Trump Wants ‘Retribution’ Against Comedy Shows

The political media (and, to be fair, the American public) has grown numb to the president’s outbursts and outrageous remarks. It’s difficult as a writer to continue to sound the alarm over Trump’s erosion of norms and decency, his descent into ever more authoritarian rhetoric, because we’ve heard it all before. The think pieces have all been written a million times. In any case, none of us have the power to stop him.

At the very least, the historical record should show that we attempted to raise a red flag at every step downward to the valley of hell. And today is a fairly important milestone: the president of the United States just demanded “retribution” against comedy shows that he found offensive, and again declared the media the “enemy of the people.” That phrase has clear fascist historical precedents.

It’s comforting to note that Trump usually says this sort of thing when he feels most hard pressed, and that these outrages are primarily a form of psychological defense against impending accountability.

But it doesn’t matter. This is the president of the United States. These are his words. These are his demands. They are more fitting for an insecure mafia boss than a head of state.

The people with the power to stop him, namely Republicans in the Senate, refuse to do so even though his unfitness for office is as clear as day. So all we can do is put up another signpost, another warning of alarm and dismay so that hopefully we will learn from it in the future and never allow it to happen again.

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David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.