The morning after declaring a national emergency to fund the border wall without Congressional approval, the President of the United States asked (via tweet, of course) how television networks could “get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution.”
This is the President of the United States, people.
The tweet can (arguably, I suppose) be interpreted as an implicit call to violence against television networks. It all boils down to whether or not you view the word “retribution” as intrinsically violent. In fairness to the president, the various online dictionaries don’t actually require that — “retribution” can be defined as benignly as “recompense” or “reward,” or as ominously as “punishment for a crime” or “the act of taking revenge.”
But I will tell you that “retribution” is a word that I immediately associate with organized crime movies. (The example that springs to mind first is Robert Patrick growling it ironically in 1997’s “Cop Land.”)
Where were you that night, Jack?
I had nothing to do with it. That would be retribution, and that I leave to God almighty. I’m Gandhi.
If it helps to determine the president’s intention any, we can look at the Stalin-esque phrase he invokes, yet again, in his follow-up tweet: “THE RIGGED AND CORRUPT MEDIA IS THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!” (And we know the man is sure of his assertion when he types it in all capitals.)
I’m personally reading the man’s comments in the context of what I’ve been reading lately from a few Trump supporters in my orbit via social media. I wrote previously on this blog about one of them openly calling for the large scale execution of “journslists” (they can never quite spell it) and Democrats. I have also heard from these individuals that the Second Amendment was created to protect us from journalists, while another hoped brightly that journalists get “eaten alive” (a metaphor, to be sure, yet hardly one that suggests a peaceable course of action).
But back to the tweet about “Saturday Night Live.” As though he were proceeding from some official Online Imbecile checklist, he was sure to include the term “Fake News” (his dumbed-down catchphrase for whatever he perceives as propaganda), as well as something childish (“very unfair”), something vague (“many other shows … should be looked into”) and something with inscrutable logic (“This is the real Collusion!”)
Again — this is the President of the United States, people.
Enjoy your Sunday.