As the frontman of KISS, Gene Simmons occupies rarefied air — a rock star who entertains arenas filled with adoring fans. On Thursday, Simmons joined another exclusive club, conducting only the second on-camera press briefing at the Department of Defense in the last year.
The only other person to stand at the Pentagon Briefing Room podium over the past year? The movie star Gerard Butler, who was there last October to promote a new movie.
It’s just the latest sign of the Trump administration’s ongoing marginalization of the press briefing, long a conduit through which the president and the cabinet have communicated policies and priorities to the news media and the public.
Simmons was on hand Thursday to address Department of Defense personnel and meet with outreach officials as part of a Pentagon initiative to engage the broader public with regards to military activities. He also paid a visit to the White House later in the day.
The last time a press secretary briefed reporters on camera at the Pentagon was May 31, 2018. The White House press briefing, meanwhile, is in the midst of an unprecedented drought. Come Friday, it will have been 67 days since White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has held a press briefing.
“The White House hasn’t held press briefing in so long that the lectern in the briefing room is quite literally gathering dust,” CNN White House reporter Maegan Vazquez tweeted Wednesday, posting a photo of the particles that had collected on the lectern.
Ever since Trump was elected, aides made it clear that changes were coming to the daily press briefing, initially experimenting with a ban on cameras.
Regardless of what one thinks of the press- like them or not -this is a reflection of the state of political discourse in the US.
This is not about what others think of America. This is what we think of ourselves.
Is this what the US in 2019 has become?
Is the a nation that you want to leave to future generations?
Is this what, to use the famous phrase that all politicians employ, “What America stands for?”
Indeed, it would seem that the US would rather take an interest into verbally eviscerating people of modest and lower income, or just abject poverty, if they have some semblance left of moral decency.
Say what one wants to about Chechens, Guatemalans, Iranians, Iraqis, Syrians, Venezuelans. and many other people in nations such as Poland, Russia, or even the Western world who find themselves outnumbered and surrounded either by enemies from without or enemies from within who seek to undermine and destroy the moral values they profess or try to hold by.
Even for men who are far from perfect and have erroneous ideas, such as the Muslims, it must be said that many attempt to lead moral lives, and are willing to die for Islam, even if it is based on a false premise. That does not justify moral evils, but is a testament to a constancy of belief, something that the West could take a lesson from, for if she did then she would not find herself in the wretched state of moral chaos, disorder, and self-destructive behavior that she is in today.
The reason Trump allowed this is because, as he has evidenced by his actions in spite of his words, is that he does not care about the US, her people, or “Making America Great Again”. He cares about himself and his own power, and his actions witness to the contempt he holds against those who he is charged with representing.