The news from Belgium overnight is a disturbing new chapter in the war against international terrorism. These incidents are too frequent and cause too much misery for the victims and their families, while serving no purpose other than to incite fear. Unfortunately, with news of this nature there also comes the inevitable opportunists who see it as their chance to advance some self-serving agenda. And first in line for that sick exploitation this morning is Fox News and Donald Trump.
The Kurvy Kouch Potatoes at Fox and Friends wasted no time in getting Donald Trump on the phone to offer his uniquely idiotic and wholly vacant opinions on the Brussels tragedy. Yet even in this friendly setting, every time Trump was asked what he would do under these circumstances, he dodged the question entirely and resorted to spinning his dystopian perception of the world as a terrorist infested hell hole. In more than thirteen minutes he didn’t present a single policy proposal to address the problem other than curtailing immigration and building walls. However, he did have delusions about bad guys with fake passports who are coming into our country by the thousands. Add to that his disseminating long-debunked falsehoods about no-go zones in Paris and Brussels, and his general dismissal of all counter-terrorism measures currently in place, and you have a stew of dangerous ignorance seasoned with rancid hatred and buckets of fear.
The exchanges Trump had with his Fox pals were so embarrassingly meaningless that even the hosts seemed to struggle to get Trump say something – anything – intelligible. They tried asking him the same question multiple times to pry an answer out of him, but still failed to do so. That was when they weren’t making fools of themselves by lobbing softballs like when Brian Kilmeade wanted to know if Trump thought his assessment of Brussels was right. Trump answered “Of course I’m right.” Now that’s journalism. And it was quickly followed by Ainsley Earhardt asking Trump to comment as a businessman “because the market are down […] what happens now from a business perspective?” Trump answered “I think this whole thing will get worse as time goes by. It’s being perpetrated now all over the place.” Note: The markets in the U.S. and Europe were mostly up today (Dow, S&P, FTSE, Euronext, CAC, DAX).
That nonsense is just the start of the foray into fiction for which both Fox and Trump are known. At one point Trump bragged that “I’ve been talking about this for a long time, and look at Brussels. Brussels was a beautiful city, a beautiful place with zero crime, and now it’s a disaster city.” Well except for the fact that Brussels not only has had crime, like any other city, but terrorism as well. For instance, in March of 2012, there was an attack on a Shia mosque. In June of 2012, two Belgian police officers were stabbed in a subway station. In May of 2014, a shooter killed four individuals at the Brussels Jewish Museum. But other than that.
Here are a few other choice moments from the Trump interview:
Earhardt: If you were to become president and were in a situation like this, what would you do to protect America?
Trump: Well, again, I think I’ve said it. I would close up our borders to people until we figure out what is going on. Look at Brussels, look at Paris, look at so many cities that were great cities.
Since Trump has already said that closing the borders would be among the first things he would do as president, then presumably they would already be closed if a situation like this occurred. So what’s his answer to the question? Close the borders harder? And there was this:
Kilmeade: The key to unwinding the issue is getting the Muslim community to trust us and the government more than they do maybe people in their own community. How do you do that?
Trump: Well you need to have, I mean you need to be very vigilant as to who you have and where they’re coming from. You have to look at people and look at their backgrounds so closely. But this is a story that seems to be more and more happening.
Did I miss something? He didn’t address at all the question of how he would get Muslims to trust the government so that they might help to prevent terror attacks. Undaunted, Kilmeade tried again:
Kilmeade: A lot of people listening right now might be misinterpreting your message, in the past and currently, that you have a problem with Muslims. You don’t have a problem with Muslims, in fact you just hired one, Walid Phares, to work for you. So how do you want to win over the trust of the Muslim community who want to be Americans, who are good citizens, and get them to oust the terrorists amongst them? How does Donald Trump do that?
Trump: Well that’s one of the things. They’re very untrusting of people other than Muslims. […] That community doesn’t believe in reporting. They know exactly what’s going on and they don’t believe in reporting to the police.
First of all, Walid Phares, a Fox News analyst, is a Christian, not a Muslim. Secondly, it was nice for Kilmeade to answer his own question for Trump on the matter of his “problem with Muslims.” But Trump’s answer once again avoided any response to the question of attaining the trust of Muslims. To the contrary, he just maligned them as willing accomplices to any terrorist act. But Kilmeade was unusually persistent:
Kilmeade: So what’s your message to them?
Trump: My message is not to them. My message to us is we better get smart and we better get smart fast.
And that’s the kind of substantive proposal that will surely put an end to terrorism for all time. Why didn’t anyone think of that sooner? A little later Trump did come up with a message for American Muslims:
Trump: My message to them is they have to be more open with police. They have to become part of the community. They have to let people know when they see people making bombs on the first floor of the apartment. They have to let people know. And they don’t do it. And then the bombs go off and the guns go off and everything happens and you have the situation like like you recently had in California. […] In my opinion this is just gonna get worse and worse because we are lax and we are foolish.
Finally, Trump addressed part of the question. He at least acknowledged that there needs to be some measure of trust between citizens and law enforcement. But he still didn’t offer any suggestions for achieving that. So Kilmeade’s colleague Ainsley Earhardt took a shot at it:
Earhardt: How do you penetrate communities like that? How do you make a difference and make change?
Trump: It’s not for us to penetrate. It’s for them to penetrate. They have to come to us. You know, we’re not the victims here. We’re acting like it’s our fault. That’s the problem with the liberal policies of this country and this world.
We’re not the victims? Does anyone know what he’s talking about? And his assertion that any penetration must be done by members of the Muslim community is downright ludicrous. It is the job of law enforcement to cultivate relations with the community. Trump thinks we should just hang around and wait until informants feel like coming forward without putting in any effort to encourage it. And then there was this:
Doocy: Let’s say you’re President of the United States today [I’d rather not, actually]. Obviously you would have cracked down on immigration to prevent what you were talking about earlier. What else would you do today?
Trump: Well, you know, I guess I would just talk to the people and give them, frankly, a pep talk. You know, we need a pep talk. We need spirit in our country, OK?
I’m not sure I have anything to say about that. Except for: Are people seriously thinking of voting for this imbecile? A PEP talk?! And Trump is just the guy to give one, he’s so positive and inspirational.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
To put a rotting, maggot infested cherry on top of all of this, Fox’s Stuart Varney interviewed Trump’s senior policy advisor, Stephen Miller, and asked him a question that makes a mockery of the tragedy in Brussels by shamelessly politicizing it: “We’ve been saying all morning that this makes Trump look good, because he’s addressed the issue of immigration, specifically Muslim immigration. I take it you agree with that?” Good guess, Stu. And thanks for spending the morning telling your dimwitted viewers that a terrorist attack that has taken the lives of at least thirty-one people, with many more injured, is good news for Donald Trump.
Miller began his response by trying to say that political advantage ought not be a part of the discussion, but he ended saying that his candidate, Trump, had a much better take on this than Ted Cruz. Which led Varney to say:
“I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of you vs. Cruz. I don’t want to do that. This is a solemn day. […] We’ve had an outrage in Europe which will have repercussions on our politics here in America. Stephen, one last question. I take it at the moment Donald Trump is ahead in the polls in Arizona by a substantial amount.”
Did you follow that? First Varney asks a pointedly political question. Then he admonishes his guest for giving a political answer. Then he asks another overtly political question. And with that I have to go lay down. My head is spinning. I’m sure there will be more exploitation of this sad affair as the day goes on. And surely Trump will say some more stupid crap. But I’ve had enough for now. Maybe I need a pep talk.