A little over a month ago I wrote a post called “The First Amendment – A Demogogue’s Impediment” because there was at least one thing that was becoming obvious to me about Donald Trump, he detests The First Amendment!
About a week ago I made another small post called “What First Amendment?“, because there’s a possibility that the new administration will be removing the press from the White House under the guise of remodeling the briefing room. Taken out of context, this would be no big deal, but viewed under the lens of Trump’s overt feelings about the media, and its downright ominous.
Trump has always been able to do what he wants in his life. He’s had the money to entertain his whims and his appetites. His businesses have always remained in private hands, and there’s every indication that he’s done so purposely. His name is his brand, and recognition is his highest goal. While he may seem like the King of Materialism, his love of money is secondary to his need to feel important. He’s said as much when asked about his personal worth: “My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with the markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings…”
But, you see, because his businesses are private, and his persona is public, there has always been attempts by the media to get an idea as to how much Trump is definitively worth. Incidentally, he’s not as wealthy as he would have you think. In his haste to sue anyone and everyone for defamation of character, he has had to release financial information during the discovery process of some of these lawsuits. Luckily for us, people like Tim O’Brien have been willing to share what they’ve gleaned from this process.
Meanwhile, Donald has always subscribed to the belief that the truth is really all about perception. Maybe that’s why, back in 1991, he would call around to news outlets pretending to be his own publicist in order to get people talking about places Mr. Trump was going to appear. A fact that, when recently rediscovered during his presidential campaign, brought his denouncements of “the lying media” to the surface once again.
You see, Donald Trump has always seen his job as manipulating the public conversation in favor of himself and his business dealings. And anyone who dares to not take him at his word is to him, by default, a liar. And since it’s the job of the press to report to the people about their government representatives, and because of this, the very same press is naturally going to be in conflict with Trump’s perception of himself if it doesn’t dovetail with the verifiable facts.
All of this would be a joke if not for the case he has been building against the media to the American people since his campaign launched. Add to that the scant press briefings and rumored removal of any media from the current location in the White House, and it gets downright alarming.
That brings us to the present. Or more specifically, January 21, 2017, Trump’s first full day in office. It was on this day that he stood in front of the CIA Memorial Wall for people who have died in the line of duty and proceeded to bicker about the false coverage the attendance at his inauguration received from the media, calling them “…among the most dishonest human beings on Earth.” Aside from how disrespectful it is to complain about your popularity while standing in front of a symbol erected for those who have given their lives to a higher purpose, it also was just plain wrong. There is ample evidence about everything to do with any inauguration, people don’t need to make things up when the public can just look it up themselves. Donald, however, trusts that his supporters won’t do so. As long as he adds “believe me” at the end of his sentences, it should be good enough for them. Then there’s the fact that he has been loading his appearances with his own cheerleaders who are tasked with whooping, hollering, and jeering when necessary… you can see how he continues to shape the reality he wants.
Trump wanted power, and he wanted admiration. He assumed that one came with the other, and has shown he is willing to do whatever it takes to get both. But he never thought his plan through.
Trump’s desire to be the most powerful man in the world has placed him smack-dab in the middle of the most conspicuous and scrutinized place in the world, the seat of the American Presidency. He distaste for the media will get worse by the day because his lust for power has ultimately backfired, and he now finds himself surrounded by laws he can no longer neatly evade, and that require the American people and our media to question and verify every word he utters from now on. It is our civic duty to question him, and all politicians for that matter. Remember, Donald Trump works for us now.