In a column today, Washington Post political columnist Chris Cillizza writes,
“The simple fact is that Trump has never had real friends in the sense you or I think of the term. The relationship world of Trump has long been split into two groups: (1) his family and (2) people who work for him. And people who work for you are rarely your actual friends.”
This was written in the context of an article titled “The very peculiar isolation of Donald Trump.”
What’s going on here? It is definitely one more “othering” exercise from the news media, part of a concerted effort to avoid “normalizing” this President so that tactics previously regarded as unthinkable, undemocratic and unAmerican will be accepted by the public when they are used against him. The message is that this President is strange, weird. He’s not like us. He’s a monster. Today, for example, MSNBC’s Katy Tur insinuated that the President might be planning to start murdering journalists, asking a guest.
“As we know, there’s, since 2000, been a couple dozen suspicious deaths of journalists in Russia who came out against the government there.Donald Trump has made no secret about going after journalists and his distaste for any news that doesn’t agree with him here. Do you find that this is a dangerous path he is heading down?”
I was struck by Cillizza’s column because the topic is one of several upon which I wrote my honors thesis in American government. (If you are in Cambridge, Mass., you can find a copy in Widener Library.) Cillizza’s statement made me realize, for the first time, really: “Ah! There’s at least one aspect of his personality that is typical of American Presidents!” I studied exactly that aspect of Presidential biographies to test my thesis that the U.S. Presidency attracted a specific character type, and the type was not “normal” by the public standards. Continue reading