by William H. Freivogel
My nephew, a lawyer, said recently that President Trump is hilarious. The press falls right into Trump’s trap by taking him too seriously, he said.
A few days later, my tennis partner, another lawyer, said the same thing. The press takes Trump’s tweets too literally, he said.
Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, wrote last week that the press has easily fallen into its assigned role in the Trump reality show by playing the part of the Evil Empire.
And last Friday, the conservative commentator on NPR’s weekly review of the news defended one of the worst weeks of the Trump presidency with peals of laughter. John Phillips of the Orange County Register said cheerfully, “I love the speeches. And I love the Twitter feed because it’s just this never-ending festivious airing of the grievances. And look…He ran as a disruptor. He ran as a guy who was going to…drain the swamp.” http://www.npr.org/2017/08/25/546186247/week-in-politics-trump-takes-swipe-at-fellow-republicans
Maybe Trump would seem funny, in some crude way, if he were still a blowhard TV celebrity rather than a blowhard president occupying the most serious job on the planet — the one that protects nuclear codes and the values of what Reagan called a Shining City upon a Hill.
But last week Trump continued his unfunny war on the press, the rule of law and the principle of equality that American patriots declared as the reason to fight the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
He did all of these things in one stroke by pardoning former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been found guilty of criminal contempt after he ignored the Bill of Rights, defied the federal courts, persecuted Latinos and arrested journalists. https://www.propublica.org/article/sheriff-joe-arpaio-trump-pardon-aside-reporters-long-rap-sheet
Pardoning Arpaio is an apt reminder of Trump’s glaring deficiencies as president. Arpaio:
- joined Trump in the racist, untrue birther movement to delegitimize the nation’s first black president.
- joined Trump in calling for a border wall to keep out Mexicans.
- ignored the orders of federal courts telling the sheriff to stop violating the Constitution by rounding up Latinos on nothing more than suspicion. Trump saw nothing wrong with the way Sheriff Joe did his job.
Former Sen. John C. Danforth, the founder of the modern Republican Party in Missouri, put Trump in his place in a Washington Post op-ed last week, saying Trump is the antithesis of the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln.
Danforth wrote, “We are the party of Abraham Lincoln, and our founding principle is our commitment to holding the nation together… Lincoln believed that we were one nation, and he led us in a war to preserve the Union. That founding principle of the party is also a founding principle of the United States.
“Now comes Trump, who is exactly what Republicans are not…. We are the party of the Union, and he is the most divisive president in our history…. It isn’t a matter of occasional asides, or indiscreet slips of the tongue uttered at unguarded moments. Trump is always eager to tell people that that they don’t belong here, whether it’s Mexicans, Muslims, transgender people or another group. His message is, ‘You are not one of us,’ the opposite of ‘e pluribus unum.’ And when he has the opportunity to unite Americans, to inspire us, to call out the most hateful among us, the KKK and the neo-Nazis, he refuses…. Our party has been corrupted by this hateful man, and it is now in peril.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-is-exactly-what-republicans-are-not/2017/08/24/9909a320-8832-11e7-a50f-e0d4e6ec070a_story.html?utm_term=.c8dd252d1cab
Sen. Danforth is a serious man. He doesn’t seem amused.