‘Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins’ Film Review: Vital, Hilarious Texas Pundit Remembered in Vivacious Documentary

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Columnist, humorist and author Molly Ivins died in 2007, but the new documentary “Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins” reminds us that her particular brand of perspicacity is as vital and as necessary now as it was when she covered the 1968 Democratic Convention or watched George W. Bush rocket from the Texas governor’s mansion to the White House.

Her trenchant observations about corrupt, lazy or flat-out stupid politicians was must reading then, and timeless in our current era. When one of the film’s many interview clips has her noting that the political spectrum in this country doesn’t run left to right, but rather top to bottom, it’s as relevant as anything in tomorrow’s newspaper.

Newspapers, incidentally, play a significant role in Ivins’ life story, as it’s told by director Janice Engel, making her theatrical feature debut. We follow the writer from gawky adolescent (she was six feet tall at the age of 12) in Houston and her collegiate travels to France before a whirlwind career. At the Minneapolis Tribune, her imposing stature allowed her to be the paper’s first female crime-beat reporter, and her coverage of police brutality made the local cops name their mascot, a pig, after her.

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From there she was off to the Texas Observer, a rare liberal publication in the Lone Star State in the 1970s, and then The New York Times, which hired her for her singularly florid prose and then constantly tamped it down to fit Old Grey Lady style.

Her career really took off when she was given complete editorial freedom at the Dallas Times Herald. (Full disclosure: My first real newspaper job was at this now-shuttered publication; I once sent Ivins an intra-office fan memo.)

Her witty take-downs of the Texas legislature reached a national audience via syndication and several best-selling collections of her columns. And the timing gave her a front-row seat for the rise of W, who became the subject of two books she wrote with Lou Dubose, “Shrub” and “Bushwhacked.” (Having witnessed Bush in action for years, Ivins was less inclined than most to buy into his rosy descriptions of the Iraq War and its aftermath.)

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But “Raise Hell” isn’t just about the work, as great as the work was. Friends and family paint a fairly rich portrait of an intelligent and occasionally conflicted woman with a strong will and even stronger sense of humor. Later in her life, she would battle both alcoholism and breast cancer, and she would occasionally be let down by the rare politicians she respected.

(Always a defender of society’s most vulnerable, Ivins took Bill Clinton’s welfare reform as a deeply painful betrayal.)

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Engel’s subjects reminisce frankly about Ivins — this is a celebration but never a hagiography — and the requisite big names contribute interesting analysis regarding the writer as a Texan (Cecile Richards), a media powerhouse (Rachel Maddow) and both (Dan Rather). Formally speaking, the film isn’t breaking much new ground; the period-setting pop music and montage-friendly stock footage appear pretty much exactly where you’d expect. But Ivins herself was such a great raconteur, engaging speaker and drily witty interviewee that the plethora of old TV clips are themselves reason enough for the film to exist.

As even web outlets find themselves bleeding staff, and journalism becomes an increasingly precarious commodity, “Raise Hell” reminds us of the never-ending importance of those skilled observers with the ability to speak truth to power. And if, like Ivins, they can make us laugh while doing so, then they’re all the more essential.



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Oscar Nominations 2019: Top Oscar Contenders React to Their Nominations

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” and Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite” led Tuesday morning’s Oscar nominations with 10 nods each, including Best Picture. Nominees in various categories below shared their reactions with TheWrap.

“I guess there are words you just don’t expect hearing in your life and one is that you’ve been nominated for an Oscar. It’s an emotional moment,” said Rami Malek, who was nominated for Best Actor for his work in “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

“Wow, wow, wow. The word I keep coming back to is proud. Proud of our cast and crew with all the work we put into this amazing, yet still timely story. I’m grateful to Barry Jenkins for creating this beautiful role out of the great James Baldwin’s words. Collaborating with Barry has been a highlight of my career and this recognition is icing on the cake! And thank you to The Academy,” said Regina King said of her Best Actress in a Supporting Role nod for “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

Also Read: Oscars 2019: ‘The Favourite,’ ‘Roma’ Lead With 10 Nominations

“I’d like to thank the Academy for recognizing my work along with the extraordinary performances of my fellow nominees. I was so fortunate to have collaborators in Viggo Mortensen and Peter Farrelly and I’d like to congratulate them on their nominations. Through Dr. Donald Shirley, I had the gift of navigating circumstances as a profound, gifted, complicated genius. A man who had experiences and a combination of qualities that I had yet to see on film. I’m tremendously grateful for the lessons I learned through both his struggles and successes. I sincerely hope Dr. Shirley’s music and his unique contribution to our culture continues to be discovered, shared and appreciated,” Mahershala Ali said of his nomination for Best Supporting Actor for “Green Book.”

“I would like to thank The Academy for honoring The Favourite so generously today. Having felt a bit like an outsider looking in, I am truly humbled about this morning’s nominations. They are a meaningful tribute to every person involved in the making of The Favourite – my talented collaborators and sublime cast, led by Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone.” “The Favourite director Yorgos Lanthimos said of his nomination for Best Director.

“Thank you to The Academy for recognizing The Favourite in so many categories. I’m immensely proud to be part of it and to be nominated in the company of such talented women. Congratulations to my incredible fellow actors Emma and Olivia, our brilliant director Yorgos, and to everyone who participated in the making of this extraordinary film. Thank you to Fox Searchlight for their unwavering support and for having the guts to make a film with three complex female protagonists,” Rachel Weisz, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for “The Favourite,” said.

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“Everything to do with this movie has been a total joy. Bjorn Runge is a great director! Jonathan Pryce is an inspired partner. I’m so proud to be in a little film that has such great resonance with so many people. I’m especially proud to have shared the creation of this character with my beloved daughter Annie. So grateful,” Golden Globe-winner Glenn Close said of her nomination for Best Actress for “The Wife.”

“I’m over the moon with this nomination. Playing Vincent Van Gogh in Julian Schnabel’s AT ETERNITY’S GATE was a gift. The making was so transforming and my working with Julian was so complete and close that sometimes it felt like we were the same person. I share this honor with him. I’m so proud of this movie and this recognition means the film will have greater visibility and be seen by more people, which is a VERY gratifying reward,” Willem Dafoe said of his Best Actor nomination for At “Eternity’s Gate.”

“Everyone who worked on this film truly risked putting themselves out there — in the hope that in doing so people will connect and feel something deep and personal — the way films have made me feel since I was a kid. When I got this opportunity I knew I had to risk it all because I may never get another chance — so to be here today in a place where people who have seen the film are talking about how it makes them feel, something deep — that simple human thing — that we need each other — and the Academy to recognize that this morning — I just am so grateful,” “A Star Is Born” actor/director Bradley Cooper said of his nomination for Best Actor for that film.

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“Working on ‘The Favourite’ alongside my brilliant friends Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and the whole cast was nothing short of incredible. I was grateful every day and am honored by this nomination. Yorgos created a palace for us all to play in. I am forever indebted to him and the whole team that brought this insane vision to life. Thank you to Fox Searchlight for their invaluable support and thank you to the Academy for recognizing our work,” Emma Stone said of her nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for “The Favourite.”

“From the very first casting call to this morning, my ‘Roma’ journey has been extraordinary. As a daughter of a domestic worker and an indigenous woman myself, I am proud this movie will help those of us who feel invisible be seen. I am eternally grateful to the Academy for recognizing ROMA and am honored to be part of Alfonso’s vision. Congratulations to Alfonso, the entire cast and crew, and my dear friend Marina De Tavira. I am so humbled and honored. Thank You,” Best Actress nominee Yalitza Aparicio said.

“Although we flew under the radar for years, we always felt that Into the Spider-Verse could be something special. We never dreamed, though, that it would have the effect it has had on the diverse, passionate audience it has attracted. While making our movie we tried to push through every boundary we could that dictates what a popular movie can look like – all in the service of a story about finding common ground between different people from different worlds. To be nominated for an Academy Award is a huge honor, and means our movie will continue to reach more people around the world and inspire work that pushes far beyond us. We thank the Academy, our talented colleagues, and the vocal, dedicated audiences who advocated for us and carried us here,” said directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman of their nomination for Best Animated Feature for their film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

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“This is an incredible honor. We’re grateful to the Academy for recognizing the work of more than 800 artists and filmmakers who came together to tell the extraordinary story of Miles Morales in a groundbreaking way. In the last few months we’ve heard countless stories about parents whose children looked up at them while watching the film and said “he looks like me,” or “they speak Spanish like us,” or “I want to grow up and be like her.” It’s such a simple concept but that is the reason so many people worked so hard – to make a movie that was worthy of Miles and makes everyone feel powerful and seen. Now more than ever, the world needs everyday superheroes and we are counting on everyone,” said Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who were nominated for Best Animated Feature for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

“Thank you so much to the Academy for this recognition. It is an honor to be nominated for a film that I loved making. I am grateful to Adam for writing such rich material and for creating such a wonderful work environment. I also want to congratulate the other nominees, my cast members, the crew and everyone who worked so hard on this film,” Amy Adams said of her nomination for Best Actress for playing Lynne Cheney in “Vice.”

“Hot damn! I am so truly honored to be recognized by the Academy again this year. Vice is such a special and important film to be a part of and I’m thrilled for Adam, Christian, Amy and Hank, as well as all of the cast and crew,” said Sam Rockwell, who played George W. Bush, of his nomination Best Actor in a Supporting Role in “Vice.”

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Before Christian Bale Played Dick Cheney in ‘Vice,’ He Almost Played George W. Bush in ‘W’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

A decade before Christian Bale hypnotized “Vice” audiences with his portrayal of Vice President Dick Cheney, he almost played Cheney’s boss, President George W. Bush.
Some might say we have it backwards: “Vice” makes a str…

Meghan McCain Calls Katrina Pierson ‘One of the Dumbest People Ever to Work for Trump’ After Tweet About John McCain

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The late John McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, called Katrina Pierson “one of the dumbest people ever to work for Trump” after Pierson appeared to call on the late senator to answer questions — without taking note of his death earlier this year.

“You’re exponentially more stupid than I’ve ever given you credit for — and I’ve always considered you one of the dumbest people ever to work for Trump, which is quite the fete [sic]. Delete your account,” McCain tweeted Friday morning.

Pierson, who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign and describes herself as a “senior adviser” for Trump’s 2020 campaign, appeared to slam Meghan’s father, the late Sen. John McCain Thursday for failing to answer questions about the so-called Christopher Steele dossier. Sen. McCain died earlier this year.

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On Thursday, Pierson tweeted: “Since everyone is just now realizing his staffers role in the #RussiaHoax. We have been asking questions! John McCain Still Refuses to Answer Questions About His Role in the Dossier.”

The last sentence was the headline of an old post from when McCain was still alive, but because it ran together with the previous sentences, it appeared that Pierson was unaware of McCain’s passing.

This is such important work, I implore you to dedicate yourself to nothing else until you finally get an answer from him.

— Daniel “Prancer” Summers (@WFKARS) December 21, 2018

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The tweet has been retweeted hundreds of times.

Meghan McCain’s tweet was taken down shortly after it posted, but not before it racked up more than 50 retweets and close to 270 likes.

Representatives for ABC, where McCain works as host of “The View,” did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment Friday.

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During a CNN appearance in 2016, Pierson wrongly stated that President Obama started the U.S. war in Afghanistan. President George W. Bush was president at the start of the war in 2001. 

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‘Vice’ Film Review: Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney Biopic Shows the Triumph of Mediocrity

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

If there’s one thing writer-director Adam McKay’s “Vice” does well, it’s highlight how white mediocrity has thrived in American politics and pop culture. But McKay also does this by way of making a mediocre movie about mediocre politician Dick Cheney played by a surprisingly mediocre Christian Bale. At some point, and at some level, you wish the white mediocrity could be reined in, but it never is.

The first problem with “Vice” is that it assumes its audience is in on its joke, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The film is even prefaced by text across the screen reading that the former vice president was “one of the most secretive leaders in history,” so telling this quasi-true story was more than a little difficult. But, “we f—ing tried.”

Hold on: They’re making a comedy about one of the most polarizing, if not downright vilified, men in American political history, one who was integral to the widely condemned invasion of Iraq after 9/11? And not actually confronting anything he did in any real way outside the lens of ludicrousness? Please, spare us.

McKay, known for highlighting the fallacy of American culture in recent films like “The Big Short,” may actually be the best filmmaker to take on a subject like Cheney, one of history’s biggest ruses. That’s not because his films are good, but because McKay seems comfortable presenting a delicate issue as a joke without encouraging or offering any room for discussion. He seems to want to explore how funny is it that someone as monotone and uncharismatic as Cheney became one of the most powerful men in the world.

Watch Video: Christian Bale Transforms Into ‘Ruthless’ Dick Cheney for First ‘Vice’ Trailer

Getting past the movie’s conceptual goofiness, “Vice” does at least show how someone like Dick rose to power: by failing upward. When we meet Dick at the start of the movie, he’s accosted by police who pull him over for driving under the influence. It’s his second DUI arrest, and his young wife, Lynne (Amy Adams), is over it. But not so over it that she’s going to leave him. At this point, it’s the early ’60s, and Lynne is acutely aware of the fact that as a woman, even one portrayed as fiercely capable as she is here, she has zero options when it comes to climbing up any corporate ladder, so he needs to do that for both of them.

Lynne, like many other women of the era, had to be satisfied as a booster and champion of her husband’s success (including the scholarship she helps secure him at Yale), even if he doesn’t deserve it. Adams’ diligent portrayal of a white middle-class American woman, enhanced by the stuffy country-club wardrobe by costume designer Susan Matheson (“The Big Short”), effectively captures Lynne’s relentless effort to remind people of her husband’s worth. To what end, though?

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That’s where the rest of the story comes in. After Cheney arbitrarily decides to be a Republican power player after seeing then-congressman Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell, also doing a silly impression of an infamous American figure) throw his weight around, he rises up the GOP ranks during the Ford presidency. Then after a long period of exile, he hobnobs his way back into the White House by taking advantage of the naiveté of Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell at his silliest) and convincing him to alter the role of vice president so that he has more power than tradition has allowed.

And that’s pretty much how a mediocre white man, whose own wife at one point remarks how disastrously unappealing he is as a public speaker, rises to power. The narrator of the film (Jesse Plemons, in a thankless role) notes that Cheney has “an ability to make his wildest ideas sound measured.”

These “wild” ideas, though, include his response to 9/11, his support of waterboarding, the phone tapping of American civilian and numerous other offenses that left a dark stain in American politics. These decisions also came at time when the only people in the room who ever seemed to question him were notably two of the only people of color in the Bush administration: Secretaries of State Colin Powell (Tyler Perry) and later Condoleezza Rice (Lisa Gay Hamilton).

Again, where is the joke here, aside from Bale acting as though he’s in a serious, dramatic movie in which he goes Method by adding on pounds and grunting his way through a half-baked performance? This is neither funny nor insightful.

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McKay tries to connect Dick Cheney’s most abhorrent actions and acquisition of power to an era ripe with decayed morality — from Richard Nixon’s resignation after Watergate to Fox News’ mission to make America “right” again. But none of it really lands, especially presented in this tone of “it’s funny because it’s true.” Though the film’s postscript explains how the concept, and continued support, of a unitary executive enables a man like Cheney to seize power, “Vice” holds neither the American people, Cheney nor anyone else in the White House accountable.

And maybe McKay wasn’t really trying to indict anyone here, which is fine. But what’s missing in this and even “The Big Short” is a strong filmmaker’s voice. He’s not saying anything, just poking fun. In an era in which the general public is organizing to confront the White House on multiple issues, this isn’t the film we need right now.



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‘NCIS’ Alum Pauley Perrette Shares Her ‘Lovely’ George HW Bush Dream After His Death

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Pauley Perrette had a dream … about sharing a “lovely” conversation with George H.W. Bush during a long plane flight.

“NCIS” alum Perrette took to Twitter early Saturday, shortly after news broke that the 41st President of the United States had died at age 94.

According to Perrette, while she “didn’t align” with all of Bush’s politics, the dream “softened me to REALLY look at both sides” and “helped me understand my Republican Dad.”

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“So years ago I had dream about #GeorgeHWBush,” the actress began her tweet.

“I didn’t align with all of his politics but in my dream we were on a long plane ride together and sat next to each other,” Perrette continued. “We talked for hours and hours. He was kind, as was I. We discussed many things.”

Perrette also tossed in a jab at the nation’s current chief executive in her recollection.

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“It softened me to REALLY look at both sides. (Not now, [T]rump is the friend of NO ONE but himself, and that’s not political, it’s just personal, ANY other republican would have spared us this shame!),” Perrette wrote.

“Anyways, #GHWB and me had a lovely talk, calm, talked about our differences in policy and the things we agreed on, and it was one of the best dreams ever,” Perrette continued.

“It helped me understand my Republican Dad, it helped me learn that we can disagree and still be kind and respectful to one another,” the actress concluded.

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Bush’s son, former President George W. Bush, announced his father’s death on Friday.

“Jeb, Nell, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died,” the younger Bush said Friday night. “George H. W. Bush was a man of the highest character, and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.”

Statement by the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, on the passing of his father this evening at the age 94. pic.twitter.com/oTiDq1cE7h

— Jim McGrath (@jgm41) December 1, 2018

Read Perrette’s entry into her social-media dream diary below.

So years ago I had a dream about #GeorgeHWBushpic.twitter.com/MM3fqw5yn1

– Pauley Perrette (@PauleyP) December 1, 2018

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President Trump Will Send You a Text Today, Whether You Want It or Not

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It doesn’t matter if you follow him on Twitter or not. It doesn’t matter if you’re conservative or liberal. President Trump will be directly sending a message to your phone on Wednesday, as part of a nationwide test of the government’s emergency alert system.

Beginning at 2:18 p.m. ET, the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System will send the test message to all U.S. cellphones on major carriers. President Trump is the only person that can send the message — and you can’t turn off notifications for it.

“Presidential Alert,” the message will begin, followed by a brief text: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

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The new messaging system traces its roots back to the George W. Bush White House, when the president called for a national warning system after the U.S. government was criticized for its reaction the Hurricane Katrina. If a real national crisis were to happen, President Trump could leverage the alert system to send a nationwide warning. The message is sent by the same institution that handles Amber Alerts.

It also might be hard to miss the test message. Not only are people unable to opt out, but the “special tone” accompanying the message can be “quite loud,” according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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Christian Bale Bulks Up As Dick Cheney In ‘Vice’ Trailer

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19 Times Donald Trump and Co. Were Confused About History, Including Canada Burning Down the White House (Photos)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Since becoming president, Donald Trump has had a lot more occasion to talk about American history. He likes to remind people that “you know, I’m, like, a smart person,” but he doesn’t always seem to get it right. Here are 11 instances of Trump and his surrogates giving weirdo history lessons.

On Frederick Douglass
During a Black History Month breakfast in February, after mentioning several African American historical figures Trump said, “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.” We’re not saying Trump didn’t know who Douglass was, but despite his remarks, the famed abolitionist died in 1895.

On Trump’s Civil War Battle Golf Course
Trump’s Virginia golf course on the Potomac River includes a plaque stating the location was the site of a Civil War battle. “Many great American soldiers, both of the North and South, died at this spot,” the inscription reads. “The casualties were so great that the water would turn red and thus became known as ‘The River of Blood.’” Historians say nothing significant took place at the site.

On Abraham Lincoln’s Political Party
Trump brought up Abraham Lincoln at the National Republican Congressional Committee Dinner in March. “Great president. Most people don’t even know he was a Republican,” Trump said. “Does anyone know? Lot of people don’t know that.”

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Lincoln, of course, is famously the first Republican president, although the party has changed significantly, both geographically and ideologically, from when it was started in 1854. Trump went on to suggest, “Let’s take an ad, let’s use one of those PACs,” to educate people about Lincoln’s link to the party. He apparently was unaware the GOP very often refers to itself as “the Party of Lincoln.”

On His Electoral College Victory
Since winning the 2016 presidential election, Trump and his team have repeatedly called the win “the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan.” It wasn’t. In fact, only two presidents have received fewer than Trump’s 304 electoral votes since 1972 — Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush. And Trump’s 304 is less than both of Barack Obama’s wins, at 365 in 2008 and 332 in 2012.

On His Inauguration Crowd
Trump and his surrogates have maintained he had the biggest inauguration crowd in history, citing both the people on the ground at the National Mall in Washington D.C., and watching on TV and online. “When I looked at the numbers that have come in from all of the various sources, we had the biggest audience in the history of inaugural speeches,” Trump told ABC News. Going by the crowd and TV numbers, though, Trump’s inauguration crowd was definitely not the biggest ever.

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Nielsen ratings for the inauguration put TV viewership at about 31 million, or 19 percent fewer than the number who tuned in for Obama’s inauguration in 2009, The Independent reports. And a PBS timelapse video shows the National Mall was never full during the entire event, while shots of Obama’s inaugurations show the mall packed. Trump’s inauguration might make up the difference with online streaming viewers, but those numbers aren’t known to the public or the media.

On Andrew Jackson and the Civil War
In a Sirius XM interview with a reporter from the Washington Examiner, Trump said President Andrew Jackson would have stopped the Civil War. “I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little later you wouldn’t have had the Civil War,” Trump said. “He was a very tough person but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw with regard to the Civil War, he said ‘There’s no reason for this.’” Jackson, of course, died in 1845 — 16 years before the Civil War began.

Trump took to Twitter to clarify his comments on Jackson. “President Andrew Jackson, who died 16 years before the Civil War started, saw it coming and was angry. Would never have let it happen!” In fact, Jackson, a slave owner, probably would have fallen on the Confederacy’s pro-slavery side.

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On the Civil War, Why
“People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why?” Trump continued during the same interview. “People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?” Of course, plenty of people have asked “the Civil War, why?” The answer: slavery.

On Medieval Times (Not the Restaurant)
In February 2016, Trump explained his view of torture and terrorism in an interview on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” “We are living in a time that’s as evil as any time that there has ever been,” Trump said. “You know, when I was a young man, I studied Medieval times. That’s what they did, they chopped off heads.” Trump went on to say he would authorize measures “beyond waterboarding” when asked if the US would chop off heads under Trump.

On Sweden and What Happened There
Trump brought up immigration in Europe during a rally in February 2017. He appeared to mention some immigration-related event “last night” in Sweden that hadn’t actually happened. “We’ve got to keep our country safe,” he said. “You look at what’s happening in Germany. You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”

Also Read: Frederick Douglass Comes Alive on Social Media After Confusing Trump Statement

Trump later clarified the statement, yet again on Twitter. He said he wasn’t referring to a news event that happened “last night” in Sweden, but rather, a Fox News story. “My statement as to what’s happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden,” he wrote.

On the Paris Climate Change Accord
Trump said other countries and world leaders are laughing at the U.S. for its role in the Paris climate change agreement. That would be kind of strange, given that the list of “no” countries is only three United Nations members long: Nicaragua, which said the agreement didn’t go far enough; Syria, which is in the middle of a civil war; and now the U.S. Maybe what Trump was hearing was the other approximately 190 countries taking part in the agreement laughing that he thinks climate change is a Chinese hoax.

On the Panama Canal
In a meeting with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, Trump seemed to kind of, sort of take credit for the Panama Canal. “The Panama Canal is doing quite well. I think we did a good job building it, right — a very good job,” Trump said, to which Varela answered, “Yeah, about 100 years ago.” While what Trump meant by “we” was probably “the United States,” as Varela’s comment suggests, there’s still an air of Trump glomming on to past accomplishments that had nothing to do with him.

On the War of 1812

Trump has been pushing to enact new tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, which are affecting not just China and other countries Trump sees as competitors to the U.S., but also allies such as Canada. In a phone conversation with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that got somewhat heated over the tariffs, CNN reports, Trump brought up the War of 1812, claiming that Canadians burned down the White House during that conflict.

Trump wasn’t wrong that the White House was burned down in the War of 1812 — that did happen. Blaming Canada doesn’t make a ton of sense, though. It was British troops that burned down the White House, since the U.S. was at war with England for the two-year conflict. Canada was a colony at the time, and so was pulled into the war. A lot of it was also fought in Canada. But blaming Canada for the White House doesn’t actually track.

On the Pulse nightclub shooting

As part of his push against gun control in the wake of the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Trump has advocated for arming teachers and others to stop mass shootings. He also said that another shooting, the one in June 2016 at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people, could have been prevented if someone else there had been carrying a gun.

The trouble is, someone was: there was an armed police officer working at Pulse the night of the shooting, who even exchanged gunfire with the shooter, Omar Mateen. Trump claimed later on Twitter that what he’d meant was that he wished there had been even more people with guns to stop the Pulse shooting.

Kellyanne Conway On the Bowling Green Massacre
Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway invented a terrorist attack that never happened when she mentioned the “Bowling Green Massacre” in a February interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. Conway was attempting to justify Trump’s ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries, and claimed the media hadn’t covered the attack. As the Washington Post reports, Conway also mentioned the massacre, which never took place, in two other interviews.

Sean Spicer On the Holocaust
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer got into trouble when he compared Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and Adolf Hitler when discussing Trump’s decision to bomb a Syrian airfield in response to a gas attack against civilians. “…Someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” Spicer said during a daily press briefing. Of course, the use of gas to murder millions of German Jews and other minority groups from within Germany and Europe was central to the Holocaust.

Also Read: Trump Trolled Over Bizarre, Baffling Claim About Avoiding the Civil War

Spicer went on to clarify that he did, in fact, know about the Holocaust. “I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no — he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing,” Spicer said. “I mean, there was clearly, I understand your point, thank you. Thank you, I appreciate that. There was not in the, he brought them into the Holocaust center, I understand that.” The historically accurate term for “Holocaust center” is “concentration camp,” and at least 200,000 people killed in them were Jewish German citizens.

Michael Moore: Roseanne Is ‘Totally Nuts,’ But Trump’s an ‘Evil Genius’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Michael Moore has taken to social media with a scathing and heartbreaking assessment Roseanne Barr’s downward spiral — plus an assertion that President Donald Trump is “evil” and a suggestion that the ABC network find a way to keep middle class stories on TV.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Moore recounted his over 25-year friendship with Barr, whose revived ABC sitcom was cancelled this week following a racist tweet targeted at former Barack Obama aide Valerie Jarrett.

The documentarian made several comments about Barr’s mental state and subsequent downward trajectory — which he says is sprung from the “sewer of lies” in which she peddles. Read the full post below.

Also Read: Roseanne Barr Says She ‘Begged’ ABC Not to Cancel ‘Roseanne’ Show

“Roseanne seems to be suffering from some sort of madness. It’s more than just saying she’s a racist. She operates in the same sewer of lies, conspiracy theories and bigotry that’s been rising in America for years and that has now succeeded in electing our current president. Totally nuts,” Moore wrote.

After a sympathetic take on her upbringing as a Jewish girl in an intolerant Salt Lake City, Utah and the merits of her groundbreaking depiction of the middle class during the seminal first run of “Roseanne,” Moore idly drops that the singer suffered a massive head injury as a child.

“Most people don’t know that she has suffered her entire life from a massive head injury she received during a serious car accident when she was a child. Her brain injuries were immense and she spent months in the hospital struggling to recover,” he writes.

Another key takeaway from Moore is that ABC should find a way to keep America’s middle class represented on primetime TV.

?The smart people who were writing this Roseanne series can surely find a way to let the non-bigoted portion of the America’s working class (which I can tell you is the VAST majority) have their voice heard on network television. Why should it be silenced by one lost soul?’ he asks.

While Moore laments Barr’s behavior and the lost opportunity of her cancelled reboot, he points to a more insidious and clear-headed evil.

“Trump, though he shows all the signs of being absolutely bonkers, is not insane. He’s the real deal. His racism and hate is real, it’s well thought-out, he’s the true master of manipulation, a brilliant performance artist, and an evil genius,” Moore said.

The full transcript:

I have known Roseanne Barr for over 25 years. I’ve known her as Roseanne Barr, Roseanne Arnold, just “Roseanne”, then back to Roseanne Barr. I’ve spent time in her home, criss-crossed the country with her to help remove George W. Bush from the White House, appeared on her shows, been there for her when she needed something, and connected her with one of my producers who did an insightful, one-of-a-kind documentary into the genius and the tragedy that is Roseanne Barr.

On Tuesday Roseanne posted hateful, slanderous tweets directed at four people: George Soros, Valerie Jarrett, Chelsea Clinton and me. A few hours later, she was fired by ABC.

For the past few years, Roseanne has been posting the craziest stuff on Twitter, like claiming Hillary was part of a child sex abuse ring being run out of a DC pizza place. She’s claimed that the Clintons have murdered people. And anyone who criticizes Benjamin Netanyahu is a “nazi.”

Roseanne seems to be suffering from some sort of madness. It’s more than just saying she’s a racist. She operates in the same sewer of lies, conspiracy theories and bigotry that’s been rising in America for years and that has now succeeded in electing our current president. Totally nuts.

Here’s who’s not crazy: Donald J. Trump.

Trump, though he shows all the signs of being absolutely bonkers, is not insane. He’s the real deal. His racism and hate is real, it’s well thought-out, he’s the true master of manipulation, a brilliant performance artist, and an evil genius. He outsmarted a nation of liberals and Democrats and won the White House by losing the actual vote of the people. He neutered and then destroyed the Grand Old Republican Party. He knows exactly what he is doing.

Roseanne, on the other hand, is a person who long ago broke through and brought an authentic voice of working women and men to television via one of the greatest TV series of all time. It was groundbreaking because the TV industry had historically either ignored, ridiculed or patronized those of us who grew up in the working class. Roseanne changed that.

But she is also a damaged soul. Most people don’t know that she has suffered her entire life from a massive head injury she received during a serious car accident when she was a child. Her brain injuries were immense and she spent months in the hospital struggling to recover.

I also have no idea what it was like to grow up, as she did, as a Jewish girl in Salt Lake City. Not a tolerant state, to be sure. She told me how her parents, who owned an apartment building, were asked by the U.S. government after World War II if they would be willing to house Holocaust survivors who had come to the U.S. as refugees. Her parents took dozens in, and Roseanne’s childhood was spent with these survivors as her “family.” “The stories they told me,” she said, “were filled with unimaginable horror. I’ve always wondered what effect that had on me as a little girl.”

Now, sadly, for the past few years, Roseanne has been in a downward spiral, ranting like crazy on Twitter, spreading conspiracy theories, attacking the people she used to love, supporting Trump, and being just an outright hateful and racist person. It has been a difficult decline to witness. She has repeatedly attacked me, and on Tuesday, after calling George Soros a “Nazi” (he’s a Jew and a Holocaust survivor), Valerie Jarrett an offspring “of the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes,” and saying that Chelsea was “married to” a Nazi relative of George Soros, she then retweeted a disgusting new word for me because I have spoken out against the Netanyahu government and its killing of Palestinians — “#JewHater”. Nonstop insanity and sickness.

I guess there might be 20 million Americans (out of 320 million) who probably agree with her. She has thrown down with the lowest of the low, and who knows if she’ll ever recover from this descent into her own personal hell.

To close, I want to say just how great the new Roseanne show was. It was funny but brutal to watch because it showed how our system of greed has hurt millions of families like the Connors of Illinois. On the final episode last week, Roseanne was addicted to opioids because she couldn’t afford the knee surgery she needed, so she suffered along in agonizing pain. Dan, her husband, in order to raise money for her surgery, decided to take a non-union job — and Roseanne berates him for doing so and letting his union brothers and sisters down. There are a couple quick knocks on Trump, making it clear that the real Roseanne was not writing or running this show. For the past 9 weeks, the new Roseanne show has shined a powerful and necessary light on what it means to be working class in 2018. Her blended family on this new series was white and black and LGBTQ, and her generous neighbors next door were Muslims who forced her to confront her own bigotry.

If only her art could have helped her in her real life.

(Also, let me say this: There’s no reason the show has to go just because she’s gone. Over the years, TV has found ways to bring Bobby Ewing back from the dead on “Dallas”, forced us to accept the two Darrins on “Bewitched”, and found ways for hit shows to survive when their stars bolted after a year or two [David Caruso on “NYPD Blue”, Pernell Roberts on “Bonanza”]. The smart people who were writing this Roseanne series can surely find a way to let the non-bigoted portion of the America’s working class [which I can tell you is the VAST majority] have their voice heard on network television. Why should it be silenced by one lost soul?)

Related stories from TheWrap:

Roseanne Barr Ghosts Podcast Appearance, Joe Rogan Says

Roseanne’s Talent for Self-Destruction Gets Her in Trouble Again (Guest Blog)

Hollywood Muslims Respond to ‘Roseanne’ Scandal: ‘We’re Forgotten’

Former President George H.W. Bush In Hospital For Fatigue, Low Blood Pressure, But “Awake And Alert,” Spokesman Says

Read on: Deadline.

George H.W. Bush, the 41st U.S. president, was hospitalized this morning for low blood pressure and fatigue, but spokesman Jim McGrath said the former president “is awake and alert, and not in any discomfort.”
Bush, 93, is being treated in …

The 20 Best Sketches of ‘SNL’ Season 43 Ranked (Photos)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“SNL” Season 43 brought back fan-favorite Alec Baldwin to play Donald Trump, and added a bunch of surprise star gusts to episodes as other members of his administration. But “Saturday Night Live” hasn’t just been great at …

Is Criticism of Michelle Wolf Sexist? Rachel Bloom Says Yes

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Rachel Bloom, the writer and creator of the CW comedy “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” says the real reason for Michelle Wolf’s speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner is simple: Her gender.

“I definitely think Michelle Wolf is getting more criticism because she’s a woman,” Bloom told TheWrap. “The way people are calling her lewd and crude and crass, those are not insults lobbed at male comics as much, because it’s expected from them.”

The National Organization for Women agrees with Bloom.

Also Read: Michelle Wolf’s Career Will Be Fine – Just Ask Stephen Colbert

“There is no doubt about it,” NOW president Toni Van Pelt told TheWrap. “I remember when Stephen Colbert did his speech years ago, and while the audience was uncomfortable, nothing really happened.”

Stephen Colbert was accused of hitting President Bush too hard at the 2006 White House Correspondents dinner. But Colbert came out fine, Bloom noted.

Also Read: Seth Meyers: Michelle Wolf ‘Is Filthy’ and ‘Mean, Which Is What We Love About Her’ (Video)

Wolf went after President Trump, Democrats, news outlets and even herself on Saturday. But many journalists and politicians in attendance seemed bothered by her jokes about White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who sat at the head table to represent the administration in Trump’s absence.

Interestingly, some of the attacks on Wolf came from prominent female journalists, including New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman and MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, who believed Wolf got too personal in her jokes on Sanders.

But Bloom said there was nothing about Wolf’s speech that justified the criticisms.

“The thing that stuck out to me was the writing,” Bloom told TheWrap. “It was so well-written. What line did she cross exactly? Someone should explain it to me because I don’t get it. The person she insulted the most was herself.”

Also Read: The Hill Pulls out of Future White House Correspondents’ Dinners After Michelle Wolf Routine

Not everyone was critical, of course. Jane Lynch, Chrissy Teigen, Gabrielle Union, Kumail Nanjiani, Sarah Silverman and Kathy Griffin defended Wolf on Twitter. Wolf’s former boss at NBC’s “Late Night,” Seth Meyers, praised her on the show Monday night.

As for Wolf? She’s standing her ground, and said she wouldn’t change a word of what she said.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Did Michelle Wolf Just Host the Last White House Correspondents’ Dinner?

Michelle Wolf: ‘I Wouldn’t Change a Single Word’ of My WHCD Speech

White House Reporters Generation Gap: Michelle Wolf Reactions Divide Millennials and Old Guard

Michelle Wolf’s Career Will Be Fine – Just Ask Stephen Colbert

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The negative reaction to Michelle Wolf’s White House Correspondents Dinner speech was so intense that the host organization issued a public apology. But don’t worry: She’ll be fine.

“This is only going to be good for Michelle Wolf’s career,” writer and creator of the CW’s “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” Rachel Bloom told TheWrap. “Everybody knows her name and they’re going to check out her show now. Controversies are only good for one’s career.”

While many are judging Wolf like a TV news host whose show can be boycotted, or a politician who can be voted out of office, she is, in fact, a comedian. Comedians are judged by the number of tickets they sell, not the number of people they alienate.

Most of the Trump supporters who are now vowing to never come to her shows or watch her standup specials had never heard of her before the White House Correspondents Dinner. But many potential new fans learned about her for the first time Saturday night, when she called President Trump a broke racist and said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders frequently lies.

Also Read: Did Michelle Wolf Just Host the Last White House Correspondents’ Dinner?

How do we know Wolf will be fine? Because she isn’t the first comedian accused of going too far at a White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

In 2006, a comedian delivered what would later be called “the most controversial correspondents’ dinner speech” ever. In just under half an hour, he insulted President George W. Bush to his face with a satirical defense of his presidency that was actually a harsh criticism of it — and blasted the news media’s under-scrutiny of the Bush administration’s claims regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

C-SPAN, which broadcast the White House Correspondents’ Dinner live, rebroadcast the event several times over the following 24 hours, but aired a segment that cut the comedian’s speech. According to Media Matters, a liberal watchdog group, “numerous news outlets trumpeted President Bush’s performance at the event, but entirely ignored the scathing routine delivered by the night’s featured entertainer.”

That entertainer? Stephen Colbert, who now has one of the most prominent gigs on television, as host of CBS’s “The Late Show.”

The New York Times reported at the time that Colbert delivered a “heavily nuanced, often ironic performance” that “got in many licks at the president — on the invasion of Iraq, on the administration’s penchant for secrecy, on domestic eavesdropping — with lines that sounded supportive of Mr. Bush but were quickly revealed to be anything but. And all this after Mr. Colbert tried, at the outset, to soften up the president by mocking his intelligence, saying that he and Mr. Bush were ‘not so different,’ by which he meant, he explained, ‘we’re not brainiacs on the nerd patrol.’”

“It’s fair to say that Colbert’s career did just fine after that,” Jack Pitney, professor of government at California’s Claremont McKenna College, told TheWrap. “When you invite an edgy comedian you should expect edgy comedy.”

Also Read: Michelle Wolf Act ‘Not in the Spirit’ of White House Correspondents’ Mission, Group President Says

There is at least one major difference between Colbert and Wolf: Wolf is a woman. Many of her critics accused her of unfairly targeting other women in hurtful and unfair ways.

At one point Wolf likened Sanders to Aunt Lydia, a loathsome character on Hulu’s dystopian drama “The Handmaid’s Tale.” She also joked that Sanders’ “perfect” smokey eye makeup was made from ashes of burnt lies.

“That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive,” tweeted Maggie Haberman, the New York Times White House correspondent and recent Pulitzer Prize winner.

MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, who was also the subject of one of Wolf’s jokes, said: “Watching a wife and mother be humiliated on national television for her looks is deplorable. I have experienced insults about my appearance from the president. All women have a duty to unite when these attacks happen and the WHCA owes Sarah an apology.”

She got one.

“Last night’s program was meant to offer a unifying message about our common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honoring civility, great reporting and scholarship winners, not to divide people,” said WHCA president Margaret Talev in a statement. “Unfortunately, the entertainer’s monologue was not in the spirit of that mission.”

Also Read: Did Michelle Wolf Just Host the Last White House Correspondents’ Dinner?

Bloom dismissed the idea that anything about Wolf’s set was anti-woman. She also gave Wolf points for telling self-deprecating jokes, including saying that she was advised to become a mime because of her voice.

“The thing that stuck out to me was the writing,” Bloom said. “It was so well-written. What line did she cross exactly? Someone should explain it to me because I don’t get it. The person she insulted the most was herself.”

Emily Nassbaum, a TV critic for the New Yorker, noted on Twitter that “the idea that MW’s joke ‘called out’ Sander’s eye makeup is madness. She PRAISED her eye makeup–she said it was a ‘perfect smokey eye’–she just pointed out that it was made of the ashes of burned lies.”

Whitney Cummings, Kathy Griffin, Samantha Bee and Rob Reiner came out in Wolf’s defense. So did a New York Times editorial.

The president, who skipped the dinner to hold one of his rallies, predictably called Wolf  a “filthy” failure.

“The White House Correspondents’ Dinner was a failure last year, but this year was an embarrassment to everyone associated with it. The filthy “comedian” totally bombed (couldn’t even deliver her lines-much like the Seth Meyers weak performance). Put Dinner to rest, or start over!”

He probably wouldn’t have gone to one of her shows anyway.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Morning Joe’ Blasts Michelle Wolf Monologue: ‘Everybody Felt Pain’ for Sarah Sanders

White House Correspondents Association Dragged for ‘Cowardly’ Michelle Wolf Criticism

Kathy Griffin Slams Michelle Wolf’s Media Critics: ‘When’s the Last Time You Demanded Trump Apologize?’