His attempts to sell a kinder, gentler president notwithstanding, Donald Trump shows no signs of turning away from his efforts to undercut the various checks and balances to his power, including but not limited to the media, the courts and the Congress, not to mention his own foreign and domestic intelligence-gathering operations.
In his State of the Union speech, President Trump talked of unity and bipartisanship, which drew praise and engendered hope that perhaps this might extend to the media companies whose news outlets he has regulatory pilloried — and whose mergers his Justice Department is vetting. But his behind-the-scenes fundraisers belied that tone and signaled his war with the media and Democrats continues apace.
The president pretty much stuck to the script in a speech that tracked with the teleprompter’s themes of renewal, namely, “a new tide of optimism” and working together. “I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need,” he said, expressing what Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) called “a positive, optimistic message to all Americans.”
However, media outlets, thinking they might be included in that national Trump agenda, clearly have another “think” coming.
In fact, one White House official offered clarification, saying that by unity, the administration meant “unifying” around the greater opportunities as a result of job and economic growth spurred by the president’s policies — not exactly a kumbaya moment for those feeling disenfranchised.
At about the same time, the White House was talking up bipartisanship and The Washington Post was talking about expectations of less fiery rhetoric, the president and his campaign committee were continuing their unabated assault on the mainstream media.
This came before the president sent an email — which arrived on the day of the speech — telling supporters he would post their names on his campaign website during the State of the Union if they would donate a dollar to his reelection.
As part of an ongoing barrage of polls and solicitations for contributions to the president’s 2020 campaign that his PAC — and the RNC — sent out Sat., Jan. 27, Trump made it clear what he thought the state of the union was, in terms of the mainstream press. He dubbed 2017, “The Year the Media Went to War Against a President.”
In addition, Trump asked his base to take a “negative media poll and let the mainstream media know just how unprofessional and irrelevant they actually are.” That poll consisted of the single, leading question: “Has the Media been shockingly unprofessional, biased and partisan in their coverage of President Trump’s first year in office?”
And despite the State of the Union rhetoric, the president was not about to put aside his differences with the media over election reporting.
“The media did nothing but DROOL over Obama’s every move,” he said, “and now they just can’t handle the fact that President Trump won in a landslide despite being in the tank for Hillary [Clinton].”
So much for the executive branch extending an olive one.
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