Toronto - In Melbourne, Florida for a rally on Saturday, US President Donald Trump gave the crowd more than they bargained with when he attempted to bolster support for his immigration policies by speaking of a terrorist attack in Sweden that never happened, according to CTV News.
Toronto – In Melbourne, Florida for a rally on Saturday, US President Donald Trump gave the crowd more than they bargained with when he attempted to bolster support for his immigration policies by speaking of a terrorist attack in Sweden that never happened, according to CTV News.
As a rally, it had everything the Trump devotee could possibly have wanted. As a Trump Administration “reset” it was a bit of a head-scratcher. US President Donald Trump’s Florida love-in seemed to deliver everything proponents and opponents wanted.
For the fans, there was the usual laundry list of promises on repealing Obamacare, redesigning his travel ban, stimulating jobs and insulting mainstream media, all in the name of his “truly great movement.” He claimed the White House was running “so smoothly,” counter to reports from the “fake media.” He restated his promise for a wall along the Mexico border, not downgraded to a fence, declaring “We don’t give up. We never give up.”
For his critics, however, he delivered a special, if unintended, gift. Defending his immigration policies and upcoming revamped travel ban, he began an intense history of recent terror attacks. Curiously though, he began with the surprising story of a terrorist attack in Sweden on Friday night. Yes, Sweden. As beleaguered mainstream reporters scrambled to check their sources, worried they had missed the biggest story of the day, it soon became clear that this was another Trump red herring. In fact, it was the third such misspeak by the Trump team in just one month in office.
The reactions came in fast and furious, social media exploding in a barrage of Trump-directed mockery. Perhaps the most curious social media post was a tweet originating from Sweden’s former Prime Minister, Carl Bildt, “Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound.”
If nothing else, the gaff presented journalists with a quandry. It has not turned out to be an easy time for journalists under Trump’s administration. In a report by CTV News, Washington Post reporter, Adam Entous said “It’s quite a scary time for us as journalists.” He explained that “We as journalists increasingly take precautions to try to protect our sources and to protect ourselves, could have an impact to make it harder for us to do our jobs.” He went on to speak about the paranoia being felt by himself and his peers, and certainly for Trump staffers. This is a time that is unprecedented in America. “It’s quite scary for us as journalists to be in the middle of it.”
With the Trump administration vigorously declaring it will root out each and every leak, calling them “illegal” and even “treasonous,” critics and analysts are left wondering how the White House will accomplish the deed, what measures will be introduced to stem the seemingly endless supply of classified information making its way into public domain.
Still though, there are some journalists for whom the way ahead seems quite clear. Iconic Watergate journalist, Carl Bernstein, is fighting back using Trump’s favoured form of communication. When Trump tweeted to America on Friday that mainstream media was “the enemy of the American people,” Bernstein took to twitter to answer him in short order. “The most dangerous “enemy of the people” is presidential lying-always. Attacks on press by @realDonaldTrump more treacherous than Nixon’s,” he said.
The same day the rally was being held, Republican Senator and known critic of the President, John McCain, was taping an appearance on NBC’s Sunday political program Meet the Press. When asked about the rift widening between the Trump administration and the media, McCain compared the situation to a dictator consolidating his position by shutting down the media. “The fact is,” McCain said, “We need you. We need a free press. We must have it. It’s vital.”
Meet the Press host, Chuck Todd, went on to ask the senator to explain his point of view further. “If you want to preserve democracy as we know it,” McCain continued, “you have to have a free and many times adversarial press. And without it I’m afraid we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started.”
Emphasizing that he was not suggesting that Trump was trying to be a dictator, McCain stressed that it is important for the American people to learn some of the more terrible lessons from history. “They [dictators] start by suppressing free press, in other words, a consolidation of power-when you look at history, the first thing dictators do is shut down the press.”