Donald Trump is obsessed with all of us seeing him as he sees himself – important, triumphant, a leader, somebody important. As his first week in office has gone on, he has become increasingly frantic to portray himself as heroic, sending out Sean Spicer (twice) to humiliate himself and taking to Twitter with increasingly embarrassing results.
Today, Trump sent out the big gun – racist impresario/bully/loudmouth Steve Bannon – and to say that it went badly is an understatement of epic proportions. Legendary sportscaster Dick Enberg would definitely have rated the performance as an “oh my” -but not the good kind. The New York Times has the scoop because Bannon chose to call them to vent at:
Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s chief White House strategist, laced into the American press during an interview on Wednesday evening, arguing that news organizations had been “humiliated” by an election outcome few anticipated, and repeatedly describing the media as “the opposition party” of the current administration.
“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while,” Mr. Bannon said during a telephone call.
“I want you to quote this,” Mr. Bannon added. “The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”
* * *
During a call to discuss Sean M. Spicer, the president’s press secretary, Mr. Bannon ratcheted up the criticism, offering a broad indictment of the news media as biased against Mr. Trump and out of touch with the American public. That’s an argument familiar to readers of Breitbart and followers of Trump-friendly personalities like Sean Hannity.
“The elite media got it dead wrong, 100 percent dead wrong,” Mr. Bannon said of the election, calling it “a humiliating defeat that they will never wash away, that will always be there.”
“The mainstream media has not fired or terminated anyone associated with following our campaign,” Mr. Bannon said. “Look at the Twitter feeds of those people: they were outright activists of the Clinton campaign.” (He did not name specific reporters or editors.)
“That’s why you have no power,” Mr. Bannon added. “You were humiliated.”
* * *
Asked if he was concerned that Mr. Spicer had lost credibility with the news media, Mr. Bannon chortled. “Are you kidding me?” he said. “We think that’s a badge of honor. ‘Questioning his integrity’ — are you kidding me? The media has zero integrity, zero intelligence, and no hard work.”
“You’re the opposition party,” Mr. Bannon said. “Not the Democratic Party. You’re the opposition party. The media’s the opposition party.”
In just a few short minutes, Bannon managed to mix in pretty much every right wing racist trope about the media, up to and including repeated references to “humiliation” and the like. I’m surprised he didn’t work in a “cuck” reference – the worst insult to an alt-right racist is the notion of being cuckolded, politically if not sexually (although with some of these guys you know that’s out there too).
Bannon thinks no one can touch him. He thinks he can threaten the media and “everyone” will back him up. In fact, many of the institutional forces usually supportive of new presidents in particular have already turned on Trump and they’re not coming back.
What Bannon doesn’t realize is that his boss is over the edge. At the end of all of this, when Trump is exposed as the crazy nut job he is, nobody will care about Steve Bannon. He’ll crawlback under the rock he oozed out from under, and we will be well rid of him. For now, my reaction is simply to laugh at the pathetic, desperate guy furiously trying to accomplish a goal that is beyond not only his paltry skills but anyone else’s too: make people respect a ridiculous man who in less than a week in office has proven himself utterly unworthy of such respect.
Bye Steve. Donald’s gun is now empty. What’s he gonna do now?