Donald Trump’s first full day as President of the United States was an incredibly disturbing and surreal exercise in nascent authoritarian reality distortion and flat-out denial of obvious, irrefutable fact. Our denier-in-chief spoke to the Central Intelligence Agency, where he openly declared war on the press over the factual reporting of his inauguration’s low turnout, declared that God himself had intervened to prevent the rain from falling on his ceremony (it rained), and then casually announced that we might invade Iraq again to “get back the oil.”
Directly after this, his
press secretary Minister of Propaganda, Sean Spicer, dutifully repeated the same lies to the media behind a backdrop of reversed inaugural photos that misrepresented the low turnout despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Legendary journalist Dan Rather took to Facebook tonight to express his thoughts on the horrifying absurdity of the day’s events with his trademark wisdom. His horrified disbelief and disgust at the neo-Soviet carnival of Trumpism is the clear-headed analysis we all need to help make sense of this ridiculous mess:
As the day comes to an end, and what a strange and unprecedented day in so many ways – here are some brief thoughts scribbled in my reporter’s notebook.
In the ”Wizard of OZ”, Dorothy famously said to her dog, ”Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” That comes to mind in trying to get my head around–trying to process–Day 1 of the Trump Presidency. In a rough paraphrase, folks, we’re now in a totally different America from anything that has gone before – certainly anything I’ve seen before. We’re in a whole new political cosmos. An unpredictable and in so many ways dangerous one.
Consider, just for review:
–The President, on his first day, launched two new direct attacks on the press. One delivered personally in a rambling talk at CIA headquarters, another through his spokesman at the White House.
— His press secretary repeated lies about the size of the inaugural crowd, as if such things even matter, as opposed to such things as forming a more perfect Union, establishing justice, ensuring domestic tranquility, and providing for the common defense – the serious concerns our Founding Fathers put in the Constitution.
— Mr. Trump’s personal attacks came as he spoke at the CIA praising –again–his election win. This was done as he spoke in front of a wall dedicated with the names of 116 CIA heroes who gave their lives in service of their country. He virtually ignored that during his talk. (He did praise U.S. intelligence agencies, the same ones he has ridiculed repeatedly before, even at one point likening to Nazis. These are the same intelligence services actively investigating the President’s possible ties to Russia and those of his associates.)
–And all of this against the backdrop of a huge, worldwide mass demonstration under the banner of women’s rights, but really so much more and with heavy anti-Trump overtones. This was a historic global civil rights demonstration of sorts, a peaceful process the lasting effects, if any, cannot yet be measured.
Trump supporters continue to counsel patience and “give him a chance.” Hard to make a case that there’ll be much patience and chance-giving if he keeps doing what he did today. A badly divided nation waits and holds its collective breath, hoping and praying, and trying to get its head around the new, ”other world” reality.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.