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: 149940

Reported Deaths: 3779
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10097104
Hinds9984199
Harrison7116110
Jackson6360119
Rankin5588103
Lee509195
Madison4799106
Forrest383186
Jones357688
Lauderdale3496147
Lafayette326051
Washington3179107
Lamar291550
Oktibbeha245462
Bolivar241384
Lowndes237364
Panola222350
Neshoba2206118
Marshall217250
Leflore205590
Pontotoc199928
Monroe198177
Sunflower191655
Lincoln190865
Warren176857
Tate169851
Union167325
Copiah164140
Pike162658
Yazoo156039
Scott154829
Itawamba152935
Pearl River152167
Alcorn151328
Coahoma150543
Simpson148353
Prentiss146230
Adams141950
Grenada140945
Leake134944
Holmes130861
George125524
Tippah125230
Covington123439
Winston122224
Hancock121139
Wayne117923
Marion116646
Attala113034
Tishomingo109442
Chickasaw107632
Newton105629
Tallahatchie97027
Clay91327
Clarke90553
Jasper82822
Stone77014
Walthall76928
Calhoun75513
Montgomery74525
Carroll72415
Lawrence71814
Smith71316
Yalobusha71327
Noxubee71017
Perry67026
Tunica61019
Greene60322
Claiborne58616
Jefferson Davis57017
Amite54014
Humphreys53619
Benton49318
Quitman4927
Webster44314
Kemper43618
Wilkinson39822
Jefferson35211
Franklin3395
Choctaw3357
Sharkey30917
Issaquena1164
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 244993

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson32314500
Mobile19859361
Madison13223148
Tuscaloosa13049154
Montgomery12342236
Shelby1031577
Baldwin873398
Lee775766
Morgan662650
Calhoun6301119
Etowah627666
Marshall627255
Houston525638
DeKalb485536
Cullman439442
Limestone425145
St. Clair419555
Lauderdale407854
Elmore406864
Walker3657111
Talladega351454
Jackson320423
Colbert311942
Blount292240
Autauga273542
Franklin252633
Coffee245415
Dale232654
Dallas226232
Chilton223438
Russell22193
Covington218934
Escambia198331
Chambers176850
Tallapoosa176391
Pike158614
Clarke158419
Marion140236
Winston133023
Lawrence127936
Pickens123518
Geneva12218
Marengo121524
Bibb117917
Barbour117310
Butler116541
Randolph102921
Cherokee102224
Hale97031
Clay91924
Fayette91616
Washington91219
Henry8546
Lowndes79929
Monroe78911
Cleburne77214
Macon73722
Crenshaw71130
Bullock69619
Perry6886
Conecuh68414
Lamar6798
Wilcox63518
Sumter58122
Greene42618
Choctaw42213
Coosa3444
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