Sunday, September 6, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He tried to "cancel" someone whose views hurt his feelings.

Trump spent a fourth consecutive day today trying to push back against reports that he repeatedly disparaged American troops, including those who gave their lives in defense of the United States, as "suckers" for volunteering and "losers" for being captured or killed. 

His many tweets and retweets on the subject today included turning a spotlight on the part-owner of the Atlantic magazine, which published Jeffrey Goldberg's multiply-sourced exposé of what Trump says about the American military behind its back.

In other words, Trump was trying to pressure the owners of the Atlantic to fire someone whose views he disagrees with.

This is what Trump calls "cancel culture" when other people do it—or when they just don't like what he likes. In a speech earlier this summer, he accused all his political enemies (and only his political enemies) of being guilty of it:

One of their political weapons is “Cancel Culture” — driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters, and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees.  This is the very definition of totalitarianism, and it is completely alien to our culture and our values, and it has absolutely no place in the United States of America. This attack on our liberty, our magnificent liberty, must be stopped, and it will be stopped very quickly.  We will expose this dangerous movement, protect our nation’s children, end this radical assault, and preserve our beloved American way of life. ...If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished.

Trump went on to say that such tactics were "designed to overthrow the American Revolution" and "destroy civilization." 

Goldberg is just one of several people in the past week alone who Trump has demanded be "censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished." He made similar "cancellation" threats against MSNBC host Joy Reid, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, and Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin. (Griffin's offense was failing to show "total submission" to Trump's claims about Goldberg's article, by independently confirming several of his claims.)

Among many others, Trump has also called for similar "cancellations" against most national political reporters and news anchors, athletes who knelt for the national anthem or engaged in Black Lives Matter protests, and American businesses whose leaders publicly disagreed with his policies, from giant industrial concerns like U.S. Steel to a small family restaurant in central Virginia.

So what?

  • Doing bad things you accuse other people of is the definition of hypocrisy.
  • Presidents can debate or refute or ignore their critics, but it's un-American to try to silence them.
  • Trying to speak for someone's dead husband to manipulate them into doing what you want is a shitty thing to do.