Sunday morning Donald Trump was once again up early playing with his Twitter machine. Despite the best efforts of his handlers, they have failed to wrest his phone away and prevent these embarrassing episodes. The problem is that they are not just embarrassing for Trump, but for America.
The latest tweet-bleat from The Donald concerned an interview on CNN with Sen. Bernie Sanders (video below). The subject was Trump’s National Security Advisor, Gen. Michael Flynn, and his recently disclosed communications with Russia. In particular, Flynn’s having allegedly told Russia not to worry about the sanctions imposed for interfering with U.S. elections. Erin Burnett asked Sanders about Trump’s dubious claim to not know anything about the matter. That led to this amusing exchange:
BURNETT: He says says he doesn’t know anything about it. Hasn’t seen any of the reports. Is that a problem?
SANDERS: Well, I don’t know. Maybe he was watching CNN’s fake news. What do you think. [adding] That was a joke.
BURNETT: I know it was a joke.
Whereupon, the signal was lost and CNN went to a commercial. On the basis of that, Trump contrived a nefarious plot to silence Sanders and any talk of CNN’s “fakery.” He tweeted:
While on FAKE NEWS @CNN, Bernie Sanders was cut off for using the term fake news to describe the network. They said technical difficulties!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2017
How Trump concluded that Sanders was “cut off for using the term fake news” is a total mystery. As usual, he provided no evidence of his outlandish accusation. In the Trump mind, all that’s necessary is to spout off random thoughts and pretend they are factual. Of course, his delusions are generally easy to refute. In this case, CNN came back from the commercial break and began by apologizing for the technical difficulties and resuming the conversation with the very words that Trump thinks were censored:
BURNETT: Sen. Sanders is back with me, and I want to apologize to our viewers for that technical issue. And Senator, you had just been talking, joking about CNN’s fake news, but there were reports about … go ahead.
If CNN were trying to scrub any discussion about Trump’s juvenile fake news slur, they surely wouldn’t have led with it upon resumption of the interview. So how could Trump have concocted this nonsense? Well, as Brian Stelter reported, Fox & Friends had made the same phony characterization of the interview just half an hour before Trump tweeted it. As happens frequently, Trump was just regurgitating something he saw on Fox News. And we all know how reliable that is.
For the President of the United States to blindly parrot falsehoods he saw on TV sets a new low for the intellectual honesty of the office. But then Trump does that every day. The one silver lining that may emerge is that the attention Trump brings to this interview may cause a few of his supporters to watch the entire segment. Bernie is absolutely on fire and makes an outstanding presentation of Trump’s authoritarian tendencies and hypocrisy. He even defends referring to Trump as delusional and questions his mental health. Watch and enjoy (or shudder).
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.