- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 10, 2017

They just keep on arriving. And arriving and arriving. Congress may earn the lowest favorability numbers on record and protests marches are plenty — but the city of Washington, D.C., has never been more popular. The noble marble monuments, museums and broad avenues have attracted an unprecedented number of visitors, according to new data released by Destination DC, an industry marketing group that tracks it all.

More than 20 million eager visitors from around the nation flocked to D.C. last year, an increase of 3 percent over the previous tally, and a record-breaker for the seventh year in a row. Yes, the National Mall is mighty crowded these days with people, taxis, food trucks, shining black limousines, vexed commuters and long lines at the Smithsonian Institute sites. The city itself has some of the worst traffic in the nation. But happy visitors love it — and they spent $7.3 billion in the city in the last 12 months. That should please President Trump himself. Tourism also sustains more than 74,654 jobs in town.

The historic and significant sites “articulate the national appetite for new and enduring tourism inventory in the District,” says Elliott L. Ferguson, president and CEO of the research group.

Yes, well. Tourists and residents alike likely would characterize the magnificence of the Federal City as more than a mere inventory. Still, that “appetite” would have amazed and likely pleased the Founding Fathers, not to mention Pierre L’Enfant, who designed the basic plan for Washington itself in 1791. But there’s more to come. Destination DC says this round of numbers does not include international visitors; that information will be released later in the year, and will surely up the ante. And if the group ever starts tabulating, say, extraterrestrial visitors — the grand total will rise even higher.

THE NIXON LIBRARY HAS A SAY

“FUN FACT: President Nixon never fired the Director of the FBI #FBIDirector #notNixonian.”

— tweet from the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, referencing President Trump’s firing of FBI director James B. Comey.

MEDIA IN TOTAL PANIC MODE OVER COMEY

Oh, the humanity. After news emerged that President Trump had indeed fired the aforementioned James B. Comey, the press added a jolt of melodrama and liberal agenda to their coverage within minutes.

“The firing of Mr. Comey has pushed the deranged, bloodthirsty media over the edge. Rather than reporting the facts, the media rushed to breathlessly pushing Democratic talking points and conspiracy theories untethered to reason or reality. The notion that this is in any way comparable to Watergate is hysterical,” said the Media Research Center in a statement.

“Any media report that leaves out how Democratic officials flipped from slamming Comey’s handling of the email investigation to feigning outrage and mourning his dismissal is worthless,” the conservative press watchdog noted.

The trend was rampant in the press say the organization’s analysts.

“ABC and CBS on Wednesday went into full panic mode,” writes analyst Scott Whitlock, noting that the networks used dramatic music and visuals, comparing the director’s firing “to Richard Nixon during the darkest days of Watergate.”

There were similar parallels on NBC and CNN. Analyst Nicholas Fondacaro had a startling description of a certain CNN legal commentator.

Jeffrey Tobin lost his mind over Comey being fired,” he writes.

“I have not seen anything like this since October 20, 1973, when President Nixon fired Archibald Cox, the Watergate special prosecutor,” Mr. Toobin said on the broadcast. “This is something that is not within the American political tradition. This is not normal. This is not politics as usual.”

“Only time will tell if Toobin’s assertions were correct. But his attitude and demeanor were way over the top. That’s not to mention that his tirade was based on what little information is available to the public, which means all of his pontificating was mere speculation,” points out Mr. Fondacaro.

199 ISIS PLOTS AGAINST WEST

The White House has reasserted itself in the war on terror says House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, who notes that the nation is approaching a grim record.

President Trump’s recent decisive action against ISIS in Syria shows that the United States will no longer turn a blind eye to terrorism or atrocities against innocent civilians. But as we near the alarming 200-mark for ISIS-linked plots against the West, there is a noticeable shift in the group’s directives,” says the Texas Republican.

Indeed, there have been 199 plots in the past four years — 21 in the last four months alone. In total, these plots include 63 cases that involved explosives, 14 that used “a vehicle as a weapon” and 44 attacks using a bladed instrument or knife.

“With the so-called ISIS caliphate in the Middle East deteriorating, jihadists are increasingly told to stay where they are and carry out attacks at home,” says Mr. McCaul. “America is showing the world that we will no longer stand idly by while freedom is endangered, and we will continue to take the fight to those who wish us harm, at home and abroad.”

Find the report here

POLL DU JOUR

48 percent of U.S. voters disapprove of President Trump’s job performance; 12 percent of Republicans, 50 percent of independents and 80 percent of Democrats agree.

44 percent approve; 84 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats agree.

36 percent say Mr. Trump has the same leverage negotiating with Congress now as he did upon taking office; 41 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats agree.

27 percent say Mr. Trump has more leverage now than he did at the start; 43 percent of Republicans, 21 percent of independents and 18 percent of Democrats agree.

25 percent say Mr. Trump has less leverage now than he did at the start; 11 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of independents and 39 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Morning Consult/Politico poll of 1,966 registered U.S. voters conducted May 4-6.

• Noble notions and historic hysteria to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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