Previous Republican presidents have complained about press coverage. Trump calls the news media “the Enemy of the People,” a phrase that blood-soaked totalitarian regimes have used to justify assassinations and purges. Don’t be comforted by GOP apologists who say Trump is just using over-the-top rhetoric and doesn’t really mean it. As recently as Sunday, he tweeted that, “The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People because they know it’s TRUE.” He called the media “very dangerous and sick!”
If you ask House Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, they will of course disavow such sentiments. And then, la-di-da, they’ll go back to pretending this is a normal presidency rather than a runaway train.
Brace yourselves, because it’s all going to get worse.
The walls are closing in
It doesn’t take a degree in psychology to see that Trump is increasingly frantic about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. On Sunday, shortly after the “Enemy of the People” tweet, Trump added this:
“Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics — and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!”
It is safe to surmise that Trump feels the walls closing in. And if Democrats seize control of the House in November, he will face a lineup of committee chairmen, armed with subpoena power, who are determined to do their constitutional duty of holding the administration accountable.
So Trump reportedly plans to spend as much time as possible on the campaign trail, desperately trying to stoke enough fear, resentment and anger among the GOP base to produce a big turnout that saves the House majority. What a surprise: Trump intends to make the election all about Trump.
It worked for those guys in the photo, the ones who’d rather be Russians than Democrats. The Republican Party has betrayed all of its history, all of its hallowed ideals, and bet its future on the corrosive power of Trump’s scorched-earth megalomania. GOP candidates richly deserve to lose.