Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunday Week in Review

What else did Donald Trump do this week?

He continued his trend of taking credit for new jobs that were in the works before he took office. This week Intel's CEO made an Oval Office appearance with Trump to announce the opening of an Arizona factory. This is part of long-term plans that Intel first announced (to similar presidential fanfare) back in 2011.

He talked a great deal about terrorism, both personally and through his spokespersons. Trump tends to view terrorism in terms of its political effect, and seems to be pursuing three strategies simultaneously that he believes will allow him to weather any future terrorist attack against the United States.

  1. Declare that the media is ignoring terrorism. Once again, Trump's source for this allegation seems to be InfoWars, a site that believes that the U.S. government was behind 9/11 and the Sandy Hook school shooting was a government hoax.
  2. Refuse to acknowledge politically inconvenient terrorism. The list of 78 terror attacks that the Trump administration circulated (all of which were covered by the American press) included many attacks in active war zones with no fatalities, or crimes that do not appear to have been terrorism. It did not include events like the recent murders in a Quebec mosque by a white self-proclaimed Trump supporter, or the murder of nine African-American churchgoers by the white nationalist Dylann Roof. Recruitment in the United States for white nationalist and other far-right ideologies dwarfs that of radical Islamic groups.
  3. Repeatedly refer to non-existent terrorism. It was revealed this week that Kellyanne Conway's infamous "slip of the tongue" regarding the "Bowling Green massacre" was one she'd made several times recently. Press Secretary Sean Spicer also "misspoke" three times in one week as he referred to foreign terrorist attacks in Atlanta. There has not been any terorrism in Atlanta since Eric Rudolph, an American citizen affiliated with the Christian Identity movement, bombed the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996 and a lesbian bar in 1997.

Finally, he continued his campaign to delegitimize the entire judicial branch, declaring on Tuesday that "some things are law and some things are common sense" and his blanket immigration bans were the latter. In support of those bans, he unwittingly tweeted out a reference to a legal blog article that called the bans "invidious" and the result of "incompetent malevolence." This appears to be another example of Trump's habit of live-tweeting the cable news shows he watches during the day.

Why are these things bad?

  • It's wrong to take credit for things you didn't do.
  • Presidents should not deliberately mislead Americans about what terrorism has and hasn't happened.
  • The entire system of American government rests on the equal authority of its three branches. 
  • It's bad if a president is reacting impulsively to whatever TV talk program happens to be on.