Donald Trump was on fire over the weekend.
On Saturday evening, we reluctantly documented a series of outlandish tweets from the president, who spent his day angrily tilting at a number of windmills.
Trump took aim at General Motors, for instance, insisting the company make amends for last year’s decision to cut jobs and shutter plants as part of broad strategic rethink. He also accused Google of working for the PLA – or something.
Perhaps most unnerving, though, was his broadside against John McCain, who Trump maligned for the late senator’s role in elevating the Steele dossier and for voting against an effort to repeal the ACA.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, Trump shared a video produced by the White House which shows immigrants climbing over a fence in night vision, set to ominous music, an absurd effort to crank up the xenophobia and bolster the “invasion” narrative just a day after a white supremacist slaughtered 50 Muslims in New Zealand citing, among other things, an “invasion” of France by nonwhites.
You’re reminded that on Friday, while issuing the first veto of his presidency in order to override a bipartisan resolution blocking his border emergency, Trump downplayed the rise of white nationalism as follows:
The murder of more than four dozen innocent Muslims in their place of worship on Friday came just days after Fox News’s Jeanine Pirro said the following about Ihan Omar, whose contention that the pro-Israel lobby is buying influence on Capitol Hill caused an outcry from those looking for an excuse to criticize the freshman sensation:
Needless to say, that is so laughably vile – so overtly insane – that it would barely have a place on Alex Jones’s InfoWars, let alone on cable news.
Just to drive home how utterly inexcusable that is, compare Pirro to Omar:
That’s quite the contrast, no?
Of course Pirro is a cartoon character. Everybody with any sense knows she’s simply part and parcel of the Fox propaganda profit machine and can thus be written off as such.
But as we’ve been keen to note on any number of occasions over the last two years, the network’s viewers (a group that includes Donald Trump) don’t understand that. They don’t understand that they aren’t really consuming “news” or even “opinion” on Fox. Pirro’s wild Islamophobic rant is indicative of a strategy that involves being crazy enough to give the network plausible deniability (i.e., “Well, it’s clearly just entertainment and nobody in their right mind would take this seriously”) but just “serious” enough to ensure that the portion of the American electorate that’s susceptible to propaganda is duped into believing that people like Pirro and Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity are “news” (as opposed to actors on what amounts to a racist version of Sesame Street).
Let me just reiterate this for any readers who might be inclined to take seriously what airs on Fox: It isn’t real. Period. And importantly, the network knows that even if you don’t. The only people who believe it are the viewers.
That Pirro segment, in addition to being more Islamophobic than a Klan rally, contains multiple references to Democrats implicitly countenancing nationalism. But Donald Trump literally, unabashedly and explicitly ran on a nationalist platform. He is a nationalist.
In any case, the national conscious occasionally reaches a breaking point with Fox and the proximity of Pirro’s Ilhan Omar rant to the New Zealand massacre was apparently too much, because Fox has suspended “Judge” Jeanine whose show didn’t air last night.
“Fox did not announce the suspension publicly [and] the network declined to confirm or deny that Pirro has been suspended”, CNN said Sunday, adding that “there is no word on whether Pirro’s show will return next week.”
CNN’s source says Pirro has not been fired or at least there’s “no indication” that she’s been dismissed as of now.
Well, as you might imagine, Trump is furious.
“The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country”, the president tweeted Sunday, on the way to claiming that the media has “all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well.”
According to Trump, Pirro isn’t in hot water because she went on national television and unleashed a disgusting anti-Muslim rant for the ages, but rather because her ratings are too good. Here’s Trump:
Fox must stay strong and fight back with vigor. Stop working soooo hard on being politically correct, which will only bring you down, and continue to fight for our Country. The losers all want what you have, don’t give it to them. Be strong & prosper, be weak & die!
Stay true to the people that got you there. Keep fighting for Tucker, and fight hard for @JudgeJeanine. Your competitors are jealous – they all want what you’ve got – NUMBER ONE. Don’t hand it to them on a silver platter. They can’t beat you, you can only beat yourselves!
He also called on the network to “bring back Pirro”.
This is another one of those times when it’s hard to fathom how a sitting US president could come out with a full-throated defense of someone who has done something that is objectively heinous, but that’s Trump for you.
You’re reminded that during his two-hour-long CPAC harangue, the president implicitly accused Omar of “hating America”. Here’s that clip in case you’re curious as to whether the White House endorses Pirro’s message:
During the same Sunday Twitter rant, Trump suggested the FCC should shut down Saturday Night Live. He’ll claim he was joking, but he wasn’t.
Again, Trump’s defense of Pirro’s anti-Muslim tirade comes less than 48 hours after 50 Muslims were murdered by a man who called Trump “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose”.
The shooter did, however, add this caveat about the US president: “As a policy maker and leader? Dear god no”.