Andrew Sullivan and ‘The Madness of King Donald’
Finally! A respected journalist and public figure, columnist Andrew Sullivan, is openly questioning the mental stability and capability of Pres. Donald Trump. It’s about time someone did.
In his Friday column for New York magazine titled “The Madness of King Donald” and again this morning on CNN’s Reliable Sources, Sullivan spoke frankly about the president’s erratic, impulsive behavior and denial of reality — something any conscious human being must surely have noticed by now. Perhaps the media have feared possible repercussions for making defamatory statements.* Or perhaps they’re just too accustomed to respecting the office of president. But Trump has already declared a virtual war against them just for asking too many uncomfortable questions, so there’s no mutual respect forthcoming from this president.
From Sullivan’s column:
Trump’s lies are different. They are direct refutations of reality — and their propagation and repetition is about enforcing his power rather than wriggling out of a political conundrum. They are attacks on the very possibility of a reasoned discourse, the kind of bald-faced lies that authoritarians issue as a way to test loyalty and force their subjects into submission.
* * *
Here is what we are supposed to do: rebut every single lie. Insist moreover that each lie is retracted — and journalists in press conferences should back up their colleagues with repeated follow-ups if Spicer tries to duck the plain truth. Do not allow them to move on to another question. Interviews with the president himself should not leave a lie alone; the interviewer should press and press and press until the lie is conceded. The press must not be afraid of even calling the president a liar to his face if he persists.
From his CNN interview:
No one wants to be here saying this. I don’t want to believe the president of the United States is just delusional or cannot accept reality. Of course not. It pains me. It gives me great pain and concern and distress. But at some point, being a writer or a journalist requires one to simply say what one is seeing in front of one’s eyes. And sometimes you have to say that in plain English.
I applaud Sullivan’s courage in speaking openly and daring to say what has needed saying since Inauguration Day, if not well before. It’s time his colleagues in the media stop playing pattycake with the White House and start playing hardball — because this is one game America can’t afford to lose.
*However, truth is an absolute defense against defamation charges. If a statement is accurate, then by definition it is not defamatory.