The media and Democrats are preparing a narrative aimed at removing President Donald Trump from office.
The narrative is subtle, for now, and even includes some murmurings from Republicans.
But it’s truly there. The most obvious narrative builder for removal is, no surprise, CNN.
On Sunday, CNN's media analyst, Brian Stelter, wondered why the topic isn't addressed by more journalists.
"Since President Trump's inauguration, there's been a lot of tiptoeing going on," Stelter said, opening his Sunday show. "His actions have been described as unpresidential, unhinged, and sometimes even crazy. That word crazy can be interpreted several different ways. It gets said more in private than it gets said on TV."
It didn't seem to occur to Stelter that journalists say things away from TV because they don't have the facts. He pressed on.
"This brings me back to the questions that are tough to ask out loud on national television," he said. "Is the president of the United States suffering from some sort of illness? Is he racist? Is he fit to be commander in chief? And one more, is it time for objective journalists — I don't mean opinion folks, I mean down-the-middle journalists — to address these questions head-on, and how do they do it?"
Carl Bernstein, the former Washington Post reporter and Watergate journalist, then chimed in on Stelter's show, "Reliable Sources." Bernstein went a little bit further, suggesting a military coup.
"We keep hearing about these military leaders keeping the president from doing dangerous things," said Bernstein. "And I would say as somebody who spent 50 years as a reporter around Washington that this is an unprecedented situation, a dangerous situation such as we've never seen for an extended period of time ... And I would say that if we are dependent on the military leaders in this country, four or five of them, to protect us from the president of the United States, then that, too, is a story."
It's a narrative that is building, ostensibly because the media and Democrats cannot believe Trump said "both sides" were responsible for violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 15. Trump's take was not the politically correct viewpoint, and he has been roundly denounced since making the remarks during a press conference at Trump Tower.
Now, the goal is apparently to build a crescendo of political criticisms that cause Republicans to abandon Trump, and to consider impeachment or use of the 25th Amendment, which would allow the vice president and eight Cabinet members to remove the president from duties.
Jack Moore of GQ wrote on Monday that he doesn't like the idea of removing Trump using the 25th Amendment. Instead, he wants a standard impeachment.
"[Trump] is dangerous and is only a few firings away from doing even worse things," Moore wrote. "They should act while they still can and begin impeachment proceedings."
To paraphrase Ronald Reagan: Here they go again.
The speculation about Trump's fitness for office is not new. Democrats and media have tried for months to make the case that Trump is a Russian stooge. Now they have moved on to their second-favorite smear: Trump is mentally ill.
But the seeds for this smear have been around for a while. In February, the once-respected New Republic, a magazine for moderate Democrats, suggested Trump could have neurosyphilis, which causes a variety of mental symptoms. The author, Dr. Steven Beutler, notes Trump wouldn't be alone in being diagnosed with neurosyphilis by people who have never met the patient.
"Many others were suspected of having it, including Hitler, Mussolini, and Ivan the Terrible," he wrote.
Robert Kaufman, a professor of public policy at Pepperdine University, said the suggestions that Trump is mentally unfit is par for the course.
"We have an increasingly nasty habit of criminalizing the behavior of our adversaries or defaming their sanity rather than respect honest policy differences until the evidence proves otherwise," said Kaufman, emailing LifeZette. "Since 1968, Democrats have been very sore losers when Republicans win the presidency. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan: Here they go again."
If there is a diagnosis needed, it could be needed for the media and other sharp Trump critics. The apparent diagnosis? Mass hysteria.
Don Luskin of Trend Macrolytics wrote to his clients on Friday morning about the fallout from Trump's Tuesday remarks about Charlottesville: "We think it's a clinical case of mass hysteria – and one of the strangest we've ever seen."
Just as in the case of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he said, the media turned attention not to the storm's devastation, but how then-President George W. Bush reacted to Katrina. The consensus was that Bush did not react quickly enough to Katrina's aftermath.
"It's not about the event itself," Luskin wrote. "It's about President Donald Trump's reaction to the event, because he is the most famous and fascinating man who has ever lived, and what we've called the Trump Infamy Ecosystem profits from exploiting that strange fact."
(photo credit, article image: nrkbeta, Flickr)
Last Modified: August 22, 2017, 6:57 am