Trump's lackeys are very offended that their vicious policies make them unpopular.
Ordinary citizens have been expressing themselves face-to-face with Trump officials with increasing frequency, sparking media hand-wringing over the "civility" of such expressions. In a new report by The Washington Post, several current and former Trump officials complained about the alleged "viciousness" of those encounters.
But in almost every case, the incidents described in the story are examples of purely legitimate political dissent. Most of them were relatively mild — and said a lot more about the Trump officials than they did about the citizens opposing them.
For example, senior Trump adviser and white supremacist Stephen Miller reacted by angrily throwing away $80 worth of his own takeout sushi after a bartender from the restaurant came outside to yell at Miller.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway recalled someone telling her she should be ashamed of herself in a grocery store, and responding with a quip.
But later in the story, Conway boasts about how she insulted a man at a Baltimore Orioles game after he told her she was "famous for all the wrong reasons." Conway, a government official, responded by calling the private citizen an "ignoramus" and taking a picture of him.
And Kellyanne Conway's husband, George, indicated that even these tales of mild woe are overblown. He told the Post that his wife "has been getting a harder time from me about working for this administration than walking down the street."
Other supposed examples of incivility against Trump administration officials that the Post cited include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Mike Pence's DC neighbors displaying rainbow flags.
- Steve Bannon being called a "piece of trash" at a bookstore.
- Demonstrators peacefully assembling outside Jared Kushner's and Ivanka Trump's home on two occasions.
- Sarah Huckabee Sanders being politely asked to leave a restaurant. (She retaliated by targeting the establishment by name on her government Twitter account)
- Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen being interrupted, while dining at a Mexican restaurant, with chants of "Shame!"
- Now-former EPA chief Scott Pruitt being confronted during dinner and urged to resign by a schoolteacher.
Former Trump communications director Anthony Scaramucci described these mild incidents of free expression or civil disobedience as "viciousness" that is "burning people out."
Trump ally Newt Gingrich even said that Trump officials should have Americans who speak out against them prosecuted:
“You file charges and you press them,” Gingrich said. “We have no reason to tolerate barbarians trying to impose totalitarian behavior by sheer force, and we have every right to defend ourselves.”
But most importantly, all of this hand-wringing about "civility" deliberately obscures the fact that these expressions of dissent are responses to unprecedented viciousness by Trump and his minions.
Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon are white supremacists who have driven Trump's racist and cruel immigration policies.
Kirstjen Nielsen ripped children away from their parents, then lied about it.
Pruitt was forced to resign in disgrace from the EPA, but only after spending over a year attacking the environment.
Pence is so anti-gay, Trump "joked" during a discussion of LGBTQ rights that Pence "wants to hang them all."
Conway once threatened to perform an abortion on feminists "with a gun."
The Washington Post is not alone in trying to drum up sympathy for Trumpists who are experiencing backlash. The New York Times published a much-derided piece this weekend in which Trump supporter Alan Dershowitz complained about being shunned by liberals on Martha's Vineyard, comparing it to "McCarthyism."
Trump and his flunkies are trying to play the victim, but Americans can plainly see that this administration is the vicious one — not the people who are standing up to it.
Media outlets like The Washington Post and The New York Times should stop falling for this act.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.