On Christmas day, Donald Trump posted a tweet wishing everyone a “great Christmas” (not merry?) and then promised that “tomorrow it’s back to work in order to Make America Great Again.” He then spent the next seven days at his luxurious Mar-A-Lago golf resort in Palm Beach, Florida. He had no presidential duties on his schedule and his only public appearances were on the golf course or at private galas.
On January 2, Trump finally made it back to Washington, D.C., and the White House he has called “a dump.” It took him a week from his tweet, but he eventually returned to what he considers to be his job: Watching Fox News. That was apparent by the stream of tweets he posted Tuesday morning. Each one following closely a segment from that morning’s airing of Fox and Friends. He began the New Year Twittapalooza with a dark message that affirms his authoritarian tendencies:
Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aid, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2018
In that one tweet Trump manages to breach a variety of principles required for a free society. First, he makes unsubstantiated allegations against Hillary Clinton, a former political opponent, and her aide, Huma Abedin. Trump actually calls for them to be jailed, without evidence, or even a trial. He was tipped to this nonsense while watching a correspondent from the Daily Caller on Fox and Friends. The Daily Caller is the website run by by Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Secondly, Trump disparaged the Department of Justice as a tool of the “Deep State,” a term of paranoia that he picked up from his pal, Sean Hannity. Of Course the Justice Department is currently run by Trump appointees and he recently said that he has the “absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.” That’s a scary thought, and it isn’t true, but it calls into question his criticism that implies the whole institution is conspiring against him and his glassy-eyed disciples.
Finally, Trump made a point of dragging former FBI Director into this web of alleged criminals that he wants to lock up. That would be a legally perilous act since he would be persecuting someone that is a likely witness in charges that may be filed against Trump and his associates. It would add to the counts of obstruction of justice that might already be pending.
The tweet immediately following that one thanked Brandon Judd of the National Border Patrol Council. Judd had said some nice things about Trump on Fox and Friends a few minutes before the tweet. Obviously, Trump was watching and wanted to express his gratitude, along with promoting the utterly useless border wall that has become an obsession with him.
Trump also tweeted about the situation in North Korea, reprising his infantile use of the nickname “Rocket Man.”. He bragged that sanctions (which have been in place for years) were having a “big impact,” despite the fact that recent reports reveal that North Korea is planning new ballistic missile tests within the next few days. Apparently that wasn’t part of the report that Fox News aired, so Trump didn’t hear it. And we all know he relies on Fox rather than the intelligence agencies the president commands.
For someone who insists that he doesn’t have time to watch TV, he sure watches a lot of TV. And just one network in particular. Trump’s tweeting patterns have long been documented as regurgitations of something he just saw on Fox. He rarely has an original thought. And when he does, it’s likely to be praise to himself for something he had nothing to do with.
For instance, his tweet Tuesday morning citing a report that there were zero jet airliner fatalities in 2017. He attributed that to his having been “very strict” on commercial aviation. Of course, there is no record of his having done anything that would affect this statistic. What’s more, there were also zero jet airliner fatalities in the U.S. for the past eight years, long before his do-nothing presidency. However, Trump did repeal safety regulations for coal mining, and 2017 saw a surge in mining fatalities. Is he taking credit for that too?
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
With everything going on in the world today, it’s comforting knowing that Trump is so focused on what he thinks is his job. Because most Americans would rather he be watching TV and tweeting than creating international crises or adding to the domestic trauma and divisiveness he’s responsible for. Hopefully his babysitters in the White House will keep him glued to Fox News and out of the Situation Room.