After a (relatively) quiet week for the Trump Administration, things exploded today, and looks to get worse going into the weekend.
This morning, Mr. Trump went on a Twitter rant on the FBI and the media. The cause was from news reports saying that Chief of Staff Reince Priebus asked the FBI to squash reports on Russian contacts within the Trump Campaign. The FBI declined, which lead to the leaks to the press, and the outing of the conversation. As news came out, there was a lot of blowback on the White House. The last time the White House tried to interfere with the FBI process, it was during the Watergate scandal, and they also refused at that time. The fact that the Trump/Russia connection is still under investigation, it would not be the best interest of the FBI, or for fair minded justice to say anything until they have concrete information one way or the other.
Insiders say that the FBI currently believes that the Times Article on the Trump/Russian connections are “overblown” but could not confirm whether the campaign spoke with “Russians” or “Russian agents.” This is the big point here. While the FBI is still investigating, the White House wants them to squash the media’s discussion of it. That is not the FBI’s job, and Priebus has crossed several lines in speaking with t he FBI in this way.
So, while that is happening, and the White House is in damage control, Trump goes to Twitter, lighting gasoline on the situation.
Then CPAC, the Conservative convention that is running this weekend. Yesterday, Chief Strategist Steve Bannon said that the Administration is in a constant battle to “deconstruct the Administrative state” wanting to undo the system of taxes, regulations,and trade agreements in order to…. do what? I am not sure. It reeks of isolationism and authoritarianism. Then Today, Trump calling the Media “Enemy of the People” and declaring a war on the media.
Then, a few hours later, the White House changed it Press Conference into a “gaggle” and proceeded to exclude CNN, NYT, Politico, The Hill, BBC and others from the get together. The White House Correspondence Association and numerous media outlets have condemned the move, but this is just the beginning.
I feel like the latest news stories have hit a nerve with the Administration and those who are in control are trying to shut out dissent and pushback as much as possible. Note that the so-called “Adults” in the Administration: Tillerson, Mattis are silent right now and whatever influence people thought they would have is pretty much non-existent. The “Wear” is real here and if they are freezing out their biggest critics, and allowing such news agencies as Brietbart and One America News to have full access, it screams “government media” and instituting a propaganda wing to the White House.
And let’s nip this in the bud. This has never happened. Even during the Obama Administration and Fox News, nothing of this level has happened, and conflating an event in 2009 to the wholesale exclusion of major media outlets because of their critical coverage (and questions) is damaging to our democracy.
The Deconstruction that Mr. Bannon is touting is Deconstruction of the barriers that allow companies and government to exploit the people, exploit the environment, and make us less safe. From allowing environmental regulations be chopped so that companies do not need to report what they are dumping, or putting into the air. They also are now allowing Telecoms to not have to report on internet speeds and service for companies who have customer bases under 250,000. This means that companies can throttle your service and never have to report it, giving people less protection, and chips away at net neutrality. It was also announced just a couple of hours ago that Privacy rules implemented for ISPs under the Obama Administration not go into effect making people data less private. The argument was that they go further than the FTC regulations on websites… but hey, those are likely going to go anyhow (remember, Mr. Trump has said 75% or more of the Regulations have to go.)
Deconstructing the safeguards of our country have truly landed us in the Gilded Age 2.0, where the Corporation can exploit its workers, treat workers terribly, profits outweigh compassion, that if you are not rich, you are inconsequential. There are a reason we have regulations, and while yes, it is always good to review and streamline, that is not what the Trump Administration is doing. Deconstruction is not what we need. In a time when we need to make sure that as a species we don’t destroy our own habitat, having someone who has no care for the next 20 years only looking at his and his friends bottom line is intolerable.
So when will the tipping point be? Things are escalating, and it is only a matter of time before something breaks. Congressmen and women are facing fiercer and fiercer reactions at Town Halls, calls for investigations, Mr. Trump’s Taxes, and ever more scruitiny into Trumps administration means that Mr. Trump will eventually step over a hard red line that will cause people to desert him, I just don’t know when that will be, and if the Right accept his “war on the media,” then things are going to get much worse before they get better.