Monday, May 06, 2024

Two Presidents at Once

How does a politician say "Donald Trump is the duly elected President of the United States of America" without saying "Donald Trump is the duly elected President of the United States of America?"

He (or she) appears on cable news and reinforces the idea that a soon-to-be major party presidential nominee who lost the previous presidential election is still and currently President of the United States of America. It is done by referring to "President Trump."

North Carolina governor Doug Burgum, reputed to be on Mr. Trump's short list for Vice President, knows how. On CNN's State of the Union, Jake Tapper asked Burgum about Trump referring to President Biden as "running a Gestapo Administration." Burgum replied in part "It might actually in some ways help President Trump because it reinforces the idea that the Biden administration is willing to use lawfare to try to attack a political opponent."

"Help(ing) President Trump" is a reference to Trump's campaign, though at other points Burgum did use "President Trump" correctly, when he was referring to Trump's record as President. Burgum's effort to elevate Trump to the presidency in the minds of voters was significantly aided by the interviewer.  Upon asking a question, Tapper noted "According to polling, a plurality of the American people think that President Trump did commit a crime when it comes to this case. And if you add in those who think it was unethical, but not illegal, it's a vast majority."

Inarguably, Trump while a candidate in 2016 paid money to Stephanie Clifford/Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about a sexual liaison. Arguably, he did so in order not to hinder his opportunity to be elected. He was not President Trump. A moment later, Tapper asked the North Carolina governor "So, just quickly, if you could, if President Trump asks you to serve as his vice president, will you say yes?"

No, Jake, the candidate wouldn't wait till after he became "President Trump" to offer the position to Burgum. It would be before he became President, while he was still a candidate and there was a President Biden. 

On Sunday's Meet the Press, another individual- Tim Scott- hoping to be tapped by Donald Trump, stated "I hope that the President will choose a person who helps the country unite and heal. I certainly expect to have a decision from President Trump in the next 60 days or so."

It's going to be difficult for "President Trump" to select anyone while Joseph Robinette Biden is in the White House. 

The South Carolina senator was asked by host Kristin Welker "You of course did vote to certify the 2020 election result and you've said, quote, 'It was not stolen.' Why would you join a ticket with someone who believes the exact opposite on this critical point?" Scott replied "well, I think we have to listen to what President Trump said and not what the reporters said that he actually said." Pressed on the point, Scott responded "Thee is clear facts here. President Trump himself said he expects this election to be fair, he expects it to be honest and he expects to win."

He added "I look forward to President Trump being the 47th president and Kristen, you can ask multiple times...." (It would have been more entertaining for Scott to state "I look forward to President Trump being President Trump"- same thing.)  

Also: "at the end of the day- so the American people, the American people will make the decision. And the decision will be..... for President Trump. That's clear;" "and I believe that President Trump will be our next president;" "I expect President Trump to win the next election and listen, I'm not going to answer your hypothetical question when in fact I believe...."; and "but there's no question that President Trump has been very clear that he wants to (sic) issue (i.e., abortion) left to the states, with three exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.


What Tim Scott wants to make clear is that he can say "President Trump" more than anyone alive. But as with Doug Burgum, it was a low-hanging fruit with the host. One of Scott's mentions was prompted by the host herself asking "What about President Trump's VP? Did it come up at all?" And Jake Tapper stated to Burgum "According to polling, a plurality of the American people think that President Trump did commit a crime when it comes to this case..."

The North Carolina governor was outdone on the "President Trump" lie by the South Carolina senator. However, Burgum gets an extra point for his "what affects them is Joe Biden's policies, the inflation that's taken 30 percent of their savings, come like a thief in the night."  Biblically literate Christians will recognize this reference from the Thessalonians 5:2, in which the Apostle Paul stated "for you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night."  And the concept is featured in the 24th chapter of Matthew. Unlike Tim Scott, Doug Burgum is a polished politician.

While Jake Tapper, Kristen Welker, and most journalists would prefer that Trump not return to the White House, they enable the GOP to frame the election largely as it wishes. Whenever a Republican politician or pundit refers to Donald Trump in his post-presidency as "President Trump," the propagandist should be reminded that it is "former President Trump." 

Dean Baker may be excessively sensitized to Machiavellian when he tweets "if we had a serious press, the stories would be about ow the party of "Jews will not replace us' is pretending to care about antisemitism. But we know the people who own and control the media will pay lower taxes with Donald Trump back in the White House."  Whether the motive is economic, as economist Baker believes it is, or it's merely a case of ineptitude, it is a case of bad journalism.

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