Sitting in an area under a hurricane watch while the President of the United States is fixated on winning another Twitter battle with the media over a presidential misstatement on the hurricane’s projected pass infuriated me. Trump insists Alabama was in the track of Hurricane Dorian.
Thankfully, my area of GA only got some wind and very little rain, but just seeing the president behave in such an undignified and unserious manner, while the Carolinas were bracing for Hurricane Dorian to hit their coast seemed surreal. Trump went so far as to stage a hurricane briefing video in the Oval Office, where he held up a map from the National Hurricane Center, on which he drew, in black sharpie, an extension of the projection cone… going into southeastern Alabama.
Of course, the media quickly pulled up the federal law that makes it a crime to alter an official weather map, although, as my one son and I had arguments about during the Obama years and Hillary’s grossly negligent email scandal, the POTUS has the authority to do whatever he wants with information… even highly classified information. My son insists the POTUS could decide to release all of America’s highly classified information to America’s adversaries and that is perfectly “legal”. Trump decided to tweet a highly classified U.S. satellite photo of an Iranian launch site a week ago, which he claimed to have “the right” to do. Note: Trump had the authority (power) to release that photo, not “the right”. Rights belong to the people under our constitution and they are inalienable. Powers belong to the states and federal government.
My argument is that when “legal” involves actions that gravely jeopardize the national security of our country, then the “rule of law” no longer stands on any bedrock constitutional principles. The law no longer means anything at that point, because it directly shreds the very oath of office the president swore to uphold and runs counter to the very principles the rule of law is built upon.
The example that comes to mind is Napoleon, one of the world’s most prolific producers of constitutions. When Napoleon conquered any territory, he quickly had a constitution put in place… along with installing a puppet government. A constitution that isn’t girded by bedrock principles is just a piece of paper.
Today, Trump even had some rear admiral release a letter backing Trump’s Alabama assertion. This Trump crap show will fade from public memory quickly, except for Trump bringing it up regularly and rewriting this incident to make himself out to be the victim of the media and to proclaim Alabama was threatened by Hurricane Dorian. Trump will assuredly rewrite this event to feed his ego and to attack the media.
What’s so disturbing to me about this situation is that Trump decided to engage in fighting the media and demanding an apology from the media, all while Hurricane Dorian is still barreling up the Atlantic coast and thousands of Americans are in the path. This is a weather emergency situation and the POTUS is obsessed, not with providing the most accurate and timely information to Americans affected by this storm, nope he’s fixated on winning a spin battle against the media. The truth is Trump’s spin fight isn’t part of his DUTIES as president, especially during a weather emergency involving numerous states.
It’s easy to just blow this off as another Trump vs. media spin battle and brush it off as trivial, but here’s why it matters,
The executive branch owns our national emergency response and information, so the President has a duty to manage emergency services and information. A large part of that information responsibility centers on providing the most accurate and timely information available. Credibility is crucial. The president scribbling on an official weather map with a sharpie destroyed the Office of President’s credibility. Trump’s staff sitting silently throughout this destroyed their credibility too.
The State of Alabama had to issue a statement correcting Trump’s misinformation and reassure the citizens of Alabama that the state was not under threat from Hurricane Dorian.
Few people will see anything more serious or ominous in this latest Trump sharpie map sideshow, but it’s another serious warning cloud for America.
This 24/7 scorched earth spin information war consumes Trump’s every waking moment now. It consumed the mainstream media and Dems long ago. In a serious national crisis, America could quickly become rudderless. Mass panic and confusion could ensure from a gigantic information void, leaving people unsure of what information source to trust and many people refusing to trust the media or our elected leaders.
This spin war isn’t just some insignificant political media game, it’s a growing threat to America’s national security.
Without any trusted and reliable avenues of information, Americans will continue to polarize and chaos can easily be generated and “amplified” (the term the media uses), especially on social media.