking. He’s also often appeared impervious to blowback from the controversial things he’s said.

So our use of the term “gaffe,” it seems, implies fallout.

Speaking of Trump Never Walking Statements Back…:

There are always exceptions to the rule. This tweet is remarkable:

Twitter: @realDonaldTrump

More Details on Clinton’s Campaign for Republicans:

The campaign is being tight lipped about their strategy, but unnamed sources told the Washington Post senior Democrats are making “personal appeals to target luminaries” and have been “tracking Republicans who have spoken out against Trump in public even if they have stopped short of endorsing Clinton.”

Sources said more announcements from Republicans “are in the works, including Republicans who have held senior foreign policy roles in the executive branch and Congress,” but that this isn’t central to her strategy.

Send Me Your Brazilian Pop Stars:

I’m most excited about Olympics when they’re hosted by a country whose pop stars I’m familiar with. So if you know any good Brazilian ones, send your suggestions to or @hunterschwarz on Twitter so I can learn and prepare myself for the Closing Ceremony.

Hi, I’m Maegan Vazquez, political reporter for IJR. I’m filling in for Kate Bennett while she embarks on a much-needed vacation. While I’m here, there will be less fashion, but more bad jokes. I promise!

What The White House is Talking About:

The jobs report out today. Employers added 255k — well above expectations. Unemployment remains steady at 4.9%.

What the White House Press Corps is Talking About:

Donald Trump’s new economic advisory council, which is made up of 13 men and 0 women.


Vice President Biden tweeted out this image yesterday. I especially enjoyed the pizza slice charm:

Twitter: @VP

It’s received more than 240,000 retweets so far.

Gone Fishing:

President Obama and the fam depart the White House Saturday for their annual two-week vaca on Martha’s Vineyard. But first, he’s reportedly celebrating his 55th birthday tonight with a celebrity-packed party at the White House.

Nothing to Lose:

Today, Vice President Biden will also be heading to an event for Debbie Wasserman-Schultz in Florida, despite the fact that she recently resigned from the Democratic National Committee over their huge email leak. I guess Biden really is a ride or die homie.

Clinton Meets the Press:

Today I’m at the National Association of Black and Latino Journalists conference, where Hillary Clinton is expected to speak. It’s a big step for someone recorder-shy, and if she fields questions from the audience full of press, her campaign could peg this as her first press conference-like event in nearly a year.

The Revival of the Cargo Short:

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal published a story on the decline of cargo shorts in the closets of American men. Once a staple of the typical bro, the humble, utilitarian cargo short has been replaced with constricting shorts with slimmer fits, and even worse, bright pink salmon shorts.

Since the story, the writer of the piece has gotten some backlash, including this hilarious moment of solidarity from his coworkers:

“On Friday, several Journal reporters and editors will be wearing cargo shorts to the office in a show of solidarity. Erik Holm, an assistant news editor who is organizing the effort, said he has tried to enlist at least 53 male colleagues to join his cargo shorts army.”

That’s dedication.

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