Flying by the balloon-like seat of his pants, Trump’s presidency has few constants. His reaction to Ivanka refusing to repeat her father’s claim that the news media are America’s real enemy reveals at least a couple of them.
Earlier this week, CNN reporter Jim Acosta treated the American public to a little taste of the abuse he routinely receives from the rabid fans of Donald Trump, who calls the press “the enemy of the American people”:
Just a sample of the sad scene we faced at the Trump rally in Tampa. I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt. We should not treat our fellow Americans this way. The press is not the enemy. pic.twitter.com/IhSRw5Ui3R
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 1, 2018
The riled-up Trump supporters called Acosta a liar, flicked him off, and chanted “CNN sucks!” because they love civility.
Then, earlier today, Ivanka Trump was asked if she agreed with her father that the news media are, in fact, the enemy of the American people:
.@IvankaTrump: “No. I do not feel that the media is the enemy of the people.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) August 2, 2018
After feigning a bit of surprise at the question, she responded:
“No, I do not. I’ve certainly received my fair share of reporting on me personally that I know not to be fully accurate, so I have some sensitivity around why people have concerns and gripe, especially when they’re sort of targeted. But no, I do not feel that the media is the enemy of the people.”
Ok, reporters are human and make mistakes (and correct the record when they do so), but the mistakes are unintentional and not part of some malicious “mainstream media plot.” Good to know!
At today’s White House press briefing, Jim Acosta used Ivanka Trump’s response to give Sarah Huckabee Sanders an opportunity to say the administration at large doesn’t echo the president’s batsh*t rambling. She declined, and instead filibustered by reading from a grossly misleading prepared statement:
President Trump has repeatedly called the press the “enemy of the people.”
CNN reporter Jim Acosta has had enough: pic.twitter.com/L8QkJLIiyT
— Vox (@voxdotcom) August 2, 2018
“It’s ironic, Jim, that not only you and the media attack the president for his rhetoric when they frequently lower the level of conversation in this country,” Sanders said. “The media has attacked me personally on a number of occasions,” she continued, making reference to Michelle Wolf’s White House Correspondent’s Association stand-up routine where she criticized Sanders, not for her appearance, but for her repeated lying.
But Acosta didn’t come to play. “For the sake of this room, the people who are in this room, this democracy, this country, all the people around the world are watching what you’re saying, Sarah,” he said. “The president of the United States should not refer to us as the enemy of the people.”
“I appreciate your passion,” Sanders replied. “I share it. I’ve addressed this question. I’ve addressed my personal feelings. I’m here to speak on behalf of the president. He’s made his comments clear.”
Acosta, to his credit, left the briefing:
But later, Trump caught wind that his favorite child Ivanka had stepped a toe outside the family’s official line and did a little “record correcting” of his own:
Way to throw Ivanka under the bus! It’s pretty interesting he characterizes her as his “daughter” instead of using her official title of “Senior Advisor to the President of the United States.” Also, it’s kinda weird that known cherisher-of-women Donald Trump would put words in a female advisor’s mouth.
In the past, Trump has let Ivanka serve as a kind of human Instagram filter, mellowing his harsh policies by presenting them through a soft glow. She essentially did that today in the same interview, where she said that family separation was, indeed, a “low point” (for her) but still managed to place the blame for her father’s self-created family separation crisis on migrant parents. Trump didn’t seem to mind the rose-gold polish she put on that steaming turd.
And let’s not forget he did the same thing when his wife Melania wore a jacket with “I really Don’t Care, Do U?” written on the back during her visit to the internment camps filled with migrant children. Melania’s spokeswoman released a statement saying, “It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message.”
But Trump disagreed, taking it as another opportunity to lash out at the media:
Trump’s tweets aren’t just glaring warning lights of misogyny, they’re also a sign that he fervently believes in his war on the free press. Along with his disdain for women, his racism, and his embarrassing genuflection to Putin, Trump’s war on reality is another rock-solid constant in Trump’s increasingly slapdash presidency. And, yes, it’s dangerous.