Two things happened last month that, amidst the roiling, boiling sea of insanity that has become the political atmosphere around our federal government, may have been easily shrugged off by the Left and Right alike — the Left just adding to our teeth-gnashing and hand-wringing; the Right shrugging it off as yet another example of the Left looking for any reason to castigate our Commander-in-chief.
But whichever direction you lean, you should be more than concerned about it.
The first was a meeting the President took mere hours after the dismissal of FBI Chief James Comey. Even the hardline Right could look at the meeting Trump took with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov and say, “Hey, Mr. President? Ya know, ya may wanna wait a couple weeks on this one,” just to claim plausible deniability on the argument of why Trump pulled the trigger on Comey.
(It turned out that didn’t really matter, as the administration openly admitted Comey’s termination was at least in part to shut down Comey’s ongoing investigation into whether or not the Trump Campaign colluded with the Russians to interfere with the Presidential election.
“We want this to come to its conclusion, we want it to come to its conclusion with integrity,” said Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “And we think that we’ve actually, by removing Director Comey, taken steps to make that happen.”)
The meeting in and of itself was bad timing at best. But far worse was the release of photographs taken in that meeting — by Russian TASS photographers. The state-owned news outlet had its media representatives in that meeting. U.S. media was not allowed.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Our own press — something so intrinsically significant to the fabric of our nation that it was protected in the very first Amendment to the Constitution — was. Locked. Out. And we let the Russians in.
And that’s not all. On May 12, the President tweeted out intention to end daily press briefings altogether: “As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!” he tweeted. “Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future “press briefings” and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???” He echoed the statements in a later interview with Fox News.
This is maddening. Both situations are symptoms of the greater issue — no one can keep up with our President’s penchant for thoughtlessness and pathological dishonesty. The stories spin so quickly and with so little regard for truth that the people in his administration whose job it is to keep them straight — simply can’t.
And what’s worse is, tyranny withers under the glare of the spotlight. It’s only in the shadows where it takes hold, spreads, and destroys its host.
You. Me. The United States of America.
We are the host.