Paul Krugman reacted to Trump’s CIA speech today by saying what many of us are no doubt thinking, that “This guy is seriously delusional — incapable of accepting anything that hurts his ego. And he controls nukes.”
Reading a statement today, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, whose greatest contribution to the Trump administration so far has been to complain about people being disrespectful of his boss, complained that people are being disrespectful of Trump.
Spicer railed against “dishonesty” in the media and said “we’re going to hold the press accountable…the American people deserve better,” threatening to exclude the media by stating ominously that Trump “will take his message directly to the American people” if the media will not obediently and uncritically pass along his lies.
And in doing it, he sounded no less delusional than POTUS. The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman opined that,
“Spicer is reading from a sheet. Because this actually is not a statement that would come at all naturally to him, since he is a vet at this.”
Which means this statement came directly from Donald Trump, and represents the state of his mind at this moment, which is not encouraging. And this, says The Plum Line’s Greg Sargent, was “deliberately designed to obliterate shared reality.”
NBC News’ Ali Vitali reported that,
Getting tweets Spicer statement meant to steal #WomensMarch focus. Maybe, but crowds were also big preoccupation of Trump during campaign.
— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) January 21, 2017
There is no doubt, as she says, that Trump is sensitive about the small size of his inauguration crowd and probably even more the enormous size of the Women’s March, which dwarf’s even his fantasy inauguration numbers.
The New York Times‘ Sopan Deb’s reaction to Spicer’s tirade showed that the press is not fooled by Trump’s reactionary response to crowd size:
I'd love to say that I am surprised that Sean Spicer led off his first press briefing in the Trump WH to discuss crowd sizes. I'm not.
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) January 21, 2017
Greg Sargent went on to say, “To call Spicer a joke/clown is to miss the point…What Spicer just did is part of a concerted strategy that goes well beyond crowd sizes.”
“…it all starts to smack of an effort to stamp out the very possibility of shared agreement on the legitimate institutional role of the news media or even on reality itself. It’s easy to imagine that, if and when a news organization uncovers potential conflicts, Trump will simply deny the reality of what’s been uncovered (“fake news”) and begin threatening “consequences” towards that organization.”
Spicer’s agitated state revealed more than his words. As did Spicer’s silence on those demonstrations, as NBC News’ Katy Tur pointed out:
Remarkable for the WH not to acknowledge the hundreds of thousands of Americans demonstrating around the US – including in the WH backyard.
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) January 21, 2017
It is probably not so much remarkable as predictable. Donald Trump cannot admit that any demonstration is sizeable given his claim to have won by a landslide. Such numbers cannot possibly exist.
As Writer/comedian Justin Shanes tweeted, “Spicer statement proves 3 things: 1) Trump knows protest crowds were enormous, 2) he’s wildly insecure about it, 3) we need to keep this up.”
There is absolutely no doubt that Tur is right on the money when she observes that, “Apparently the most important thing going on in the WH right now is Trump’s inaugural crowd size.”
It is difficult to see how Trump hopes to govern when he lets himself be so easily distracted by his insecurities while there are so many more important things to worry about, first by using an important speech to the CIA to pursue his vendetta against the press and then to order a press conference to excoriate the press for telling the truth about the embarrassingly small turnout for his inauguration.