Donald Trump fears nothing more than being held accountable for the abhorrent things he actually does and says. He proves this every day with his virulent attacks on the free press that he routinely maligns in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” And Trump’s fears are justified considering that he lies with such frequency and shamelessness that it’s hard for the press keep up.
On Wednesday morning Trump unleashed a raving Twitter tantrum that illustrated just how profoundly deranged he’s become. He is a densely packed heap of desperation and paranoia that is on the verge of bursting with atomic force. And he is utterly incapable of containing his rancid outrage:
…the Fake News Media into not covering them, but that effort failed because the ratings are through the roof according to, of all sources, the Failing New York Times, “Monday Night Football, Bachelor Finale” type numbers (& sadly, they get it $FREE). Trump Derangement Syndrome!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2020
This outburst is such a bizarre departure from presidential behavior that it requires some additional examination. Let’s start with Trump’s leading attempt to insult his political adversaries as “radical.” Because Trump uses this rhetoric nearly every time he mentions any Democrat, it’s lost any meaning. It’s just a childish, knee-jerk swipe at those he regards as his enemies. As is his baseless and impotent accusation that Democrats have “gone absolutely crazy.”
Getting more into the meat of Trump’s whining, he makes the completely unsupported assertion that Democrats want him to stop doing daily presidential news conferences. That isn’t possible since he has never done such things. What he’s doing now is hijacking the daily Coronavirus Task Force press briefings. And those he should stop doing because he has absolutely nothing to contribute. He has no experience or knowledge of the medical or public health issues at hand. He simply reads a bunch of data (that could be done by an intern), then spends the rest of the time lying about imaginary accomplishments, paying tribute to himself, and yelling at journalists. This is only wasting the time of the experts standing behind him and depriving the public of useful information.
During Tuesday’s briefing Trump dispensed numerous falsehoods including his ridiculous claim of rampant fraud in mail-in voting. Not only is there nearly zero such fraud, Trump himself voted with a mail-in ballot this year. He also continued to offer potentially deadly medical advice by promoting the use of an unapproved drug that can have severe side effects, and that he has a financial interest in. And he spent several minutes attacking the U.S. Postal Service for not not charging Amazon more to ship products (which would just be passed on to consumers). He claimed that companies like Amazon were bankrupting the Postal Service, when the truth is that they are supporting it.
Trump’s assertion that Democrats complained that he didn’t do enough news conferences before is wholly fictional. There were complaints about the White House press secretary discontinuing daily briefings, but no one was looking for more propaganda and bombast from Trump. And no one has ever suggested that he not be allowed to do any briefings. That’s just more of Trump’s invented victimhood. As for his press secretary, he just fired one and replaced her with an even less qualified spokes shill that he poached from his campaign operation.
Eventually, Trump got something right. There has been an effort by clear thinking people who have respect for democracy to “shame” the media into rethinking their coverage of the Task Force briefings. Due to Trump’s flagrant torrent of lies, and his thinly disguised efforts to transform the briefings into de facto campaign events for his 2020 reelection, many people in politics, the press and the public believe the media should alter its coverage. They need to show more deference to truth telling and not allow themselves to be exploited by Trump for his personal political ambitions. The press loses nothing by delaying their reports a few minutes so that what they air can be reviewed for accuracy and relevance. The press is not obligated to air Trump’s lies unchallenged, or to give him free airtime for his campaign.
Finally, Trump demonstrated his pitifully poor comprehension skills by bragging about the ratings for these briefings. He thinks that high ratings are an indication of his popularity. That is decidedly untrue. There are at least as many Trump opponents as supporters who are tuning in to get information about COVID-19. But in Trump’s cartoon brain all that matters is what feeds his voracious ego: ratings and what’s in it for him. He even expressed his disappointment that he wasn’t making a buck off the briefings. Referring to the press, he sarcastically lamented that “sadly, they get it $FREE.”
What is driving this twantrum is Trump’s innate fear of being exposed as the pathological liar that he is. And in an attempt to cut the criticism off at the pass, he is now actually confessing to his deliberate falsehoods. When asked about his prior dismissals of the real threat that COVID-19 represented, he told reporters (video below) that “You have to understand, I’m a cheerleader for this country.” In other words, he lied in order to pacify people with a phony rosy scenario, rather than tell them the more difficult truth, which would have saved lives. And that is as clear a dereliction of presidential leadership as you’ll ever see.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
"I'm a cheerleader for this country," Trump says, claiming that is the reason he continued to publicly downplay the threat of a pandemic, even as he had memos warning about the possibility of a massive death toll from coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/1Q6BSHVEEG
— The American Independent (@AmerIndependent) April 7, 2020