With plenty of the GOP behind him, Trump is free to use his attacks on the media to distract from his scant policy recordby Adam Aiken / July 4, 2017 / Leave a comment
“The president of the United States is inciting violence against a free press. In America, we cannot stand for it.”
One of the liberal elite, getting all precious after Donald Trump’s latest attack on the media cabal that is out to get him?
No, actually—this was Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist, denouncing Trump on live television for his latest Twitter outburst.
To see just how shocking this is, you only have to imagine a similar scenario in the UK: replace Trump with Theresa May and Navarro with a Conservative party strategist. May’s position would be untenable.
The latest social-media storm to engulf Trump saw him post a video of a mock wrestling fight between him and an opponent who had a CNN logo as his head. It wasn’t particularly hilarious in the first place—but in the context of his ongoing verbal attacks on that network and others, the WWE clip was downright sinister.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 2, 2017
Yet in Trumpworld, we must contend with the bizarre reality that the president will not only survive this latest outrageous incident but might even benefit from it. As he himself said during last year’s election campaign: “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
A pattern of behaviour
There is a school of thought that the president’s latest outburst was just another poorly thought-out brain-dump—he saw something online he thought was hilarious, and reposted it with no more than a second’s thought and without considering its wider implications.
But it’s just the latest unpresidential behaviour from the man who is redefining how the Commander in Chief treats the press. Last week, he turned his fire on the hosts of an NBC programme, using personal and offensive language that would have got him in serious trouble if he’d spoken that way in the school playground.
Trump’s GOP “enablers”
But it’s not all about Trump. These episodes also shine a spotlight on other senior Republicans. There have been some notable GOP critics of Trump’s behaviour (John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John Kasich among them), but the vast majority of senior GOP figures have said very little following his outbursts. These people are…