The Right's Excuse for Trump's Behavior is Nonsense
Over the course of the last few days, Donald Trump's twitter account has given great indication that he is becoming increasingly unhinged. A series of tweets aimed at MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brezinski insulted the couple repeatedly, using particularly harsh language towards Brezinski particularly. On Thursday Trump wrote in two tweets:
"I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!"
Two days later, supposedly responding to the near-ubiquitous criticism he received from most mainstream media outlets, Trump tweeted:
Crazy Joe Scarborough and dumb as a rock Mika are not bad people, but their low rated show is dominated by their NBC bosses. Too bad!
Obviously the tweets are sexist, abusive and absurd to a concerning degree, but I wish to focus mostly on the Right's response to Trump's tweeting.
Over the course of the Trump Presidency, notable Republican Senators have expressed "concern" over his various missteps, lies, bad-taste attacks on news anchors and other politicians, and questionable decision-making in relation to Russian state actors. Republicans are always "concerned," but they never do anything about it. They will strongly condemn the administration and talk tough, but vote with him 90% of the time (see John McCain).
This sort of passivity, which was made most abundantly clear when many on the Right refused to permanently disavow Trump after he admitted to regularly assaulting women on tape, has created a destructive standard in our political environment, specifically on the right.
Whenever Trump is accused of sexism, Republicans un-failingly bring up Bill Clinton's sexual escapades.. If Bill Clinton was a womanizer, surely its okay that Trump is clearly sexist?
Actually no, it's not okay at all.
Two things can be true at the same time, and while CNN associate producers may make crude comments about Kellyanne Conway's appearance in a private conversation, that is not nearly the same as the President of the United States making gruesome and sexist statements about women on his twitter account. Yes, Bill Clinton treated women terribly and his presidency will forever be stained by his lack of self control and questionable sexual conduct. Nobody with any accurate recollection of history would deny that. That doesn't mean that what Trump does is okay.
I believe that the constant apologist rhetoric of Republican representatives and administrative officials is the root of this problem. When our leaders refuse to call out obvious transgressions of political decency for the sake of cheap party points, right wing activists and advocates are invigorated in their efforts to defend the President. If our leaders don't think it matters, surely it can't be that serious, right?
Not only is the tit-for-tat mentality that has dominated Republican defenses of Trump (see WH press conferences, Fox News, Republican Pundits, or conservative commentators) idiotic, but it survives due to the radical lack of leadership we see in Washington.
When our institutions of influence, including the media and governing bodies, allow the standard of rhetoric and decency to fall as low as it has, things get out of control. Cheap points are actually quite expensive for the health of our democracy, and we must demand and uphold better standards for ourselves and those around us. If we don't, we will continue to see stupid tweets on national news, absurd rhetoric in debates, and continuous outrage as each side gets more and more offended.