Trump escalates attacks on US institutions

One of Donald Trump’s aims has been to reduce the public’s confidence in American institutions which have not just buttressed but are the reason America is America — freedom of the press and belief in our election system, for two.

In just about a week he escalated his game in those two areas by pulling the credentials of CNN’s Jim Accosta, and threatening to pull others, and by attacking the vote-counting still underway in Florida, where he enlisted to his cause that state’s governor who is also the GOP candidate for senator in the not-finished count.

The unfinished counts include ballots filed by military men and women serving overseas whose deadline for voting was a few days after the election. By stopping the counting on Election Night, as Trump has called for, he would disenfranchise those serving us overseas, in addition to not following the Florida laws which require recounts when certain closeness of the vote occurs. And right around when the country celebrated Veterans’ Day.

Whether people support Trump or not, these two escalating attacks in his war on America cannot be supported. CNN this morning filed suit to get Accosta’s credential back. They will succeed even if that case goes to the Supreme Court, which I’m sure Trump goes to bed at night thinking he has in his pocket thanks to his two appointees to the court. He’s in for a rude awakening, I believe, because a 10-year-old could decide the cases based on our Constitution and laws in those two instances.

CNN, of course, is correct in going to court to get the return of the credentials. Whether people like Accosta’s style or not he asks the right questions, questions that irk Trump to the point of pulling his White House pass, which is unprecedented.

Calls for the White House press corps to protest that action by boycotting the “daily” press briefing are wrong. The press corps is there to report on the White House, whether they are lied to in those briefings or not. Their job is to report the results of the briefing and to point out any lies or errors. The craft of fact-checking has never been in such demand as it is the last two or three years with a candidate and now President who may lie more often than he tells the truth (the fact-checkers say that in effect because Trump has gone from lying about eight times a day to more than 30).

The attacks on our democratic election system are equally dangerous and cause for great alarm. The still-contested races in Florida (governor, senator, secretary of the state) are very close — not a surprise in Florida based on its track record. Its electorate splits literally down the middle. Trump, though, proclaimed victory Election Night largely on the appearance that his party gained several seats in the Senate. Those victories are peeling away, and Trump can’t have that. There has to be a reason “he” is being rejected and the reason cannot be him.

He tried to get the Arizona GOP senate candidate and state party types to protest a la Florida but they refused. And to the Republican Senate candidate’s credit, she gave gracious concession remarks yesterday when the counting ended and she went from winning to losing.

The biggest question in the Florida count is in Broward County, scene of the great Gore-Bush main event in 2000. That is a predominantly Democratic county so it’s no great surprise to most logical thinkers anyway that the Democrats will pick up votes there. But likely not enough votes to pull out wins.

With all the damning and complaining by Trump and Scott, most political observers will tell you that the likely winners in Florida are Republican Scott for Senate and the Republican for governor, just as it appeared on Election Night. They are close to their opponents but too far ahead to lose, based on trends of past elections.

As to Scott and Trump’s claims of phony ballots being involved not only has there been no proof at all provided by them, the governor’s own department of law has said it has seen no evidence.

In a related development — meaning lying — Donald Trump Jr., who learned politics form his father, tweeted a story from a Miami TV station exclaiming there were 200,000 unqualified voters who voted in Florida!!

Trump Jr’s tweet:

“Amazing, but not shocking at all anymore. Nearly 200,000 Florida Voters May Not Be Citizens … via @nbc6

Well, first, the story was from 2012 and they were talking about the 2012 elections, which was pointed out in an editor’s note on top of the posted story. Other corrections were in that Editor’s Note which read:

“The initial list of 180,000 names was whittled to 2,625, according to the Florida Department of State. The state then checked a federal database and stated it found 207 noncitizens on the rolls (not necessarily voting but on the rolls). That list was sent to county election supervisors to check and it also turned out to contain errors. An Aug. 1, 2012, state elections document showed only 85 noncitizens were ultimately removed from the rolls out of a total of about 12 million voters at that time.”

Like father like son, and the son has his sights set on a political future too! Joy.

Former deputy White House press secretary (Reagan and Bush 41) and former head of communications at Republican Natl Committee. My blog:

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