In case someone reading this hadn’t heard, at 9 pm Friday, just as one of the worst hurricanes to hit the United States was about to make landfall along the Texas coast, Trump sent out a tweet announcing that he had pardoned former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio.
For those of you who might not know, Friday evenings are when something commonly called a “news dump” takes place. Politicians, businesses, and various others who are hoping to minimize backlash over the release of certain information will wait until Friday evening when ratings tend to be down as people end their week and prepare for the weekend.
What made Trump’s news dump on Friday noteworthy was that it came around the same time when Category 4 Hurricane Harvey was starting to wreak havoc along Texas’s coast.
Naturally, the White House has taken a lot of criticism for dumping several major pieces of information on a Friday night (he also announced he signed his ban on transgender Americans being able to serve in the military and that controversial advisor Sebastian Gorka had “resigned”) when most of the country was focused on a massive hurricane, with people in Texas bracing for one of the worst storms in history.
Well, according to Trump, he didn’t announce Arpaio’s pardon on Friday because he hoped people would be distracted by the hurricane — but rather because he wanted to do so when he felt ratings would be higher.
No, I’m not joking.
“Actually in the middle of a hurricane, even though it was a Friday evening, I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they would be normally,” Trump said.
Yeah, that’s total bullshit. If Trump were really wanting to get a lot of attention for his pardoning of Arpiao, he could have held a news conference about it. Hell, he could have announced it during his speech in Arizona a few days earlier. Practically any other time would have guaranteed much higher ratings and media attention for his revolting pardon of a racist former sheriff.
Even if he wanted to do it on Friday, why not announce it in the morning? Why wait until that night, just as the hurricane was about to hit, before making such a non-hurricane related controversial announcement?
Furthermore, what ratings was he trying to take advantage of? The vast majority of the country’s attention was on Hurricane Harvey. Meaning that any news source that wasn’t giving them in-depth coverage about what was going on would likely see a dip in ratings. Not to mention the fact that when major storms like Harvey hit, people tend to tune to networks like The Weather Channel — which wasn’t going to cover his Arpaio pardon.
Though even if you want to take Trump at his word (and you’d be a fool if you did), what he’s then essentially claiming is that he wanted to exploit the attention a gigantic, devastating storm was getting — to announce the extremely divisive, highly-partisan pardoning of someone even several top Republicans, including Senator John McCain and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, have said shouldn’t have been pardoned.
To put that in another way, while millions of people in Texas feared for their lives as one of the strongest storms in history was headed straight for the state, with much of the country’s thoughts on those caught in the path of this hurricane, one of Trump’s top priorities was to try to seize on the ratings Harvey was generating to bring attention to his pardoning of a racist sheriff.
I’m not really sure what’s more disgusting. That Trump:
- Likely used this storm as a distraction in an attempt to decrease backlash over the controversial pardoning of a blatant racist.
- Just claimed one of his top priorities on Friday — as millions of people sat in the path of one of the worst storms in history, fearing for their safety and lives — was to exploit the coverage the hurricane was generating to bring more attention to his pardoning of a blatant racist.
Either way, it’s a damn disgrace this bottom-feeder is allowed to call himself “president.”
Watch his comments below via The Washington Post: