If you write about politics, you figured this would be overwhelming. You knew going into it that the Trump administration would be a daily deluge of incompetence, irrationality, corruption and general surreality. You probably even assumed that no matter how bad you imagined it would be, it would actually be worse. Well, I guarantee that no matter who you are, whether you’re a chronicler of politics or merely somebody who pays attention to what’s going on around you, you had no fucking clue it was going to be this bad. This crazy. This shameful. This overwhelming, to the point where each morning it’s difficult to even begin to catalog the lies, misdeeds, and absurdities of the past several hours. Not the full day, mind you, just the past several hours — the time from when you fell asleep to when you woke up, or from when you woke up to when you desperately needed to begin drinking. Put simply, the awfulness, after just six days, is already relentless.
So, since we have to narrow it down to one mini-crisis at a time within the larger national emergency that is the Trump era, let’s do this: Donald Trump’s last two truly batshit crazy pronouncements on Twitter, fired off within just ten hours of each other, appear to both be direct responses to something he saw while watching cable television. It’s already been confirmed by White House leaks that, despite being President of the United States — a job that may very well be the most difficult and time-consuming on the planet — Trump has somehow found time to get bored and indulge his insatiable TV habit. This, as expected only because Trump is a child, leads him to inevitably tweet responses to what he’s watching on what sources say is his old, unsecured Android phone. (Just take a minute, if you will, to remember months and months and months of outrage over Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server.) It’s like Trump is your angry, racist grandfather, shouting back at Fox News from his Barcalounger, only his living room is in the White House and he’s tweeting his thoughts out to 22 million people.
On that note, last night Trump made the seismograph on every managing editor and news director’s desk jump by tweeting, “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!” Now given that the federal government is already working with Chicago law enforcement, The Chicago Sun-Times is wondering whether what Trump is talking about here is sending in the National Guard, and given Trump’s propensity for obscene overreaction, many responded by assuming he was talking about imposing martial law on the ground in an American city. But if it’s even possible, ignore the potential ramifications of what he said and concentrate on why he said it. He said it, it appears very likely, because he was watching a segment on Bill O’Reilly’s show on Fox News and felt the need to respond by threatening the full force of the United States government.
The numbers Trump cites directly parrot a story O’Reilly did last night, the latest in his ongoing series of segments designed to confirm the suspicions of his audience of resentful white old people that Barack Obama’s home city is a dystopian ghetto hellscape, because, liberal politics or something. Those statistics are, of course, wrong. According to the Chicago P.D.’s own numbers, there have been 38 homicides and 182 shootings so far in 2017. A high number, to be sure, but again, we’re not talking about how or why O’Reilly would inflate the stats, only that those inflated stats — those stats exactly — went directly from Bill O’Reilly’s lips to Donald Trump’s ears. The takeaway is that it’s almost a certainty that Trump was sitting on his ass watching Fox News around 8 o’clock last night instead of doing the important business of actually running the country.
Then we have this morning, and Trump’s thoroughly lunatic pronouncement that he would direct the government to begin a “major investigation” into “VOTER FRAUD,” following his latest baseless, bullshit, utterly nonsense claim that between three and five million people voted illegally in the presidential election and that’s what cost him the popular vote (that he totally would’ve won if he hadn’t been cheated out of it). This seems to be an almost direct response to a challenge laid down yesterday by CNN’s Jake Tapper, in a scathing opening statement on his show, The Lead. Tapper said that the Trump camp was making “empirically a stunning allegation for which the White House is providing no evidence.” He followed that up with: “And there is a reason they are providing no evidence. There is no evidence. It is not true.” Tapper then essentially dared Trump and Congress, if they really believed there was massive voter fraud, to order an investigation. The very same investigation Trump promised to order just this morning.
If you needed any more proof that Tapper’s comments woke America’s biggest toddler and sent him into a crying fit, just a few hours after the Tapper segment, Trump fired off a petty, unfathomably juvenile tweet “congratulating” Fox News for supposedly being “number one in inauguration ratings.” “They were many times higher than FAKE NEWS @CNN.” he wrote. “Public is smart!” This is one of the many things that’s positively unprecedented and unthinkable: a President of the United States singling out one private news organization for praise while calling another liars. Fox News may as well be TASS at this point (since we know that Trump is basically Putin). But aside from that, you’ll be shocked, shocked to learn that Trump’s claim was utter bullshit regardless. CNN responded to Trump’s tweet with a message directly from its communication department. It quoted the actual Nielsen numbers, which put CNN and Fox News neck-and-neck at 43 million for inauguration day — with 16.9 million more watching on CNN’s digital platforms. “Those are the facts,” the message ended succinctly.
So what we have is another example of the truth of what that horrible, unacceptable, criminal harridan Hillary Clinton once said — and, boy, thank God we dodged that bullet, America — which is that Trump can be baited with a tweet. Or in this case, a cable news segment. He has to respond when he feels he’s been slighted or challenged. He absolutely cannot help himself and he absolutely can’t let anything go, because he’s absolutely a thin-skinned, narcissistic buffoon with zero impulse control. He’s fucking nuts. He’s a bored child who has to plop himself in front of the TV to keep himself occupied, even though he has the most difficult job in the world. He takes his cues from a blowhard like Bill O’Reilly and he can’t handle being “insulted” by Jake Tapper. How is the world ever going to survive four years of someone this powerful and this insane?
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.