Many on the right came to terms with Donald Trump’s flaws long ago. Inherently vain and brash with a penchant for unleashing personal barbs when substantially insulted, Trump was once nothing short of a liability.
Yet, as he became the party’s most viable candidate and edged closer to the nomination, most signs pointed to the President having smoothed some of his rougher edges. It seemed that he had taken the office of the presidency as seriously as he should, exuding newfound composure and avoiding ad-hominem attacks. Instead of criticizing John McCain for being captured or military father Khizr Khan for misrepresenting Trump’s goals and policies, the President has largely taken on only those who have opened themselves up for critique, including CNN and his political opponents.
Whether pundits find the ‘fake news’ moniker offensive is irrelevant to the validity of the President’s Twitter digs. These outlets have actively slandered the president, and as public figures purporting false narratives based on their political alignments and ideology, the president has the right to defend himself, whether on Twitter or otherwise.
Sure, his thin-skinned obsession with calling out these shameless “news” outlets remains perplexing to most, but as long as Trump continues to work hard to establish the conservative agenda, most on the right are willing to forgive this uniquely Trumpian flaw as the minor issue that it has been.
However, the latest public squabble between the President and another maligned media outlet advancing the message of the left, MSNBC, represented a return to pre-nomination Donald. It marked a return to ad-hominem attacks that even his most fervent supporters cannot justify.
Pointing out the obvious, that numerous modern news outlets are transparent in their bias and unethical in their journalistic mores, is one thing. Airing an irrelevant yet highly embarrassing piece of personal information is another issue completely. It is the definition of stooping to his defamers’ level, something that Trump supporters hoped to never see him do after the McCain and Khan incidents.
Yet, he tweeted this Thursday morning, in apparent response to the endless stream of Trump-hate during the ‘Morning Joe’ timeslot, a show hosted by co-hosts/couple Joe Scarborough and Mike Brzezinski:
To begin, let’s call Morning Joe what it is. An entertainment show dealing in liberal rhetoric on a channel that has long been a running joke, both in terms of ratings and content choices. They have or currently employ the dregs of news ‘journalists’ including Al Sharpton, Piers Morgan, and Martin Bashir. Morning Joe is a show hosted by a future husband and wife, how much sincere discourse can one really expect?
The show lampoons itself.
So, citing Brzezinski’s face-lift achieves nothing beyond the President appearing childish and yet, somewhat unhinged. Such cosmetic operations are more common than not among aging media-types, yet airing the grisly details of such an operation’s outcome is far from common, especially by a current or former President.
I am not easily offended, and I often enjoy the President’s public antagonism of news outlets intent on seeing his reign end in impeachment. His tweeting, though most see it as his greatest and most inexplicable addiction, has been largely responsible for CNN and MSNBC’s status as national pariahs.
In most of his messages there has tended to be some substance. While he has never been the most articulate nor a thoughtful chooser of words, he has been able to restrain himself from resorting to personal attacks for personal attacks’ sake.
That is, until Thursday morning.
It’s obvious that the President doesn’t take criticism well, particularly when most being levied comes from a place of untruth. Trump’s apparent need to be liked, and the understandable self-defense against false accusations and portrayals, is not necessarily the worst thing. That is, until it compels a President to defy the composure that the office calls for, outing an inferior intellect who few take seriously as a journalist (Brzezinski) by alluding to her cosmetically-bloodied face.
Trump’s intended point was that Brzezinski and Scarborough, who accused Trump Thursday morning of “ruining the country”, just one of their many grievances, attacked the President on air, only to attempt to bask in his presence off-camera.
Yet, as is almost always the case when exposing a woman’s facelift and the eyesore that it was post-op, Trump’s intended point went completely unheard. This is the primary reason why most rational adults feared the emergence of this Trump, petty Trump, prior to his nomination, and even afterwards.
This momentary reversion into middle-school debate tactics has opened the door for Brzezinski, Scarborough, MSNBC commentators, the Washington Post, and other liberal outlets to accuse Trump of having slipped into mental deterioration. It’s a load of garbage, unethical, and exactly the sort of tactic one may expect from liberal pundits scorned.
Yet, for the first time in a long time, Trump supporters cannot rationally explain why he tweeted what he tweeted. And, were one to judge the President based on this interaction alone, it is fair to wonder exactly what was going through the President’s mind as he typed out “She was bleeding badly from a face-lift”, subsequently hitting the ‘Tweet’ button.
Context considered, it is clear the man is tired of being unfairly attacked by the media.
But, again, why does he pay so much attention and put so much personal stock in the words of partisan hacks? Why would the President appear to be watching MSNBC, a channel with no integrity and no informational value, on a Thursday morning?
The easy answer: vanity. An obsession with his critics, however low they fall on the integrity totem pole.
I don’t want to play arm-chair psychiatrist. I won’t follow the lead of his critics now speculating that the President is “not well”. To make such an assertion based upon one tweet is precisely why these outlets have been fairly accused of throwing journalistic standards to the wind.
But, it truly perplexes me that the President of the United States, with all his accomplishments and responsibilities- including a successful and beautiful extended family- would put so much credence in the words of idiots paid to lie for a living. And further, that President Trump would risk the composed image he has embraced since coming into office to insult Mika-effing-Brzezinski, of all people, confounds the logical mind.
For the first time since he took office- since months before the election, even- Donald Trump must own his part in this feud with the media. He must take equal, if not majority, blame for further debasing an exchange already lacking intellectual merit.
I remain confident that he is completely well in the sense that he is fit to rule. But such lashing out is not the sign of a man who is ruling well, though outside of this moment I maintain that he has, to this point, remained true in following through with most of his campaign promises.
For the first time in a while, one simply cannot defend the words of the President. Worst of all, these words did not come from a mendaciously edited video or out-of-context quote. They came from the President’s unfiltered Twitter account. I was avoiding joining the likes of Carly Fiorina and Ebenezer Scrooge, but the time has come where the pros that have come from the President’s social media obsession (CNN being outed as fraudulent, for one) can no longer outweigh the cons.
Mr. President, it’s time to shut the account down.