Trickle-down Trump

It’s a bad news week for the president, whose views are parroted locally by Chico’s vice mayor

I don’t know how people keep up with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other communication platforms. Those are the four I’m connected to—and I’m engaged on only one of the them with any regularity.

I’ve had a Twitter account for nearly a decade but set it to private for most of those years. When I logged on recently after a long hiatus, I skimmed my roughly 80 tweets. Most are long-ago conversations with my journalist friends about music and newspapering.

More recently, though, I’ve grown more interested in the platform. That’s because the president of the United States uses it to tell Americans what he’s really thinking. Try as they might, his handlers can’t seem to get him to stop tweeting—especially about the “Rigged Witch Hunt!”

The targets of Trump’s grammar- and spelling-butchered attacks include two main groups: The first is pretty much anyone investigating his alleged cooperation in a foreign government’s efforts to meddle in the general election (to his benefit). The second is the media, aside from a majority of the programming on Fox News and similar outlets.

Just this week, President Trump tweeted: “Disgraced and discredited Bob Mueller and his whole group of Angry Democrat Thugs spent over 30 hours with the White House Councel [sic], only with my approval, for purposes of transparency. … Mueller’s Angry Dems are looking to impact the election. They are a National Disgrace!”

(Side note: Does anyone else think people overuse exclamation points as a replacement for cogency?)

Just to be clear, Robert Mueller (the special counsel) is a Republican and he’s neither disgraced nor discredited. In fact, his investigation has resulted in more than a dozen indictments and several guilty pleas. Among those admissions of guilt, as of Tuesday (Aug. 21), is Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to a host of charges and testified that Trump directed him to violate campaign law. The same day, a jury convicted former Trump campaign Manager Paul Manafort on eight counts of tax and bank fraud.

Monitoring Trump’s Twitter feed made me curious to see how Chico politicos use it. Only City Councilman Randall Stone and Vice Mayor Reanette Fillmer are active. Stone tweets mostly about his jogging habits and Fillmer has a penchant for parroting Trump’s lackeys (Reps. Devin Nunes and Doug LaMalfa) or the man himself. Among the traits she shares with Trump is a hatred of the media and a flair for slaughtered prose.

Here’s a recent example of her trickle-down Trump view of the Fourth Estate: “But they are the enemy of the people. They should be for the people. As an elected official I have misquoted [sic], lied about and seen the media accidentally tell a different story then [sic] what is actually happen [sic] 99% of the time. It is a joke.”

A joke? I took a screenshot of that tweet for posterity. It’s accompanied by a video of far-right outlet One America News bashing a White House correspondent. Fillmer’s term on the council is nearly up, and based on what’s happening in D.C., the president’s tenure is likely to end early. The only joke here is apparently the one played on voters when people who don’t understand the media’s role in American democracy were elected to public office.