It must be hell working in this White House.
On Thursday, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders explained to a roomful of reporters (most of whom knew she was lying, because they actually watch news footage) and ultimately through them to the nation (most of whom knew she was lying, because they actually watch news footage), that Trump “in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence. If anything, quite the contrary.”
One of life's miracles is that Ms. Huckabee Sanders didn't implode on the spot, or that her nose didn't suddenly grow four feet long, or that her pants or skirt or whatever she was wearing at the time didn't burst into flames so incendiary that the White House press room didn't burn down. But somehow she made it through the rest of the press conference with the barest sliver of her dignity intact, though less of her soul.
It was only two days later when her boss showed as demonstrably as possible the depth of her lie. That was when Trump did the very opposite of what she had insisted, re-tweeting an edited video from 2007 of Trump fictitiously beating up WWE CEO Vince McMahon but with the CNN logo superimposed on the fake-wrestling chief's head, presenting to the disbelieving world the pathetic, infantile sight of the president of the United States supposedly battering a news network.
(It should be noted, that it has come to light that the person who created that video encouraging violence against the media -- which Trump happily re-tweeted as president of the United States -- was created by someone whose Twitter name included the word "assh*le" in his name, albeit with the letter "o" in place of the asterisk.)
There are no records of what Sarah Huckabee Sanders' reaction was, though "Well, that doesn't put my credibility in very good light now, does it?" is a possibility.
A far-better reaction, though, came from CNN itself, which released the following statement --
"It is a sad day when the President of the United States encourages violence against reporters. Clearly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied when she said the President had never done so. Instead of preparing for his first overseas trip, his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, dealing with North Korea and working on his healthcare bill, he is instead involved in juvenile behavior far below the dignity of his office. We will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his."
Well, good for them. That's nice and properly blunt. And accurate. And good for them using the "lie" word.
Another good response, competing with CNN's as Best of the Day, was the one from Republican commentator Ana Navarro, who has gotten increasingly outraged at Trump over the course of the past year, when she replied, "It is an incitement to violence. He is going to get someone killed in the media." One hopes she's deeply wrong, and that "is going to" turns out to be "risks getting," but at least she well-understands the galling and horrific danger of the matches the president has lit -- and keeps lighting and tossing into piles of dried, highly-combustible leaves.
On the other hand, if there is no public word yet from Ms. Huckabee Sanders about the Trump violence tweet, we do know the reaction from at least one White House official, who alas was too cowardly to let his or her or its name be used in a story from the RawStory news site, but who nonetheless told the reporter. "It’s rich that some of you people can never take a joke."
Ha, ha, good one.
Indeed, it seemed to have had White House officials slapping their collective knees, since another official there told RawStory, "I found it funny. Glad the President and Scavino did that." Dan Scavino is the White House Social Media Director.)
Of course it was an attempt at a joke. But this shows why "jokes" should be left to the professionals. Not politicians with a grudge to get across to incite their followers -- since telling a "joke" doesn't inherently make it funny. Or less inciting to violence. But to be fair, even if the media or other rational humans miss the hilarity, perhaps Sarah Huckabee Sanders or any White House official available will, at the very least, explain the wacky humor about violence at public figures to Rep. Steve Scalise after he gets out at the hospital.
The silence from Republican of the House and Senate about Trump's very-public tweet has been deafening, all the more so given the shooting only weeks ago of their own members, which rightly had them so outraged, sickened and saddened.
We await the day, hopefully soon, although still several months late, but better late than never (though "never" keep seeming like a craven possibility) when Republican members of the House and Senate take their oaths of office seriously and work on behalf of the United States, protecting it from a clear sociopath.
We do not wait for the day, however, when Trump himself takes his own presidential oath seriously, to "preserve, protect and defend" the Constitution, with its whole "First Amendment thing." and the country -- let alone, at the very least act like a sane, semi-mature adult -- because I believe that ship has long-since sailed.
America's Founding Fathers must be staring down with heart-wrenching revulsion at the so-called president and Republican Party this Independence Day Weekend.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor