'The Press Is The Enemy, The Press Is The Enemy, The Press Is The Enemy'

Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump's former chief strategist, arrives for questioning by the House Intelligence Committee as part of its ongoing investigation into meddling in the U.S. elections by Russia, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Trump’s attacks on the press have often been called Nixonian and his firing of former FBI Director James Comey has been likened to Nixon's firing of Archibald Cox during ‘The Saturday Night Massacre’. The comparison of the 37th and 45th Presidents often rings true - just as Nixon declared, in private, that “the press is the enemy.” (times three) Trump has publicly called the media an “enemy of the people.” Nixon, a more docile and controlled politician, was able to remain calm in public and let his subordinates do the dirty work. He pinned his Vice President, Spiro Agnew, on the media. Agnew was a pitbull, he levied unwavering public attacks on the press at the behest of Nixon; a strategy that kept Nixon out of the fray. Trump needs no Spiro Agnew. The Donald, often through his twitter, has no problem discrediting the media himself. Nixon’s strategy ultimately failed, he resigned from the presidency amid falling public support. Some argue that it was Nixon’s paranoia and attacks on the press that eventually led to his demise. As he made enemies in media their desire to take him down only grew. Trump may have the same problem. It seems to be the goal of every major media outlet, save Fox News, to take down The Donald.

“Witch Hunt;” “A Vast Right Wing Conspiracy”

As Robert Mueller III’s investigation marches along (13 indictments just handed out to Russian nationals) Trump continues to levy attacks in an attempt to undermine the inquiry. Trump, with the help of Republican lawmakers and Fox News, publicly questions the legitimacy of the Russia Investigation almost weekly. Oddly enough, Trump learned this trick from former President Bill Clinton. Clinton famously called the investigation into Whitewater and his affairs a political “witch hunt.” While his first lady, the woman who Donald Trump battered in the 2016 campaign, called it a “vast right wing conspiracy”. Sound familiar? Clinton declared all out war on his investigator, Ken Starr, and enlisted liberal media outlets to help him discredit the investigation. CNN’s treatment of Ken Starr was much like the treatment Mueller gets from Fox News. The double standard from both sides is astonishing. Liberals who call Trump’s bombardment of the Russia Investigation ‘unprecedented’ and ‘dangerous’ are forgetting their defense of Bubba as he levied the same attacks. Conservatives who are applauding Trump’s attacks on the investigation are forgetting their reaction to Clinton’s strategy. Clinton only survived his presidency because of sky high approval ratings; something President Trump is not afforded. Republican lawmakers are on Trump’s side for now, but with an approval rating hovering right around 40 percent, Trump is in dangerous waters. It's not long before Republicans jump ship.

“Case Closed.”

    Clinton and Nixon both took extreme measures to prove their innocence to the American public. They were all guilty. Trump’s behavior, in a historical context, doesn’t bode well for his innocence. Trump went from saying he met Putin, that they “do have a relationship” in 2013, to saying “I have no relationship with Putin” in 2016. Why lie, Mr. President? Trump and his surrogates repeatedly stated that no one in the campaign had met with any Russians. In reality, several members of the campaign met with the Russian ambassador. Donald Trump Jr. even met with Russian nationals who were promising dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” an assertion Don Jr. did not even bat an eye at. Although no conclusion has been made in the Russia probe, Mr. Trump is sure acting like a caged animal; just as McCarthy, Clinton, and Nixon did as they neared their downfalls. Trump, upon the release of the Nunes Memo, declared himself “totally vindicated’ and, upon the indictment of 13 Russians, declared the “case closed.” The Donald is trying to speak his innocence into existence; it won’t work. As the song goes: “any day your last day might come so, you can't hide, you can't run, late night or in the shadows when the daylight comes remember: you can't hide, you can't run.”


Julian Markese is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at julian.markese@uconn.edu