#DimensionTrump | #WhatTheyVotedFor
We might take a moment now and then to observe the power of narrative, and it is fair enough to acknowledge there is nothing new if we take the note from Steve Benen of msnbc:
When it comes to Donald Trump’s White House and issues related to the Nazi Holocaust, the president and his team have made some unfortunate missteps. There was, for example, the ill-advised statement honoring International Holocaust Remembrance Day in January. A month later, the West Wing had an odd quarrel with the Anne Frank Center.
Today, however, Team Trump broke new ground.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer compared Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Adolf Hitler on Tuesday, saying that even someone as “despicable” as the German dictator “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”
Asked moments later to clarify those remarks, Spicer, speaking from the White House podium, said that Hitler “was not using the gas on his own people the same way Assad used them.”
Spicer went on to say Hitler brought people into “Holocaust centers.”
All of this, of course, unfolded from the White House podium during Passover.
Part of what makes this so remarkable is how obviously wrong Spicer was. One need not be a historian to know Hitler gassed Holocaust victims. The reference to “his own people” made an unfortunate mistake worse. As for Spicer describing Nazi concentration camps as “Holocaust centers,” I honestly don’t know where to start.
To the one, it really was an awkward circumstance even more unnerving to experience, even having heard or read about it. And, yes, the Press Secretary is a particularly unfortunate example of his office; Mr. Spicer can very much seem emblematic of Trump administration incompetence. There is no chic about Cheeky Spice’s reboot of the dignity of the office. There is, however, the added gravity of just how this White House has managed to create it’s own … er … ah … question about Jews. Of course, there is also this: We should not be surprised, although back then conventional wisdom thought going after Jews to their faces like that was a bad idea.
Still, though: If we call it a Kinsley gaffe, then what truth have we just glimpsed?
It really is like they keep trying to tell us. #DimensionTrump seethes with characters just itching to be known for what they’ve done. And the problem is that a bunch of this is stuff they really, really should want to keep to themselves. And then there is President Trump himself. Or, as Benen explains:
So why on earth would Trump make such absurd, demonstrably false claims about Comey now? Probably because the president wants to lay the groundwork for future complaints: if the FBI finds evidence of collusion between Team Trump and Moscow, the president wants to be able to tell his partisan allies, “I told you Comey was on Clinton’s side.”
That wouldn’t be at all true, but Trump’s laying down a marker now, just in case.
Here is the tricky part: The idea of writing paragraphs like that while attempting to partake in that mysterious realm known as real, serious, or legitimage journalism really is strange. To wit, this is the President of the United States of America we are discussing, here. Just sayin’. Because that is also the hook that comes after the jabs. That is to say, for instance, that if the story only goes downhill after the bit about the president very nearly threatening FBI Director James Comey, the inchoate conspiracy theory about the Bureau tanking for Hillary Clinton—aspects of which we have also heard from Roger Stone and Carter Page—is the abysmal plummet toward the manner of paragraphs a journalist ought never write, except for the fact that it does seem to be happening, and this is pretty much what we are left with. Welcome to #DimensionTrump. If anything about #WhatTheyVotedFor has come true, it is this melodramatic patina too cheap for a movie of the week. To file away under, This Isn’t Supposed To Be Happening, is not entirely a futile gesture, reminding at the very least how, sure, you know, it is true that one ought never find occasions to write such simplistic paragraphs within any context asserting serious or legitimate journalism, but it is also true that Donald Trump is president, and here we are.
These stories we tell: We must always remember they are strange.
Image notes: Top ― Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks during the 2016 Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Candidates Forum in Washington, DC, December 3, 2015. (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb) Right ― White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer attempts to demonstrate the difference between government and the Republican health care agenda during a daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., 7 March 2017. (Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters)
Benen, Steve. “As FBI probe continues, Trump says it’s ‘not too late’ to fire Comey”. msnbc. 12 April 2017.
—————. “Spicer’s Hitler analogy goes horribly awry at White House briefing”. msnbc. 11 April 2017.
Maddow, Rachel. “White House ineptitude represented in its spokesman Spicer”. The Rachel Maddow Show. msnbc.