|Photo from the Slate article on today's press conference, which it called "a stunning display of Trump’s ability to lie, exaggerate, obfuscate, and mislead the public while insisting that it was actually the media who were doing all of those things."|
An excerpt from "The National Nightmare Has Just Begun" by Gabriel Schoenfeld, a Republican political advisor, writing for USA Today:
It is not too soon to tally the damage wreaked so far by our 45th president.
Donald Trump's rampage through key institutions is an obvious place to begin. The executive branch of our federal government has never run like clockwork, but in peace or wartime it has rarely been this chaotic. In effect if not by title, the White House now has three competing chiefs of staff, each with walk-in privileges to the Oval Office and each playing our ignorant and impressionable president as if he were a piano. The disarray has radiated outward to the agencies to the nation and even to the world. The botched formulation and execution of Trump’s travel ban, and the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn via surprise trapdoor, are of course Exhibits A and B.
The judicial branch has suffered a blow of a different sort, with the president blasting Judge James Robart, appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate unopposed, as a “so-called judge.” Dismissal by the president of the judiciary’s role as a check and balance on his own power could derail our democracy. In a tweet, he has already, and pre-emptively, assigned blame for the next terror attack to Robart and our entire court system. We have been duly warned: Should such an attack come, it will be a moment of maximum danger not only for our safety but also foor our freedom.
Then we have the Republican Party, which, following Trump’s siren song, is committing moral-intellectual suicide. Defenders of religious liberty have turned into proponents of a backdoor Muslim ban. The banner of free trade has been dropped for protectionism. Budgetary thrift has given way to profligacy. So many things the GOP stood for a mere two years ago — good character and ethical conduct, a clear-eyed view of Russia — have been replaced by their opposite. To the party’s leaders, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, political principles are nothing. Political power is all. In their apologetics for the billionaire blockhead at America’s helm, never has hypocrisy been more perfectly distilled.
Our free press remains intact; indeed, it has been rising to the occasion as it has come under assault from a president who, even as he relentlessly castigates it, stays glued to its coverage, obsessing over every criticism and slight. But though the news media are performing their critical function, they are losing — along with our entire society — a more fundamental battle.
Here we come to damage of a different sort: The destruction of honesty, one of democracy’s most fundamental norms.
Trump and his team lie as naturally as leaves grow on trees. America is being polarized along a new axis of division. On one side are dupes, possibly numbering in the millions, who accept the president’s preposterous fabrications as gospel. On the other side are those appalled by the dawn of post-modern America in which truth is supplanted by “alternative facts,” the euphemism employed by Kellyanne Conway, the president’s most brazen flack, for the projectile falsehoods that spurt from her mouth. As every aspiring authoritarian leader grasps — and Trump is no exception — a world without truth is a world without rules, without justice and without the possibility of democratic deliberation.
And in today's press conference at the White House, Trump was caught red-handed dispensing "fake news" himself - kudos to NBC's Peter Alexander for calling him out:
Just for your information fellas, here are the electoral college results for all elections since 1932. The three number columns show, respectively, the total electoral votes, the winner's share, and the runner-up's share.
|From Wikipedia. Click to enlarge.|
Update, 7:55 pm: Shep Smith of Fox News, which for many years has been the propaganda mill of the Republican Party, incensed at the way Trump tried deflect attention from his staff's undercover dealings with Russian intelligence by branding all reporters as purveyors of fake news, lashed out at Trump on camera after today's press conference: “No sir. We are not fools for asking the question and we demand to know the answer to this question. You owe this to the American people.”