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All the thugs, threats and lies money can buy for The Former Guy
Trump is abusing the media's need for ratings, and someone is going to get hurt
I would never have known or cared that former President Donald Trump had a big rally in Texas, where plenty of people will still line up to hear him babble on about stolen elections, immigration, and what he’d do if he was president (again). But the media, desperate for “more Trump” to bolster flagging ratings, reported it as if it mattered. And in a Kafkaesque twist, now it really does matter.
Trump issued a statement through his website that simultaneously admitted he really thought Mike Pence could simply overturn the election results, and also attacked Congress, where bipartisan support is building to fix the flawed electoral law that Trump tried to exploit.
Specifically, Trump attacked Sen. Susan Collins, who was then peppered with questions from the media on whether she’d support Trump in 2024. “Very unlikely,” she answered (which is not definitive enough for the reporters who write “So, why would she not be definitive and say something like: ‘For the same reasons I voted to impeach then-President Trump after January 6, I cannot support him if he runs for president in two years' time’?”)
The Former Guy also dangled potential pardons for 1/6 rioters. So let’s see: By 2024, a bunch of these folks would have served at least a year in federal prison, and they’d all be Trump’s ground troops, who already faced the police and rioted in the halls of Congress. Draw your own conclusions.
If the media didn’t publicize these comments and then use them to hammer other Republicans, maybe Trump wouldn’t be emboldened to say more, or at least we wouldn’t have to hear it. At the Texas rally, Trump threatened repeats of the 1/6 events in other cities, specifically Atlanta among them. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported:
“If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protests we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt,” Trump said.
I take this very seriously, as does Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. Willis is about to empanel a special grand jury to deal with the charges that Trump broke Georgia law by pressuring Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 12,000 votes for him.
Threatening “the biggest protests” at the same time he claimed “prosecutorial misconduct” to a crowd of self-selected Trump followers is a recipe for cooking up confrontation and even violence. Now, to be certain, I do think many of the investigations against Trump are politically motivated fishing expeditions, especially going after his aging CFO for what in New York City amounts to white collar jaywalking. But the Georgia charges Fani Willis is investigating might stick, and land Trump in Fulton County jail.
Willis, a Democrat, has appeared to slow-walk the investigation, and seems to be on track to have it culminate right around the November 2022 mid-terms (how convenient). She’s been criticized for that by Raffensperger, a Republican. The January 6th select committee in Congress is also investigating the Georgia events.
For Trump to threaten potential violence by large crowds is dangerous, and serious. Willis wrote a letter asking the FBI to help with security, the AJC reported.
In a Sunday letter to J.C. Hacker, the head of the bureau’s Atlanta field office, Willis urged the FBI to conduct a risk assessment of the Fulton County Courthouse and Government Center and provide other protective resources such as federal agents and intelligence. She said that security concerns were “escalated” by comments Trump made during an event in Texas over the weekend.
“We must work together to keep the public safe and ensure that we do not have a tragedy in Atlanta similar to what happened at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021,” she told Hacker in the letter, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Is this an overreaction? I don’t think so, given that large protest crowds will draw counter protesters, and could turn ugly very quickly. I wouldn’t want to be a member of that special grand jury (and I live in Fulton County, pray for me).
Here’s my point. If you take nothing else away, remember this. Trump rose on the shoulders of the same media that hates him. His stardom with The Apprentice had Jeff Zucker, who later ran CNN, all over it. Trump spent hours chatting with Joe Scarborough on MSNBC before Scarborough turned anti-Trump. His events were covered by all media because of stunts like expelling Univision reporter Jorge Ramos from a press conference in 2015.
The media was addicted to Trump rallies, despite his cruel mistreatment of them. (I went to a Trump rally in Macon, Georgia, with a press pass. We were corralled in a pen like cattle and not allowed to walk around for the entirety of the event. During his speech Trump mocked the media.) They did it for ratings.
Now with Trump out of office, the same media is still addicted, and still publicizing Trump’s most heinous statements. Millions got to hear what Trump said in Texas, because they made it news. There might now be violence in Atlanta, Washington D.C. and New York City because of the ongoing investigations, what they will inevitably find. If Trump is convicted, or even has to face a jury, there will be violence, I think.
It’s time to move beyond this, but if the media isn’t willing to stop giving Trump air time, then I don’t think it’s going to end well.
Vaccines and Rogan redux
I’ll have more to say about the anti-mandate, anti-vaccine, and rabid libertarians, but for now, consider this. If Trump won a second term, getting vaccinated would be the mark of a MAGA hat wearer, skepticism would be a duty, Joe Rogan would be the left’s hero for taking a skeptical stand, and The Rock would still defend Rogan.
Remember, before the 2020 election, Kamala Harris wouldn’t commit to taking “Trump’s” vaccine. The New York Times and other newspapers rushed to the fainting couches at how Trump was rushing the vaccines without proper testing. Everyone said it would be mid-2022 before a vaccine was approved. Well, that part is true, but the emergency approvals saved many lives.
You can look at it as “glass half full” because without the vaccines, maybe a million more Americans would be dead of COVID-19. You can look at it as “glass half empty” because after the election, Trump supporters became very anti-vaccine. I think if Trump had won, the anti-vaxxers would be on the Democrat side, though I admit the blue-state anti-vaxxers would probably be a smaller group. If you look at it that way, electing Trump would have saved lives (I don’t think you should necessarily look at it that way, but it’s one viewpoint).
Like I said, I’ll have more to write about this later.
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