It's been quite a week for the leader of the Free World and the Twitter champion of free speech. Jim McArdle reports.
The mad dog (Cartoon by Terry Wynne)
LOOK, I’m not even going to touch the Don Jr thing, except in passing. No, I’m moving straight on to this week when normal service was resumed, after an uncharacteristically quiet few days from the Twitter President.
There was, mind you, last Saturday’s unqualified support for the young’un:
My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2017
Fact check: Trump’s misleading defense of his son - Trump emphasized that an attorney who met with his eldest so... pic.twitter.com/XTWGON3JrJ— United Resistance (@UniReEditor) July 14, 2017
After that, nothing really until yesterday when Trump conceded the possibility there was some Russian meddling — but definitely not by Putin. I’ll get to that.
If someone had said to you a year ago that you’d be reading headlines such as we’ve witnessed in the last 12 (Christ!) months you’d have called them a looney. Don’t believe me? Here, have a look.
Let’s start with an old favourite from last October:
Early look at tomorrow's front page— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) October 7, 2016
What Trump said he liked to do to attractive women: "GRAB THEM BY THE P---Y" https://t.co/HPZdvyep1p pic.twitter.com/cYd9IRB4sP
Then there was Trump’s early response to the first reports of Russian meddling:
Trump: hackers could be Russia, China, or a "guy sitting on their bed who weighs 400 pounds." pic.twitter.com/KZUJsJkwXO— Mashable News (@MashableNews) September 27, 2016
But then things started to get serious:
Deputy attorney general appoints special counsel to oversee probe of Russian interference in election https://t.co/VRTOVTFii3#MarchForTruth— Holly O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) May 17, 2017
Or did they?
Trump Told Russians That Firing ‘Nut Job’ Comey Eased Pressure From Investigation, via @nytimes https://t.co/pXwAA9WbtK— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) May 20, 2017
That rang a bell for me:
Remember this?— Errol Louis (@errollouis) July 12, 2017
House majority leader to colleagues in 2016: ‘I think Putin pays’ Trump - The Washington Post https://t.co/zAGhv8FR4t
Then we had an ingenious change of tack, fingering Obama for it all:
Trump Admits to Russia Meddling in Election: Says Obama Administration Knew But 'Did Nothing'https://t.co/ZJ2X7Umqxr pic.twitter.com/hihzCZbweU— Mannfred Nyttingnes (@MannfredNikolai) June 24, 2017
And this. I’ll leave it to you to decide which parts of the headline are accurate and which aren’t:
'Trump announces he's teaming up with Putin to fight election hacking, leaving top Republicans in disbelief'.
By now you may be thinking about that old stockmarket joke. During the GFC, a sharetrader jumps off Wall Street’s tallest skyscraper – number 40 – but now better known as, you guessed it, the Trump Building. On the way down, he’s heard to call out: “So far, so good!”
You’d have to wonder just how much worse things can get.
Well, the rest of the world worked it out a month ago:
Linda la "acogida" en Alemania 'Earth to Trump - f**k you!': How Germany reacted to Trump's climate pact withdrawal https://t.co/QAg1WCn77v pic.twitter.com/2pgaUu5RHo— Sebastian Horton (@sebashorton) June 10, 2017
And yet... and yet... there are those who keep hanging in, keep saying it can’t get any worse. Well, let the markets provide another lesson from history. The stockbrokers were saying that all the way from October 1929 until late 1932, when they were finally proven correct, many of them, alas, posthumously.
It does keep getting worse, just like the ratings for ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ after Big Arnie took over:
Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
This week, the press reported Trump, among other things, coming to his son’s defence.
Here’s the gist of it and honestly, this is the best I can do. The President, who has steadfastly and vehemently denied even the possibility of ongoing Russian meddling in the election, has agreed that there may in fact have been ongoing Russian meddling in the election. He categorically denied, however, that a meeting between his inner circle, including Donald Jr and a Kremlin-linked lawyer promising info on Hillary Clinton as part of Russia’s ongoing meddling in the election had anything to do with it.
"Zero ... [ improprieties occurred in a meeting that] ... most people would have taken.”
“As far as my son is concerned, my son is a wonderful young man. He took a meeting with a Russian lawyer, not a government lawyer, but a Russian lawyer.”
Trump’s misleading defense of his son https://t.co/2MObpLpvHB pic.twitter.com/NojYwhDCWX https://t.co/VFGqCUmRN5— olayemi (@degovnoor) July 15, 2017
Even better, it wasn’t Putin who was behind all. And he could prove it. Take it away, Mr President:
"First question - first 20, 25 minutes - I said, ‘Did you do it?’ He said, ‘No, I did not, absolutely not.’ I then asked him a second time, in a totally different way. He said, ‘Absolutely not.’"
(Yes, yes, I know. How do you ask “Did you do it?” in two completely different ways?)
Then he added these two absolute pearlers:
“Somebody did say if he [Putin] did do it, you wouldn’t have found out about it. Which is a very interesting point.”
Yes, it is an interesting point, if taken to its inevitable, logical, Trumpian conclusion. That is, if Putin had done it, we wouldn’t have found about it. So, because we did find out about it, it couldn’t have been him. QED.
Then a sign off with a flourish, speaking on behalf of the American people:
“Now, everybody agrees that there was no impact on the votes in this election, which is very important to say, but we have to make sure that nothing could ever happen to our election process."
Rough translation; any Russian meddling didn’t affect the result but we can’t have it happening again, can we?
It can’t get any worse, can it?
You can follow Jim McArdle on Twitter @JamesMcArdle7.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
Pictures of dead Russian journalists since Putin came to power. This is who Trump praises, his buddy pic.twitter.com/BrJAxxe7nw— Charles W Cobb (@cobby61) July 15, 2017
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