Anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook is likely aware that I’m a huge advocate for having a rational and pragmatic approach to the things we do in life — especially politics. I’m a strong proponent for taking a step back, taking emotion out of it (or at least the best you can), and trying to see the bigger picture. People who follow me are also probably aware that one of my goals when talking about politics is to add a different perspective to things, often hoping to get people to think of things in a different way.
For example, a tweet Trump sent out Friday morning that, on the surface, just seems like another personal, petty attack against MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. Well, I actually believe it could be a piece of what sinks his “presidency.”
Here’s what Trump sent out:
Watched low rated @Morning_Joe for first time in long time. FAKE NEWS. He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017
Admittedly, that tweet in and of itself doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.
However, the response to it from Scarborough, plus the story it’s referencing, are what make it a bigger deal than most people might realize:
Yet another lie. I have texts from your top aides and phone records. Also, those records show I haven't spoken with you in many months. https://t.co/TZWiElo6Gs
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) June 30, 2017
Why do you keep lying about things that are so easily disproven? What is wrong with you? https://t.co/aAoUj5HYZS
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) June 30, 2017
For those of you wondering what this is about, it centers around an article Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski wrote for the Washington Post on Friday where they revealed that people from the National Enquirer began harassing them, their family, and their friends trying to put together a negative “story” about them. That’s when White House officials began contacting them, repeatedly imploring them to call Trump and apologize for the negative things they had said about him, and if they did, then maybe this National Enquirer story would go away.
Oh, and Trump’s really good friends with the president of National Enquirer.
In other words, because Scarborough and Brzezinski had publicly criticized Trump, seemingly at the behest of the “president,” the National Enquirer began harassing them as part of a negative “story” they were working on. Meanwhile, White House officials repeatedly called the couple, trying to get them to essentially grovel at Trump’s feet — making it clear that if they did, the “story” could go away.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is called blackmail.
However, in my opinion, the story here isn’t only what appears to be Trump attempting to blackmail members of the media — though make no mistake about it, if true, that’s terrifying, dangerous, and criminal behavior from someone calling himself the “president.”
What we have here are accusations by Scarborough of blackmail through harassment and intimidation, Trump publicly denying that happened, and the Morning Joe co-host stating that he has texts and phone records from Trump’s top aides to prove that this happened.
Now let’s rewind a bit back to James Comey’s testimony where he claimed Trump also tried to pressure and intimidate him into doing what he wanted, only to eventually be fired for refusing to give into his demands. While he didn’t say it specifically, the former FBI director painted a pretty clear picture of a “president” who was trying to bully him into submission, declare his loyalty, and obstruct an investigation.
Naturally, Trump denied what Comey said during his testimony was true.
Then there’s always the tweet Trump sent out after he fired Comey, clearly threatening the former head of the FBI by suggesting he might have recorded their conversations. Most rational people took this as Trump trying to intimidate Comey into not speaking out publicly about what the two men might have discussed. After weeks of avoiding directly answering whether or not those recordings existed, Trump finally admitted that they did not.
My point is, we have two instances where people are claiming the “president,” over a perceived lack of loyalty by not giving into his demands, tried to use his power to essentially bully or harass them into doing what he wanted. And if they didn’t — there would be consequences.
Yet in both situations, Trump’s claiming Comey, Scarborough, and Brzezinski are lying.
Except in the case of Scarborough, he claims to have texts and phone records from top Trump aides that prove this harassment and these attempts at blackmail took place. If true, then that’s a huge piece of evidence that Trump not only tried to blackmail the Morning Joe hosts, but that he flat-out lied about it.
That’s a big deal considering, very soon, Trump could be forced to testify in a case brought against him accusing him of trying to obstruct justice where credibility is likely going to play a huge role in determining innocence or guilt.
Imagine Trump facing obstruction charges, then it’s mentioned that Scarborough accused the “president” of attempting to use similar intimidation tactics that Comey described in his testimony, Trump then lied about it — yet the Morning Joe host produced evidence proving that Trump was full of crap.
That’s a really good example that could be used to establish a pattern of this type of behavior by Trump. He tries to put pressure on people to do what he wants, hangs things over their head in a way that often seems like blackmail or passive-aggressive threats, then lies about doing so if they speak about that behavior publicly.
Especially considering part of Comey’s testimony included him saying that a big reason why he felt he needed to write memos following each meeting with Trump was his concerns that the “president” would lie about what the two had talked about if their meetings ever became an issue.
Then you have to go back to what Scarborough is accusing Trump of: Clear blackmail and intimidation.
That accusation alone is fairly damning. To think that a “president” would use a trash tabloid magazine to harass members of the media (or anyone, for that matter) as a direct threat of “do what I want — or else” is a massive abuse of power, if not outright criminal.
Remember last year when the National Enquirer ran a ridiculous “story” during the GOP primary about Senator Ted Cruz having multiple affairs? That “story” just happened to be published during the most heated part of last year’s primary when Trump and Cruz were engaging in some rather personal attacks. I’m sure that’s all just a coincidence, right? Trump would never call up his friend who runs the National Enquirer and use that publication to embarrass or slander someone he wanted to go after.
Wait, actually, that’s exactly what Scarborough and Brzezinski are accusing Trump of doing.
While the tweet, itself, wasn’t anything particularly noteworthy based on Trump’s usual Twitter meltdowns, the response it triggered, I feel, could play a role in the downfall of his “presidency.”
We now have another instance where, much like Comey testified about a couple of weeks before, someone is accusing Trump of using intimidation and rather obvious threats hoping to force them to do what he wanted, he then denied these accusations publicly, yet his accusers are saying they have text and phone records to prove it happened.
Then on top of that, if true, a “president” trying to blackmail two members of the media is a really… really big deal.
For a guy who could very well be facing obstruction of justice charges in the near future, in a case that might come down to credibility, Trump pushing Scarborough to admit that he has evidence to prove the “president” is lying when he said he never tried to blackmail the Morning Joe host could very well play a significant factor in the minds of those who’ll have to decide who to believe: Donald Trump or James Comey.