One of the themes I’ve been consistently writing about is the alternate reality Donald Trump and his supporters have managed to create over the past two years. While Fox News laid the groundwork for this new, fact free dystopia where up is down, black is white, and immigrants are responsible for all of America’s woes, the Alt-Right movement took this fictional reality to completely new levels.
Trump and his administration were propelled into power by a movement that is in some ways more sophisticated than the daily Fox News/Right Talk Radio bleating about welfare queens and evil socialists who want to kill unborn babies. Breitbart.com and other sinister Alt-White cesspools created a far more intricate web of lies and untruths that has undermined the entire meaning of reality itself. Facts are no longer just facts. There are facts and “alternate facts” as Kellyanne Conway once let slip. When Donald Trump lies, it is the media’s fault for spreading #FakeNews, and no matter what you see with your own eyes, as long as enough outlets refuse to cover it, it didn’t actually happen.
It is hard to overstate the dangers of this alternate reality. It undermines the validity of the White House and is enormously destabilizing. No rational person believes anything Donald Trump says, yet the political establishment (read the GOP) refuses to say the obvious: that the emperor has no clothes, and hasn’t for a long, long time.
The latest revelation about the Trump administration’s total disregard for reality is that his son actively pursued collusion with what he believed to be the Russian government during the election in 2016 — a crime he confessed to when posting the email interaction to his twitter account. “I love it”, Trump Jr. wrote to the Russian lawyer promising government intel on Hillary Clinton.
Except of course, this wasn’t collusion because in Trumpworld, engaging with a hostile foreign government to gain opposition intel on your political opponent is simply “politics”.
While Trump Sr. remained silent for several days on the damning episode in the never ending drama of his administration, he came out with the most ardent defense of his son yet, literally condoning collusion with a foreign government if it led to good opposition intel:
Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That's politics!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 17, 2017
This astonishing admission wasn’t lost on conservative columnist David Frum, who tweeted out the following:
We have arrived at the official presidential endorsement of collusion with foreign espionage agencies against political opponents
— David Frum (@davidfrum) July 17, 2017
Just think about what would have happened if the Obama campaign had met with someone promising Chinese government intel on Mitt Romney during the 2012 election. And just imagine what would have happened if Obama had doubled down on it by claiming he would have gone to the meeting himself to get the intel because “that’s politics”. We wouldn’t just be talking about impeachment, we’d be talking jail time.
But this is the version of reality Americans are now living in — a version where the President of the United States actively condones colluding with a hostile government that has just hacked your election, and a version where impeachment is off the table because direct evidence of collusion is apparently a “nothing burger”.
The 2018 midterms can’t come soon enough.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.