For those handful of Americans who held to the thought that Donald J. Trump at some point would become kinder and gentler, last Wednesday should have convinced you otherwise.
Trump told a reporter the other night that among his “regrets” is that he hasn’t been “softer” in his approach to his public image.
Two days later, he held an hour-and-a-half press conference and:
- Threatened House Democrats with investigating them if they investigated him;
- Ordered a female reporter who is black to “sit down” when she rose to ask a question but he had hadn’t called on her;
- Told another female reporter who is black that her question to him was racially motivated, which it was not;
- Not only mistreated another male reporter as he asked difficult questions but later had that reporter’s White House pass pulled temporarily – something that to my recollection has never occurred before;
- Fired his Attorney General as the Department of Justice’s special counsel reportedly is getting ready to announce more indictments (possibly of Trump’s son);
- Installed a loyalist as Attorney General temporarily – who is on record saying that special counsel has overstepped his bounds;
- And, finally, had the White House put out a doctored video of the incident purportedly showing the CNN reporter “laying hands on” the intern who tried to take away the microphone despite dozens of witnesses who said he never touched her. And, after watching the video many times myself, he did not touch her but did ‘accost’ her by saying “excuse me, ma’am.” Still the White House doctored a video that shows he touched her despite video evidence to the contrary.
In fact, while some may have quarrels with that reporter’s, CNN’s Jim Acosta, hardline approach to this administration, in my watching him in briefings, while his questions are often not just difficult but quite accusatory, he has never been anything but polite with the press secretary or the president. And, he was equally polite to that intern grasping at the microphone and the White House guard who took away his pass (Acosta recorded that experience. I watched it too.). He even thanked the guard for his service.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you didn’t know it before, you saw it last week in public view. This President is not a democratic president, he is an authoritarian and is dangerous to this country’s values and laws. Freedom of the press is not an assumed right, it is written in the First Amendment. Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn’t resign as AG, he was fired, as Sessions made clear in his letter which began “At your (Trump’s) request,” he was submitting his resignation. Of course Trump did not directly fire Sessions. He had his chief of staff do it.
Trump believes the Attorney General is his attorney. The AG is the peoples’ attorney, not the President’s. He put in a Trump loyalist temporarily to fill that job (and take over the special counsel’s investigation), but he will nominate an equally malleable man or woman to take Sessions’ place permanently. That will open doors likely to many more odd applications of the AG’s role and the Constitution’s protections. He will, of course, expect the two men he appointed to the Court to back him up if and when matters come to them.
Trump keeps referring to the special counsel’s probe as being “into whether there was collusion” and into him – it is not. It is an investigation into Russia’s mucking in our election in 2016. As some proof, multiple indictments have been filed against Russian individuals and countries not for contacts with Trump or his people, but into their hacking into our election. The special counsel’s mandate is to, also, follow any other leads that may come up that could be illegal. The counsel can follow on his own or can parcel them out to U.S. attorneys, as he has.
All this after Trump said in his post-election press conference that the Midterms result was a big win for him (not the party, him!) when it was far from a big win for either. The Democrats took over the House, which is a major change for his second two years in the White House, increased governorships and won a couple hundred state legislative seats. Now, he will not only be challenged in how he conducts the nation’s business but he will be investigated by Democrats with subpoena power.
He can continue to bully reporters, foes, friends and other countries but he won’t be as free to get away with it. His diehard supporters likely will think that is just the establishment in Washington picking on him more. But they will be holding this President accountable, as any president should be.🔷
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(This piece was originally published on The Screaming Moderate.)