I started this column because there’s been a lot of goings-on in the world that really shouldn’t be happening. The last year has felt like a parallel universe or prime-time sitcom.
A lot of the weirdness has been in U.S. politics. The weird and sometimes awful news has been bipartisan, and it’s the only part of politics that has managed to achieve that noble principle.
The Republicans have authored their fair share, most of it leading back to Trump in some way. But with the DNC email leaks and Senator Al Franken mixed up in several sexual assault allegations, the Democrats don’t seem much better.
As 2017 comes to a close, there are a few final Trump moments I just want to get off my chest:
1. “Fake News Contest” Tweet
This pushed me past my tipping point, at least in recent news.
We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me). They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2017
That’s just ridiculous. I’m almost speechless. Almost. First off, Trump wants to have a contest to see which news network is the most biased against him.
That’s just ridiculous. I’m almost speechless. Almost.
First off, Trump wants to have a contest to see which news network is the most biased against him. That’s not how that works. That’s not reality.
“Plus CNN and not including Fox,” is just the icing on the already absurd cake. Here we have two of the top news networks in the United States, one that has a very obvious liberal slant but gives airtime to candidates and people from all sides, and Fox News: Trump’s Personal Propaganda Pontificator.
CNN and most of the other major news outlets don’t give “dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted” coverage of the president. They report on things he actually says and does that are not very becoming of the president. Trump’s outlook on reality seems to be what’s distorted here.
“FAKE NEWS TROPHY!” Wow, OK. If that’s the prize, I’d like to personally stack the votes in favor of this video shared on Trump’s Facebook page over the summer.
2. “Pocahontas” and the Native American Code Talkers
If you look at the video clip from this moment, you’ll see a portrait of President Andrew Jackson in the background. Jackson notoriously forced thousands of Native Americans out of their homeland, which led to at least 4,000 deaths. So President Trump honored Native American World War II veterans right in front of Jackson’s imperious stare.
This moment seemed to take a positive turn for a brief, fleeting second.
President Trump told Native American Code Talkers who served in World War II, “You were here long before any of us were here.” That’s true, Native Americans were here before anyone else. Was Trump going to apologize for what the Europeans, President Jackson and the U.S. government did to the Native American people?
Nope! Trump put his foot right back in his mouth: “Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.”
“They” is actually just Trump, and “Pocahontas” is his name for Senator Elizabeth Warren. This is just bad. Really bad. Perhaps to Trump, it’s just a lighthearted but racist joke. Kind of like one your great uncle might tell at the dinner table this holiday season while the rest of your family just shoves more turkey in their mouths to avoid the awkward silence.
But it’s not; it’s worse than that. This is the president we’re talking about, after all. He should be held to a higher standard than spouting racist pejoratives, right?
3. Anti-Muslim Retweets
Nah, that’s not how this works anymore. Donald Trump, who mostly runs his own Twitter page, took a break from his poorly written original content to retweet some videos that show people, possibly Islamic extremists, acting violently.
The videos come courtesy of Jayda Fransen’s Twitter. Fransen is the deputy leader of Britain First, a far-right fringe organization.
Whether the videos are all real or fake, what they depict and the message they send is meant to spark anti-Muslim rage. That’s the bottom line.
It’s not just weird or ridiculous. These things are worrying. Our president is trying to undermine the press, which is known as the Fourth Estate. The press is meant to hold politicians accountable, and the president can’t accept that. Our president is normalizing racist ideologies by saying them and sharing them. Just like when he didn’t wholly denounce the neo-Nazis who marched in South Carolina earlier this year, he’s sending the message that this sort of behavior and ideology is acceptable in America.
It’s no longer a weird world. It’s a scary one.
Contact the writer: [email protected]