Monday, February 6, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He denied that his advisor Steve Bannon had fooled him into giving Bannon a seat on the National Security Council.

The New York Times reported yesterday on Trump's anger that Bannon, who acts as a sort of informational filter for Trump, had not fully explained the significance of Bannon joining the NSC.

Bannon made his name as the publisher of, a website that frequently runs extremist and white nationalist content. Bannon reportedly thinks of himself as a "Leninist" in that he wants to destroy the current American political system.

In an early-morning tweet, Trump declared that "I call my own shots, largely based on an accumulation of data, and everyone knows it" He called reports to the contrary "FAKE NEWS," and said the same applied to "any negative polls." (Further evidence that Trump was reacting to the NYT story came a few hours later when he specifically accused the "failing New York Times" of "making up stories and sources.")

Why is this a bad thing?

  • It's bad if a president can be manipulated so easily by an underling.
  • It's worse if, having been manipulated, a president refuses to correct the mistake when it has implications for national security.
  • Declaring that "the people" support the regime in spite of all evidence to the contrary is what authoritarians do.