I’ve been relatively quiet lately. I’ve had some pretty horrifying things going on in my life that have captured my attention (an old friend with a daughter who has been missing for more than three weeks). Between that and some actual work I’ve needed to do at work, it’s been hard to find time for this. I also started this to write about the things I think are important, and my comfortable place was always defending things that Obama, Clinton, or some other democrat was fighting for. Now we’re in a bit of different world, and I’m on a less solid foundation. On the one hand, almost everything I’m hearing terrifies me, but I’m also aware of how silly folks on the right looked when they talked about the radical changes that Obama was making to the country. So, just to keep from getting too stale, here’s something that caught my eye today. A perfect case of illogical thinking, that is supposed to be the antithesis of this project. And it all comes from a tweet from President Donald Trump.
Here we have two tweets a couple hours apart. The first criticizing low-level leakers who will be caught and the second blasting fake news, and getting a dig in at the democrats. Before we put them together, let’s take a minute to look at each individually. “The spotlight as finally been put on the low-level leakers! They will be caught!” Just for some context, this is a tweet during a whirlwind of media coverage of potentially illegal conversations between members of Trump’s team and Russia, before Trump became president. This is likely a violation of the Logan Act, which forbids non-government citizens from negotiating with foreign governments. The illegality of it is a bit of a non-sequitur, because it’s not something that’s generally enforced, and we’ve seen examples of people doing this kind of thing before (e.g., Jimmy Carter after serving has gotten involved in all kinds of foreign relations). But Mike Flynn, Trump’s National Security Advisor resigned earlier this week over these issues, and several news organizations are reporting that he was asked to resign by the president. This came after news reports that there were intelligence community intercepts of conversations between Flynn and Russian officers and calls for more investigations into the link between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Then there’s the “FAKE NEWS” tweet. This is one of President Trump’s favorites. Calling out news he doesn’t like or that says bad things about him as “fake.” It’s been used over and over, and including something about democrats losing seems to be a good metric for how upset he is (more upset means stronger probability that democrats will be part of the tweet). I’m not sure what he means by “discredited Democrats,” but I will take it as a sign of respect that he capitalized democrats. I wouldn’t have, unless I was referring to the Democratic Party.
Now let’s look at them together. In Trump’s world, we have leakers who aren’t supposed to be sharing information with the public, and we have fake news. Is anybody else bothered by these things? Do we really have people leakings stuff, or is it all fake news? Perhaps he’s saying that they’re leaking stuff that’s being misreported by the news, but I kind of doubt that. Personally, I think Trump lives, and always has lived, in a world without critique. I think he has spent his life as he wants, grabbing women by the p***y when he wants, and he’s had the luxury of ignoring or firing or otherwise avoiding people who disagree with him, or criticize him in any meaningful way. And now he’s stuck. He’s potentially the most potent lightning rod for criticism in my lifetime, and he has an amazingly visible office. He’s not in his bubble anymore, and his bubble is crashing around him. This was how he handled things before, bad reviews were both fake and personal attacks, and the same is happening now, but he can’t escape it because his new job won’t let him.
It’s going to be a wild ride, that’s for sure. My seatbelt is securely fastened and my tray table is in the upright position. Let’s see how long this plane stays in the air.