Friday, May 19, 2017

Donald Trump longs to lock up journalists — and sooner or later he’s going to try it

As Trump told Comey, he'd love to emulate his pals Erdogan, Duterte and Putin and crack down on press freedom

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President Donald Trump had a news conference with the Colombian president on Thursday when he said, among other things, “There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can always speak for myself — and the Russians, zero.” No, those are not remarks translated into Spanish by Colombian reporters and then back again. He actually said that.
To be fair, what Trump seems to have meant was that he and his campaign had not colluded with the Russians. And for the first time he appears to have made a disclaimer that he is only speaking for himself. Still, it’s so garbled that he could have meant almost anything, including that he literally always speaks for himself and the Russians.
In the past few days, Trump’s persecution complex has reached new heights. At his commencement address to the Coast Guard Academy on Wednesday he lamented, “Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media. No politician in history — and I say this with great surety — has been treated worse or more unfairly.” He has taken to calling the Russian investigations a “witch hunt,” even going so far as to boast about it on Twitter on Thursday morning:
Naturally he thinks he’s been targeted in the biggest and greatest witch hunt ever. Apparently, he doesn’t know that there were real witch hunts where people were killed and political witch hunts that destroyed lives of many innocent people. He is certainly unaware that there were leaders who suffered at the hands of political opponents in ways that Trump in his golden palaces eating his two scoops of ice cream and extra sauce every night can only imagine.
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Trump: "No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly"
I have never seen a more whiny, petulant 70-year-old person in my life. In that one respect Donald Trump may indeed hold the title of “the greatest.”
You will notice that Trump’s main nemesis is still the press, which he has villainized since he began his recent presidential campaign. One suspects that this started out as a shtick, building on the thousands of hours of talk-radio research that his lieutenant at the time, Sam Nunberg, provided him. Beating up on the press is a staple of right-wing media and it receives a huge response from conservative crowds. But until he started the campaign Trump had always reveled in media attention and went to great lengths to draw it. In fact, he considered himself a member of the club. But over the course of time the hatred has obviously become very real and very personal. He loathes the press and considers it the source of all his problems.
Obviously, he isn’t the first president to feel this way. Richard Nixon famously kept an enemies list that included a large number of journalists. But Trump is taking this in a dangerous direction. A New York Times story about a James Comey memo rightly focused on the fact that the president may have tried to obstruct justice by taking the FBI director aside privately to ask him to let Trump’s disgraced former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, off the hook. But Trump said something else at that meeting that has received less attention, according to the Times.

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