“OK, everybody! Remember, the ultimate goal here is to take down the president!”
America crossed the line of political debate Nov. 9, 2016, when political rhetoric became 100 percent about one person: Donald Trump. Since then, we have ceased to debate positions, policies and party politics. All debate became and continues to be for or against President Trump personally.
Any news, real or fake, automatically becomes a litmus test targeting Trump’s critics and supporters. Any news worth reporting or debating is always about Trump. And the goal of all news, apparently, is to take Trump out of the White House.
Take April Ryan’s question at a daily White House briefing last week, for example. Ryan, who covers the White House for American Urban Radio and is a CNN contributor, asked Sarah Sanders, White House press secretary, “With all of this turmoil, particularly this last week, has the president at any time thought about stepping down before or now?” Ryan merely articulated what “reporters” — and I use that term very loosely — nuance every day in those White House briefings. Reporters routinely couch their questions in innuendo with words like “chaos,” “no plan” and “turmoil.” They use false premises to ask erroneous questions.
This week, news outlets will venerate James Comey, disgraced former director of the FBI, who is following in the footsteps of Michael Wolff, forgotten author of a 2018 best seller, “Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House.” How soon we forget. Comey’s book, “A Higher Loyalty,” is being released this week atop several bestseller lists. Comey’s book may last longer in the public eye than Wolff’s book, though that’s not really saying much.
Pre-released excerpts of Comey’s book include such politically astute observations as, “(Trump’s) face appeared slightly orange with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assumed he placed small tanning goggles, and impressively coiffed, bright blonde hair, which upon close inspection looked to be all his….” This is mild compared with other excerpts about completely unsubstantiated allegations regarding Trump in Russia.
In a moment of self-reflection, Comey perhaps reveals some of his reasoning that utterly torpedoes any claim his supporters may have made about his prowess as a lawyer. You may remember when, a scant 11 days before the election, Comey unilaterally disclosed the FBI was reviewing more of Hillary Clinton’s emails. Oops! That disclosure became one of the top 100 reasons Clinton claims she lost the election.
Trying to justify this disclosure, Comey writes, “It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls. But I don’t know.”
Yes, “political polling” played a major role in Comey’s judgment.
In the 17 months since the election, news outlets have hashed and rehashed scandal after scandal in Obama’s law enforcement and intelligence communities. Take your pick: nobody knew or nobody did anything about Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 election. It doesn’t really matter who knew, or didn’t know, since all the blame has been placed on Trump and the Russians. Remember the goal: “Take down the president!”
Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville. Contact him at PJandMe2@gmail.com.