During the last year, President Donald Trump has had one solo news conference. One.
No other president has ever had fewer in the modern era. Ronald Reagan, a man also notoriously known for trying to control the message by limiting his interaction with the press had about a half a dozen news conferences during the same time span.
Presidential supporters like to say the president has circumvented the press by talking directly to the public via his multitude of insulting, demeaning and error-ridden tweets. What he's really done is conducted a sermon through his twitter account and has avoided any accountability to the American people with that move.
For, let's be honest, it isn't just The New York Times and CNN in the press room, there are a variety of reporters from a multitude of media organizations around the world - some who view the president favorably - who are not getting to question the person they've been sent to cover.
Trump controls the message, and convinces his base he is being transparent by refusing to answer questions from the public. And, by only appearing at carefully controlled rallies, he makes it nearly impossible to speak truth to power.
Somewhere between “Covfefe” and “The Bowling Green Massacre,” probably right around the time Kellyanne Conway and others decided President Trump could reside in a nation of “alternative facts,” and definitely after Sean Spicer told us Trump’s inaugural audience was the largest in history, speaking truth to power became irrelevant to the president.
Mind you many of us still care about facts. Despite being labeled an “Enemy of the People,” and a supplier of “Fake News” most reporters I know do not gleefully attempt to manipulate reality the way the president does. If we get something wrong then we correct it. And that remains our greatest strength. That’s why you know we’re not wielding the red light sabers.
Our president, on the other hand, said something offensive about a woman’s genitalia, got caught, apologized for it and then later publicly asked if it was indeed his voice on the recording. He re-tweeted a fake anti-Muslim video and so often cites erroneous facts in his tweets, you have to wonder if he ever passed an eighth grade civics or spelling course.
He has invented, like a cornered Mafia Don, reasons to hate this country’s justice department. On networks favorable to him there are talking heads preaching a Stalinist-style purge of the FBI, the CIA and other alphabet agencies.
Trump has appointed someone who knows little about education to run the education department. A non-scientist is in the process of dismantling the EPA. A judicial nominee , Matthew Petersen, – and apparent close political ally - withdrew his name from consideration after an interrogation by a GOP member of Congress exposed the judicial nominee as lacking even the basic legal knowledge he should have as a member of the Bar.
The administration, after a year in office, has shown time again how little it care about the truth.. The recent Amtrak accident in Washington could’ve been prevented if infrastructure was kept up to speed – but not only are we woefully behind, Trump has proposed slashing some $630 million from the existing Amtrak subsidy for long distance routes and we’ve been told he has no intention – at this time – of replacing it.
The tax plan blows a $1.5 trillion hole in the U.S. deficit, but it’s going to be a great day at the races for anyone who wants to spend (and has actually received) the $1000 bonus some companies are supplying in order to bribe us into believing the tax plan will do anything other than make the richest of us richer and the poorest among us even poorer.
The members of this administration are without reservation in their manipulation of facts and events to suit their cause. Each tweet, each utterance, the continuous Nuremburg-style rallies are all an indication of how the President of the United States believes in nothing more than a theater production.
Reality has no place in an administration which on one hand wants to whine about all the perceived slights done by the media, but cares little about the racism is has fomented, the intolerance it has ignited and the divisiveness it counts on to stay in power.
Some have suggested the president isn’t a whiner – merely a bully. I consider both of those to be merely opposite sides of the same coin minted by a narcissist and propagated by those who show their fealty to our president with every waking breath.
Perhaps the whimpering, crying, mewling howling, yowling and screeching coming from the POTUS dog pen is really something other than what it seems to be.
Perhaps the rising stock market and the low jobless rate are all that matters. Civil rights, science, freedom and civil discourse are things we hold in too great of a stock when compared to our wallet.
But I would ask you to consider what it is that made this country what other nations envied and aspired to in our short but mercurial history.
We’ve never been all about gathering sweaty wads of cash. The idea that was the United States had to do with free speech, freedom of religion, and the idea that all men and women are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights - you know like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Decent healthcare and education are cornerstones to that ideal.
We were looked upon as a light by which others could see justice. Now despots use President Trump as an example to keep down a free press and line their pockets with money produced by the sweat of the brows of the lower classes. Meanwhile, the president who swore in 2016 he wouldn't have time to play golf when he became president - decrying President Obama's trips to the links - has spent a quarter of his time in office on the Back Nine at a variety of golf courses - most of them owned by The Donald.
So, how do you say you will Make America Great Again by demeaning the ideals which made us great? How do you make America great when you lie constantly? How do you protect the environment by deregulating industry? How do you make America great by demeaning immigrants, women, the LBGTQ community?
Is it all about the money?
It didn't used to be about making a killing in the stockmarket. Everyone knows once the stock market rises, it can and will just as easily fall.
A low jobless rate can give away to a high jobless rate in mere months. Then where will we be?
The GOP will throw shade while our education will continue to be in a shambles. And when things fail, there will be even more cuts to social programs and pure science - which is a fine thing if you're a climate change denier or a proponent of the Flat Earth Society, but otherwise it isn't so great.
If the president and his minions are successful, then the great people of the FBI will be long gone – and in their place will be a despotic regime decrying reality as Fake News and eager to punish anyone who thinks differently than those in power who control the means of production.
It’s called Feudalism. It’s called the Dark Ages.
It’s called a Trump administration.
And that’s truth to power.