Trump Unbound, At Dinner

Donald Trump continues to bestride the world like a colossus. I can’t recall a precedent for the extent to which he monopolizes public attention and discourse. You could prove that with newspaper headlines just about every day, but here is an example of how thorough Trump’s dominance is–a list of the most-read articles on Politico that I captured at a random moment during the day:

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Is it smart for the Left media to make the news all Trump, all the time? It isn’t obvious that this is a good strategy, but they can’t help themselves.

For a completely different view of President Trump, check out this report by Benny Johnson at Independent Journal Review, titled “Inside Trump’s Secret Dinner: A Side of the President You Don’t Ever See.” It is remarkable how different a view you get when the reporter isn’t viciously hostile to Trump.

Saturday night, President Trump dodged the pool reporter, as he has been known to do. Benny Johnson got a tip that he was going to have dinner at the BLT Steakhouse inside Washington’s Trump Hotel. So he reserved a table near where he expected Trump’s party to be and arrived early. His account includes pictures and several videos. He describes the preparations for Trump’s visit by restaurant staff and the Secret Service. Coincidentally, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in the restaurant Saturday night too, enjoying an apparent date night with his wife, as Johnson terms it.

Johnson describes what it is like to be in a public place where the president is soon to arrive:

7:27 PM: Security becomes less discreet. Armed men in black shirts with dogs sweep the Trump table. The highly trained dogs do not bother any of the diners but sniff where pointed, furiously, in and around where Trump is to dine. Another group of Secret Service members arrive. This group is carrying very official-looking luggage, and they inspect the space. The upstairs dining area is now at full capacity. Each table of guests are beginning to take notice that this will not be a standard Saturday night dinner. I leave to use the restroom and find Secret Service sweeping the men’s bathroom on the first floor. I am wanded by polite security as I return upstairs to my table.

Forty-five minutes later, Trump arrives. The Democratic Party press wants us to think that Trump is deeply unpopular–an odd proposition, since he just won the election. But that is not what Trump experiences:

8:17 PM: Without any announcement or indication, President Trump enters the hotel lobby which bears his name, flanked on all sides by the Secret Service. Shock and astonishment fill the guests in the room. The woman next to me screams “Is it him? It’s really him! Oh my God! This is like a dream!” Trump is rushed by fans in the lobby as he makes his way to the steakhouse. Secret Service makes a barrier for him, and the President waves and shakes hands on his way. The young crew are the first in line. Also waiting in line as the President arrives is Nigel Farage.

The entire restaurant is now on its feet, cheering and applauding. Trump makes his way upstairs, waiving and stopping for a few selfies.

Trump walks over to visit with the Tillersons:

8:25 PM: The President gets up and walks across the restaurant to his Secretary of State’s table. The President kisses Tillerson’s wife Renda, and he and Tillerson make small talk. They laugh and speak jovially for a few minutes as dinner guests who had been sitting next to Tillerson look on in stunned amazement. Another woman tells Trump it’s her birthday and gets a selfie. The woman tells me emotionally afterward that she had no idea Trump would be here.

Johnson observes Trump and his party throughout the dinner:

8:45 PM: Trump is served his entree. According to a waiter, who wished to remain anonymous:

The President ordered a well-done steak. An aged New York strip. He ate it with catsup as he always does. The sides and appetizers on the table were shared. Three jumbo shrimp cocktails were delivered before the meal. At one point, the President looked at his watch and remarked “They are filming ‘Saturday Night Live’ right now. Can’t wait to see what they are gonna do to me this week.” It was hard to serve him because he is so funny and relaxed, it makes you laugh.

Trump talks jovially with his guests for the next two hours. His iconic hand motions fill the space as dinner is served.


On his way out, Trump slips the bus boy a $100 tip:


He is again besieged by admirers:

Benny Johnson’s report is a nice counterpoint to the anti-Trump propaganda with which we are bombarded 24/7. It is easy to understand why Trump doesn’t believe the media’s constant negativity reflects the views of most Americans.

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