Last November Joe Biden decisively won the presidential. He drew over eight million more votes than the loser Donald Trump, and a sweeping electoral college victory of 306 to 232. But despite that conclusive result, Trump spent months spewing incendiary allegations of an allegedly “stolen” election. His tirades were unarguably responsible for the deadly riots that occurred at the Capitol on January 6th.
Now, even after widespread condemnation of Trump and his insurrectionist brigades, even after Biden’s inauguration, Trump and his Republican cult disciples continue to pretend that Biden is an illegitimate president and that Trump is the rightful head of state. And naturally, Fox News is enabling that delusional hero worship. Sean Hannity, tucker Carlson, and other Fox hosts routinely refer to “President” Trump, while dismissively calling the actual president “Biden” or simply “Joe.” It’s a deliberate attempt to belittle President Biden, while feeding their audience’s fantasy that Trump remains on what they must believe is his throne.
Case in point: On Thursday Fox’s chief political “news” anchor, Bret Baier, interviewed the Senate’s Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, and engaged in this bizarre exchange:
McConnell: There’s no incumbent. And fun for you all to cover.
Baier: If the President was the Party’s nominee, would you support him?
McConnell: The nominee of the Party? Absolutely!
McConnell says he would support Trump if he was the Republican nominee pic.twitter.com/l0hRgpcmM8
— Acyn (@Acyn) February 25, 2021
First of all, notice that McConnell, without challenge, said that in the 2024 presidential election there would be “no incumbent.” That would only be true if Biden chooses not to run for reelection. But there’s no way that McConnell know that now.
More to the point, notice that Baier’s question addresses whether McConnell would support “the President” if he were the Party’s nominee. Well, the President is Joe Biden. While etiquette would permit the use of “President Trump,” the meaning of “the President” is always the one currently in office. So was Baier asking if McConnell would support Biden if he decided to run as a Republican? Of course not. Baier was just casually – and dishonestly – referring to Trump as the current president. And McConnell didn’t blink in replying as if he thought the same thing.
This isn’t a trivial rhetorical glitch. They are both pretending that Trump is still president and that Biden is a villainous usurper. It is the same sort of purposeful deceit that produced the violence in D.C. by Trumpian loyalists seeking to restore him to his rightful place by any means necessary.
It should also be noted that McConnell’s expression of support for Trump were he the GOP nominee in 2024 is an astonishing admission that there are absolutely no consequences for the treasonous behavior of Trump. And that’s not just the opinion of disgruntled Democrats. After voting to acquit Trump in the Senate Impeachment hearing, McConnell actually admitted that Trump was guilty because “He did not do his job. He didn’t take steps so federal law could be faithfully executed and order restored.” McConnell elaborated saying that…
“There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. and having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth.”
That’s the guy for whom McConnell just declared his support. And the support for Trump by McConnell, along with a frightful majority of Weak-minded, obedient, Trump-obsessed Republicans, almost ensures more of the hostilities that Trump incited. It forgives his transgressions and enables his most dangerous followers among the racist, seditionist, anti-democratic hordes who continue to articulate threats to civil society.
And that’s what’s wrong with today’s Republican Party. It’s a personality driven cult. It is totally devoid of principle or ethics. It is addicted to the lies and propaganda of Fox News. It is wholly devoted to the maintenance of power. And nothing – not the interests of the people, or the welfare of the nation, or sustaining the Constitution and democracy – nothing else matters to them.
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How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.