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Trump calls for the resignation of everyone at the New York Times involved in Kavanaugh and Russia reporting

Trump calls for the resignation of everyone at the New York Times involved in Kavanaugh and Russia reporting

Monday evening, Donald Trump tweeted out what can only be described as his most radical attack on the free press to date. The president called for the “resignation of everybody at The New York Times involved in the Kavanaugh SMEAR story” as well as anyone who had a hand in covering the “Russia Witch Hunt Hoax” which Trump insisted is “just as phony.”

Trump claimed that the “Old Grey Lady,” a commonly used nickname for the Times, has been “broken” down by the reporters working there and that her virtue has been destroyed and her reputation ruined. He went on to state that the newspaper will never be able to “return to GREATNESS” as long as its current management is in place before proclaiming that “The Times is DEAD, long live The New York Times.”

While the anti-free press rhetoric is nothing new from him, using his bully pulpit to call for mass firings at a publication over coverage he doesn’t like marks a profound escalation in his attacks.

The tweets are nakedly self-serving and his insistence that nobody trusts The New York Times is patently false. Sure, most members of the MAGA movement have disconnected themselves from reality and now only trust the words that spew out of their leader’s mouth, but most people recognize Trump for what he is: a pathological liar. He hates the Times because it’s run unflattering stories about him. Trump doesn’t care about the veracity of the reportage, he cares about how bad it makes him look.

These tweets really amount to nothing more than partisan grandstanding on Trump’s part and function as a component of the broader Republican efforts to close ranks around Kavanaugh who has been credibly accused of sexual assault. Despite what the GOP is pushing in the media, the defenses of Kavanaugh are all incredibly bad faith. Conservatives want to argue that since the alleged sexual misconduct cannot be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt it should be ignored entirely. It’s an utterly nonserious contention.

True, we cannot know for sure if Kavanaugh is a sexual predator but the fact that it’s plausible means he should have never been confirmed in the first place. No one is entitled to a seat on the Supreme Court. There are countless other judges who have not been accused of such heinous crimes that could have been easily been placed on the bench. More generally, the court itself is weakened by Kavanaugh’s presence. A large swath of America now believes—with reason—that our highest judicial body is partially controlled by a sex criminal. The very legitimacy of the Supreme Court has been undermined and Trump’s continued protection of Kavanaugh only makes matters worse for the entire country.

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