Trump's hilarious joke about treason wasn't funny

As he has boasted, President Donald Trump has the best words -- so good they are beyond meaning.On Monday, ...

Posted: Feb 7, 2018 7:06 AM
Updated: Feb 7, 2018 7:06 AM

As he has boasted, President Donald Trump has the best words -- so good they are beyond meaning.

On Monday, he said that Democrats who didn't applaud during his State of the Union address were potentially committing "treason." He said, with a shrug: "Can we call that treason? Why not?" because "they certainly didn't seem to love our country very much."

Of course, the definition of "treason" is not lack of affection for one's country, but the act of seeking to undermine and betray it. And never mind that it's not the country that Democrats refused to applaud, but its current deficient leader. In Trump's world, he's the most special man-boy in America, deserving of all the applause simply for showing up.

Trump's press secretary Sarah Sanders said later that Trump was just, you know, goofing around-- "clearly joking," she said -- when he publicly, before the cameras, called sitting members of Congress treasonous.

Here's one thing that would be potentially treasonous: colluding with a foreign power to win an election. Whether the Trump campaign was involved in such collusion during the 2016 presidential election is among the subjects special counsel Robert Mueller is exploring.

There is no room for "joking" about meaning here: a flexible relationship with the truth is a major problem when a serial liar is a President.

Consider this bizarre bit of news: according to a report in The New York Times on Monday, Trump's lawyers are reportedly trying to keep him from speaking with Mueller. They are apparently not just worried that Trump could incriminate himself by admitting something he's actually done wrong, but that he might simply lie to investigators --play fast and loose with words and truth, as he does so reflexively -- and land himself in serious trouble.

Part of what makes a democracy function is trust -- in our institutions and in our leaders -- and a belief that our institutions will fill in the gaps where leaders show a lack. Trump has upended that trust, working to gut the administrative state, undermining international confidence in American power and stability, and corroding American confidence in law enforcement, the judiciary and the value of American democracy.

Leaders overseas don't know when they can believe what he says; how can anyone negotiate with a President like that? Americans at home have learned, like Pavlov's dogs, to meet his lies and wild accusations with a shrug (and a growing sense of dread, if they're liberals) or with enthusiastic salivation (if they're members of Trump's reactionary base).

It doesn't matter whether Trump is intentionally deceitful, cognitively impaired, or simply has never suffered consequences from his stated falsehoods and so doesn't care enough to bother with truth; an American president who cannot be taken at his word is a danger to the world.

Not that trying to take Trump at his word is any better. It should scare the pants off us when a President who has already shown authoritarian impulses accuses his opponents of treason for declining to applaud him.

Refusing to applaud an idea you disagree with is one of the most basic expressions of free speech, itself a fundamental American value, right there in the very first amendment to our Constitution.

Trump certainly used his freedom of speech (and freedom of Twitter) to criticize his predecessor, President Barack Obama. Trump, in fact, repeated a series of vicious lies about him, including that Obama wasn't born in the United States. (Can you imagine Obama responding like the thin-skinned Trump to a cool partisan reception at the State of the Union?)

Trump's untruths and unhinged remarks are so ubiquitous that only the really crazy ones break through the media noise.

What a sad state we're all in, when we've accepted this as normal from our leader -- and when, worst of all, Republicans go right along with the madness and the lies, patting our little boy President on the head and telling him he's doing a good job, that his words are the best words, that he doesn't need to do big boy things like take responsibility for his actions quite yet. That he deserves a trophy just for participating at all.

November 2020 is closer each day, and unlike our President, election results don't lie.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 350070

Reported Deaths: 7590
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24512449
DeSoto23513283
Harrison21172335
Rankin15798293
Jackson15735254
Madison11171227
Lee10903180
Jones9223169
Forrest9027163
Lauderdale8087244
Lamar724890
Lowndes7199152
Lafayette6631125
Washington5661140
Pearl River5357154
Oktibbeha503198
Bolivar5004134
Warren4817128
Panola4812112
Marshall4739106
Pontotoc452473
Hancock440388
Neshoba4401181
Union438979
Monroe4369138
Lincoln4228116
Pike3739114
Leflore3676125
Alcorn355374
Tate354988
Sunflower351094
Adams347490
Scott346677
Yazoo342977
Copiah330869
Simpson327191
Itawamba317281
Coahoma315685
Tippah312869
Prentiss302563
Covington302384
Marion289882
Leake288676
Wayne280945
George277351
Grenada272188
Newton266864
Tishomingo240770
Winston238084
Stone235338
Jasper234748
Attala228674
Chickasaw221460
Holmes202574
Clay201954
Clarke189580
Tallahatchie185642
Calhoun183232
Smith183036
Yalobusha173641
Walthall150449
Lawrence145426
Greene141935
Amite139144
Noxubee137235
Perry136138
Montgomery133944
Carroll127031
Webster124332
Jefferson Davis119834
Tunica116127
Benton107825
Claiborne105931
Kemper104429
Humphreys102333
Franklin88424
Quitman86319
Choctaw83119
Wilkinson79332
Jefferson72228
Sharkey51918
Issaquena1746
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 592417

Reported Deaths: 11542
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson861091591
Mobile49771865
Madison37714533
Shelby27501259
Tuscaloosa27344465
Montgomery26343628
Baldwin25860329
Lee17336181
Calhoun15498334
Morgan15225291
Etowah15060370
Marshall13198236
Houston12191293
Elmore10977219
St. Clair10852252
Limestone10816158
Cullman10610206
Lauderdale10305254
DeKalb9594192
Talladega9005188
Walker7840288
Autauga7615114
Jackson7431117
Blount7417139
Colbert6752142
Coffee6443132
Dale5723117
Russell482243
Chilton4810117
Covington4804125
Franklin462781
Tallapoosa4571156
Escambia451083
Chambers3987125
Dallas3751163
Clarke372263
Marion3470107
Pike334079
Lawrence3277100
Winston300773
Bibb292865
Geneva288383
Marengo262967
Barbour253761
Pickens247762
Butler242472
Hale236778
Fayette228165
Henry216545
Monroe204541
Randolph202844
Cherokee200748
Washington186839
Macon171552
Crenshaw170658
Clay167159
Cleburne161845
Lamar151938
Lowndes146255
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh122132
Coosa119529
Perry111228
Sumter110633
Greene99337
Choctaw64425
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 84°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
81° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 84°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
81° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 81°
Starkville
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 79°
Thursday will start off once again in the unseasonably cool 60s. We will top off just a few degrees warmer on out Thursday, in comparison to our Wednesday. Most of the high temperatures will be in the lower 90s.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather