Right wing pundits should be wearing helmets this week.
I have not seen so many heads explode since M&M’s remade their cartoon mascots: How dare they make the slutty Green more gender neutral? This is an outrage! I want my candy sultry, permissive and in high heels!
In fairness, the outrage in conservative media this week came from a more astonishing event. On Monday, FBI agents executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, the gaudy Palm Beach residence of former U.S. president Donald J. Trump. This was an orderly seizure of government documents that should’ve never been taken to Mar-a-Lago in the first place.
But when Trump reluctantly left the White House, he acted like a drunken hotel guest who swipes the lamps before checkout. He took whatever he wanted, allegedly including classified material so sensitive, the contents can’t be publicly described. This must be a bumper year for Mar-a-Lago club membership from Chinese, Russian and Iranian nationals who might be hankering for more than a caviar brunch by the pool.
This is not complicated. Trump took government documents that belong in the National Archives. Those documents could pose a threat to national security, something Republicans once cared about. The FBI had every right to reclaim this property. If the police recover your stolen bike, that doesn’t mean they’ve infringed upon the human rights of the thief.
But Trump always commits the crime and pretends to be the victim.
And the suckers who idolize him always fall for it.
On Monday, he said “these are dark times for our Nation.” He said his home was “under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents.”
“They even broke into my safe!” he whined.
You can almost picture baffled agents standing around as the safe door was cracked open: “What the hell? This thing is full of Big Macs!”
Tellingly, Mr. Trump did not share an affidavit, search warrant or any official papers his legal team would’ve received. As MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough noted on Wednesday: “Donald Trump can release the warrant … If it’s such a scam, Donald – hey, Donald, I know you watch – if it’s such a scam, listen to me, release the warrant.”
Joe, there’s a better chance Cardi B will join a nunnery.
Trump will not release the warrant because he doesn’t want his braindead followers to ever be in the same postal code as reality. It’s more politically advantageous to cry “witch hunt,” to claim he is being persecuted by partisan mercenaries who do bong hits with Hunter Biden.
It’s the same reason that on Wednesday, during a deposition with the New York Attorney General as part of an ongoing investigation into his dubious business dealings, Trump exercised his Fifth Amendment rights.
This after previously saying only criminals and mobsters plead the fifth.
Since the FBI does not comment on active investigations, we don’t know what led to Monday’s unprecedented move. But a search warrant requires a federal judge to sign off on probable cause. Whatever the FBI was searching for, it wasn’t Pokémon. The Department of Justice knew this would trigger a political firestorm. They did it anyway because they had no choice.
Alas, instead of waiting for the facts, right wing media seized upon the seizure at Mar-a-Lago as an opportunity to score cheap political points and rouse the rabble. Republicans, once the party of law and order, called for the FBI to be defunded or disbanded. Comparisons were made to banana republics. GOP hacks vowed revenge on Joe Biden for “weaponizing” law enforcement, even though he was never told about this “raid” in advance.
By Wednesday, the incoherent talking points on Fox News and elsewhere inside the radical right ecosystem had turned into a forest fire of disinformation: The FBI had “planted” evidence! They stormed Trump’s golden palace because he had proof there is a global cabal of Satanist pedophiles! Those FBI perverts just wanted to leer at Melania’s lingerie! They stole Barron’s science project! They killed Kenny!
Steve Bannon, MAGA’s grifter-in-chief, suggested the Deep State might be planning to assassinate Trump. This bonkers rhetoric would be grimly amusing if it wasn’t so dangerous.
Researchers who track Trumpian social media have detected a spike this week in references to “civil war” and “locked and loaded.” Although we don’t know exactly why the FBI acted, the MAGA cult is convinced it has the answer: the federal government is evil and it’s time to take up arms against Dear Leader’s oppressors and overthrow this illegitimate regime.
This is the everlasting shame of so many in conservative media.
They know government documents, especially classified material, should not be at Mar-a-Lago – they wanted to lock up Hillary Clinton over her emails. They know Trump routinely flouts norms and laws. They know he’s a narcissistic sociopath. They know his fans are lunatics. They know America is a divided, flint-and-steel tinderbox. But instead of waiting for the facts, they lit a match by acting like the FBI took a battering ram to the doors and, with guns blazing, violated Trump’s rights while looting Mar-a-Lago for kicks.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
But for the right wing punditry, as we saw this week, the truth is an inconvenience. You can’t rack up clicks, ratings and profits by telling your already enraged audience the FBI acted entirely appropriately.
It’s better to lie through your teeth and risk civil war.
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