The Hyper-Partisan Reaction to Trump’s Comey Firing Shows How Much We All Suck
Now that the dust is finally starting to settle from President Trump’s stunning firing of then FBI Director James Comey, it seems clear that there are only two ways to logically interpret the current factual record.
- President Trump is actively engaged in a cover-up of his presidential campaign’s collusion with Russia.
- President Trump is uniquely unfit, in every possible way, to be the president of the United States.
Let’s put aside option number one for the moment, as it is impossible to currently know this for sure. (For the record, if I had to guess, I would say this allegation is NOT true, but I understand why many are convinced that it is). While many on the right have conveniently/absurdly made “Russian Collusion” the new standard for whether Trump is still worthy of our support, I would submit that what we DO know for sure should now officially sever that deal.
Putting my best pro-Trump spin possible on this mess, here is what we now know:
- Trump decided, apparently in anger, to fire an FBI Director, who he had recently praised, just as he was accelerating a serious criminal investigation into his own campaign.
- Trump has admitted that he decided to do this before he got a “recommendation” from the Justice Department, which makes it clear that he told them what conclusion he wanted justified.
- Trump cited/blamed the firing on the DOJ “recommendation” in his letter to Comey, but then on NBC admitted that this was just a lie/ruse.
- Trump fired Comey in the most disrespectful and destructive manner possible, not just to Comey personally, to the administration’s relationship with the FBI.
- Trump inexplicably took this action on a Tuesday, as opposed to a Friday, apparently oblivious to the media firestorm it would create for the entire week.
- Trump’s team, as his own tweet this morning admits, was completely unprepared to explain the decision to fire Comey and were all, including Vice President Mike Pence (remember when Mike Flynn was fired for similarly misleading Pence?), were left to look like lying idiots when Trump suddenly changed the story.
- Trump claimed, bizarrely, in his firing letter than Comey told him three times that he was not under investigation, a claim which has been seriously questioned for its veracity, and which raises huge ethical concerns as well as makes it clear that, at best, Trump has no idea what he is doing.
- Trump then has petulantly and inaccurately attacked/threatened Comey in a manner which is obviously completely improper for a president of the United States.
- Trump has done all this just after having finally gotten a healthcare bill through the House and at a critical juncture for his entire legislative agenda. He has now seriously threatened his own ability to get anything significant done, all to, at best, pursue a personal vendetta.
- Trump, rather than release his tax returns as he promised many times, produced a letter from his law firm claiming that he has no significant income from Russia. The fact that no serious person puts any credibility in such an act shows that Trump has lost the moral authority to lead the country in a time of crisis.In short, it would be almost impossible to concoct a “no casualties” scenario which could have more blatantly exposed that Trump is unfit to hold his office. And yet, just as I predicted immediately after the firing, there has been virtually 100% support from the now effectively state-run “conservative” media. Just within the last 24 hours, each of the three most pro-Trump shows on Fox News have stepped up and embarrassingly/desperately shilled for him on this.And it isn’t just the “conservative” media which has remained, so far, in lockstep with their cult leader. While the “conservative” media remain economically invested in him, it appears almost all of his voters are still emotionally invested in pretending that they weren’t duped into supporting an unqualified conman to be the most powerful person in the world.
While I am skeptical of polls taken so soon after a still-developing story breaks, the first indications are that literally almost NO ONE has changed their minds about Trump due to this fiasco. We have already reached the point of the Trump presidency where a little over a third of the public will support him no matter what he does, while a little over half will automatically oppose him. The other 10% are so clueless that they can’t even seem to form an opinion.
Effectively, this means that nothing is going to fundamentally change about the Trump presidency unless some major Republicans finally find their balls (try not to laugh, please), or the Democrats take over at least one chamber of Congress, which is currently looking quite likely. But even more distressing than the fact that we are now forced to survive as a country with this bad joke as our president, is that we now clearly live in an era where almost no one is open minded and intellectually courageous enough to change their mind about ANYTHING which actually matters.
If we all simply see EVERYTHING exclusively through the prism of what is good/bad for us personally, or for our “team,” then not only is there very little hope for our future, but it is also increasingly difficult to see how ANYTHING matters anymore. For if the events of THIS week can’t dramatically alter political or public opinion about Donald Trump, I am truly frightened to think about what kind of disaster it would take to even theoretically provoke just a semblance of sanity.
John Ziegler hosts a weekly podcast focusing on news media issues and is documentary filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZigManFreud or email him at email@example.com
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.