Excerpted from a longer piece by Brent Budowsky for The Hill
On Tuesday night in Arizona, in addition to insulting both Republican senators from Arizona, President Trump yet again attacked the free press. Not long ago, Trump described the free press as the enemy of the people.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) responded at the time by suggesting that dictatorships start when authoritarian politicians attack the free press.
Retired four-star Adm. William McRaven, the chancellor of the University of Texas and a former Navy Seal who commanded American special operations forces that killed Osama bin Laden, responded by saying Trump’s attacks against the press constitute a significant threat to American democracy.
McCain, McRaven and countless others who have condemned Trump’s attacks against the free press are absolutely right. It is not the free press’ fault that not one major piece of legislation promoted by Trump has been been passed by the Republican Congress in the first seven months of his presidency.
It is not free press’ fault that Trump repeatedly attacks a growing list of Republican senators who raise serious questions about his competence, judgment and fitness for office. Nor is it the free press’ fault that Trump keeps escalating his feud with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whose support is essential if Trump will ever achieve passage of significant legislation in Congress.
Trump is losing his war against the free press by a landslide. His approval ratings are lower than any president in the seventh month of a presidency. Trump is losing his war against the free press because the more facts that are reported by the press, the more the antipathy against Trump rises from the citizens of the nation.
The facts of Trump’s words and deeds, not the reporting of those facts by the free press, are defeating Trump in the battle for support from the American people.
Trump’s false statements, not the media that fact-checks those statements, have led to his sweeping disapproval from American voters.
In Arizona on Tuesday, Trump again attacked the free press, and in doing so, he reminded the majority of voters who disapprove of him why they yearn for the post-Trump era in American politics.