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President Trump continues to fight off attacks from all sides: James Miller

By James Miller
Posted 2/28/17

What a difference a month makes.

Since President Donald Trump assumed office roughly a month ago, the dynamic of the presidency has changed in dramatic fashion. Under his predecessor, Barack Obama, the government ran at a seemingly ordinary pace, aided by a docile media corps who more or less supported the president’s liberal prerogatives.

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President Trump continues to fight off attacks from all sides: James Miller

Posted

What a difference a month makes.

Since President Donald Trump assumed office roughly a month ago, the dynamic of the presidency has changed in dramatic fashion. Under his predecessor, Barack Obama, the government ran at a seemingly ordinary pace, aided by a docile media corps who more or less supported the president’s liberal prerogatives.

Under Trump, the White House is bedlam. Competing staff factions, leaks about infighting, a president constantly engaged in fisticuffs with the media, the Democrats, and even members of his own party.

The press-generated panic over the refugee executive order hasn’t helped appearances. Certainly, the rollout of the decree barring refugee settlement for 120 days, including a 90-day entry ban for seven Middle Eastern countries (Syria indefinitely), was sloppy, amateurish, and a huge headache for all involved. White House senior policy advisor Stephen Miller and chief strategist Steve Bannon pushed the order to the president’s desk without proper vetting by Cabinet heads.

The result was broad language interpreted to bar hundreds of people already en route to the United States. Green-card holders already approved for entry were denied at the gate. This created some confusion at airports, but it took only a couple of days for the administration to respecify the order and unkink the knots.

And it took only a few more days for two federal courts to render the order moot, despite the president having broad powers to regulate immigration under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952.

You wouldn’t know any of that by the media’s depiction though. For reporters, the border edict was Kristallnacht times 10. Lawyers rushed to airports, only to sit on the floor waiting for nobody to request their assistance. Droves of D.C. journalists tweeted out photos of the gatherings, desperately trying to depict an epic resistance effort that was anything but.

Few legal scholars planted in front of TV cameras bothered to acknowledge precedent set for the president’s actions.

The picture painted was one of turmoil and ineptitude. But it was just another drop in the ocean of false news stories published about the president. Since Trump took the oath of office, the media have been on a deranged scavenger hunt, turning over every rock for evidence of duplicity, lawful or not.

The rush of desperation has resulted in numerous false news reports. Examples include: Claiming top brass at the State Department quit in protest of Trump, despite it being customary for political appointees to resign new administrations; lying that Trump’s two top picks for the Supreme Court set up Twitter accounts for a sort of battle royale to curry favor; spreading a false rumor that Trump told the Mexican president he planned to invade; mistakenly reporting that White House removed a bust of Martin Luther King Jr., when it was merely placed elsewhere.

Incidents like these show two things: Trump is the new Richard Nixon, and every Washington reporter harbors dreams of becoming the next Carl Bernstein or Bob Woodward.

If an adversarial press was the only thing Trump had to worry about, that would be tough enough. But the recent stepping down of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn shows that the new administration has made some very entrenched enemies.

Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general who served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under Obama, was forced into resignation over revelations that he misled Vice President Mike Pence on discussions of sanctions with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak.

The claim is almost believable, given the high value Trump puts on loyalty. But something more sinister is afoot. As reporter Eli Lake wrote in a blockbuster Bloomberg View column, “for a White House that has such a casual and opportunistic relationship with the truth, it's strange that Flynn's ‘lie’ to Pence would get him fired.” The excuse “doesn’t add up.”

Lake postulates that members of the deep state committed a “political assassination” of Flynn by leaking classified information to the media. For Lake to make a claim is astonishing. A well-connected scribe for the military-industrial complex, Lake is an earnest advocate for overseas intervention and anti-terror efforts.

But even he has trepidations about how Flynn’s removal went down. Rumors are swirling around Washington that the chief architect behind the ousting was Ben Rhodes, a former Obama security adviser.

Flynn was regarded as a threat to the preservation of the Iran nuclear deal. Rhodes, a key player in the controversial pact, likely wants to preserve his and his boss’s legacy.

Bitterly peeved Obama lackeys or not, it’s clear that intelligence officials leaked phone transcripts between Flynn and Kislyak to The Washington Post, and other communication records between Trump associates and senior Russian officials to The New York Times. Columnist Damon Linker, a consistent Trump critic, agrees with Lake that all this smells fishy. “In a less polarized context,” he writes in a recent column, “(the leaks) would be recognized immediately for what they clearly are: an effort to manipulate public opinion for the sake of achieving a desired political outcome.”

While Trump wages war with a blood-thirsty media, his own intelligence apparatus furtively undermines his authority.

The Wall Street Journal reports that intelligence agents now withhold classified information from Trump, fearing a mishandling of sensitive material. The institutional powers-that-be have never so brazenly attacked a sitting president like this.

Yet, amidst a firestorm, Trump still retains support from the people who put him in office. A recent Gallup poll shows that a majority of Americans view the president as a strong leader who keeps his promises. Ditto for a recent Rasmussen poll.

While Washington eagerly anticipates Donald Trump’s demise, the provincial class stands by him. We truly have entered the age of elite cosmopolitans vs. salt-of-the-Earth nationalists.

The future of the American government will be determined by who wins the fight. Three years and 11 months from now, we’ll crown the victor.

James E. Miller, a native of Middletown, works as a digital marketer in Northern Virginia.

trump, miller

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