There is no gentle way to break this. A new Axios/SurveyMonkey online poll shows conclusively that the vast majority of Republicans are now no longer reachable after they resoundingly approved of president Trump’s handling of his press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helskini:
Trump’s handling of the press conference was so objectively bad that even Fox News contributors laid into the president, including Abby Huntsman of Trump’s favorite show “Fox and Friends:
No negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus.
— Abby Huntsman (@HuntsmanAbby) July 16, 2018
“At their joint press conference, President Putin was calculated and in control,” wrote Fox contributor Douglass E. Schoon.
“Conversely, President Trump seemed to lack authority, praising Putin when he should have been condemning him, and ceding opportunities to confront Putin on his most egregious actions of the past decade – including meddling in the 2016 election and the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.” Neil Cavuto called the press conference “disgusting”, and Shep Smith went even further calling Trump’s performance “Shameful. Disgraceful. Treasonous.”
It is worth remembering Trump’s exact words in front of Putin:
“They said they think it’s Russia; I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia,” the president said. “I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
“I have great confidence in my intelligence people,” he continued. “But I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
Why then, do 79% of Republicans believe Trump did a fine job? The only rational explanation is that the majority of Republicans are now officially unreachable and beholden to a dangerous cult of personality. There is no conceivable way that any rational person could think Trump handled the press conference well, so it stands to reason that these people have lost their rational minds.
I argued today that the only way to defeat Trumpism is to burn it to the ground, to obliterate the movement and finish it once and for all. It is not a conclusion I came to lightly, but when data like this comes to light, it is abundantly clear that there can be no other way.
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.