After a disastrous first month as president with ever-sliding poll numbers to prove it, Donald Trump once again returned to his comfort zone: the campaign trail.
Although the 2016 election has been over for months, the president still seems to find his safe, happy place whilst screaming inane falsehoods to legions of adoring fans.
Perhaps as an answer to the near-daily regime of anti-Trump rallies across the country and consistent belittling of the administration’s agenda by real news – not to mention that incredibly off-putting, weird press conference earlier this week – Trump’s obvious face-saving event held no other purpose than to remind the nation that often the loudest voice is the most powerful.
“For 45 minutes, Trump existed in a world where there were no falling approval ratings, no calls for investigations, no criticisms from fellow Republicans, no leaks, no snarky “Saturday Night Live” impersonations, no legal challenges to his authority, no critiques of his Twitter grammar and definitely no questions shouted by reporters,” wrote Washington Post reporter Jenna Johnson. “For 45 minutes, everyone had to just listen to him.”
Appearing before a crowd of roughly 9,000 in an airplane hangar in Melbourne, Florida, Donald Trump focused his anger on reporters, newspapers and news networks; generalizing them as “the dishonest media”.
“We are not going to let the fake news tell us what to do, how to live and what to believe,” he said. “We are free, independent people and we will make our own choices.”
This is the umpteenth time Trump has used the “fake news” moniker; since his election, it has risen to be the biggest jab of, for and even against his presidency – and, potentially, the most dangerous.
The president also lamented the state of domestic and foreign affairs claiming, “I and we inherited one big mess” and “we don’t win in any capacity”, despite historical records that show the exact opposite. He also preened his own self image by admiring the size of the hangar crowd and his victory over the Democratic party, which he said had suffered “the greatest defeat in the history of the country” (also not true).
Before the event was over, the crowds were further treated to the president denying reports of infighting within his administration as well as falsely claiming how judges “picked by Obama” were working to derail his Muslim travel ban.
In reality, two out of three were appointed by G.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. But those are details in which his crowd of 9,000 are not all that interested.
A ‘Fox’ in the hen house
Perhaps the most bizarre line, however, came when Trump insisted on an entirely false and made up terror-related incident in Sweden. Much like his staff’s insistence of a “Bowling Green massacre” and “Atlanta attack” as well as his own “Muslims dancing in the street after 9/11” falsehoods, the president seems to afford no effort toward fact checking while spreading rumors of anti-American sentiment.
“You look at what’s happening in Germany. You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden! Who would believe this? Sweden, they took in large numbers, they are having problems like they never thought possible. You look at what’s happening Brussels, you look at what’s happening all over the world,” Trump said.
Who would believe this, indeed; Nothing happened in Sweden on Friday night.
Trump, discussing terror, seamlessly mentions incident "last night in Sweden".
There was NO "incident" in Sweden last night. pic.twitter.com/XtcC4PRiNU
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) February 19, 2017
No. Nothing has happened here in Sweden. There has not ben any terrorist attacks here. At all. The main news right now is about Melfest. ->
— @sweden / Emmy (@sweden) February 19, 2017
What did happen, however, is that during Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight on Friday, host Tucker Carlson ran an interview with documentarian Ami Horowitz, who presented a clip from a new film documenting alleged violence committed by refugees in Sweden. The segment went on extensively about a supposed crime surge in Sweden and its links to immigrant populations, despite statistical crime rates suggesting the exact opposite.
turns out "what happened last night in Sweden" actually just means "last night I was watching Tucker Carlson talk about Sweden" pic.twitter.com/6z5pfOJ7Yv
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) February 19, 2017
Evidently, despite the president’s claims that “fake news” is rampantly trying to deny American freedoms and independence, the commander-in-chief taking policy notes from one network in particular is perfectly acceptable in lieu of proper intelligence briefings.
And this is nothing new for the president, who has repeatedly repeated talking points directly from the cable news network hours after they aired, often without deviation or additional insight.
But it doesn’t matter, does it? The words are out there, the damage is done, and this will surely not be the last campaign-style rally in the weeks and months ahead. The president continues to insist that – while a free press is the “enemy of the American people” – select few stalwarts remain as beacons of truth that he and his supporters must rally for and behind. They believe him because he keeps it just fact-free enough to not prove difficult to absorb, as his words magnify their own pre-established, misinformed views.
The cameras were present, the theme songs were recorded. People chanting “USA! USA!” to every other word is inspiring.
To his believers, truth is negligible as long as you’ve got charisma. When has that happened before?Click here for reuse options!
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