Don’t shoot the messenger, Mr. President!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 08 November 2018, 12:00AM

It’s easy enough to understand. The President of the United States Donald Trump might be a little flustered given the results of the midterm elections, where the people of America have spoken, and given a sobering assessment of his tenure thus far.

The numbers speak for themselves. The Democratic Party has taken control of the House of Representatives while the Republicans have maintained control of the U.S. Senate holding the majority.

What it basically means is that while the Republicans still have control, they are not as powerful as they were at the start of Trump’s reign. At least that’s one way to look at it.

Whichever way we see it, it’s a pretty strong statement from the people of America about “Trumpism” and his administration’s “America First” agenda. Not that Trump would mind too much. In his own thinking, he probably sees the results as a positive.

Keep in mind that some people will say – and have been saying – that there is nothing strange about voters swinging against the President during a midterm election. We saw it during the Obama administration and we are seeing it again.

Here’s the thing though, politicians don’t like seeing their grip on power being loosened as they watch. The game is always about winning and doing whatever, however, and wherever possible to consolidate the iron grip on power.

Which is precisely what Trump and his administration had been trying to do, prior to the polls on Wednesday.

A few days ago, I was in the U.S. watching all this drama unfold. It was fascinating and I can tell you this much: the Americans are opinionated people, with very strong views about the politics, and the politicians whose decisions play a key role in determining the way forward for their nation.

Judging from the conversations on the ground in San Francisco and Utah, this midterm election was more or less a test of Trump politics and how the Americans feel about what’s happening in their nation, which ultimately impact the rest of us. 

Like the rest of the world, it’s a nation where some people are still trying to come to terms with Trump and his style of leadership. It’s a leadership style that’s very different from what they are used to, especially with someone like the polished Barack Obama, who had recently held the role.  

Not only that, Trump’s reign has been controversial from the word go, it has brought to the fore so many issues that have galvanized people to express their views about race, gender, social ills, education and much, much more. 

But it’s not likely to change anytime soon. Not as long as Trump is at the helm.

This is a machine that continues to generate controversy after controversy, as though the issues at the heart of these are not serious enough, as they are. As if the controversies we’ve had so far are not polarizing enough, Trump doesn’t appear to want to stop, slow down or change the course altogether. 

No way. Yesterday, his combative relationship with the media plummeted to a new low when he attacked some journalists during a press conference. He did not hold back when he called them rude and racist.

“It’s such a hostile media,” Trump said, during his post-midterms news conference at the White House, after ordering reporter April Ryan of the American Urban Radio Networks, to sit down when she tried to ask him a question.

“I can do something fantastic, and they make it look not good.”

He also slammed CNN’s Jim Acosta and NBC News’ Peter Alexander. Acosta had asked him about why he referred to a caravan of migrants heading from Latin America to the southern U.S. border as an invasion.

“You should let me run the country,” Trump said. “You run CNN and if you did it well, your ratings would be much better.”

When Acosta pressed on with another question, Trump said “that’s enough!” and a White House aide unsuccessfully tried to grab the microphone from Acosta. After Acosta asked about the investigation of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, and Trump tried to turn to Alexander.

“CNN should be ashamed of itself having you work for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN. The way you treat Sarah Sanders is horrible. The way you treat other people is horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way.”

Alexander came to his colleague’s defense. “I’ve traveled with him and watched him,” Alexander said. “He’s a diligent reporter who busts his butt like the rest of us.”

“I’m not a big fan of yours, either,” Trump replied.

Later he told him: “Just sit down. When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people.”

This incident took another turn yesterday, this time Acosta has been banned from the White House. Associated Press reported that his press pass, which he uses to gain access to the White House, was suspended. He was stopped by the Secret Service when he tried to re-enter the White House.

This drama is obviously still developing. Stay tuned.

But judging from the past two years, we know Trump’s relationship with some of the mainstream media has been rocky. As the President of the United States of America, the land of the free and home of the brave, he should know better.

Someone should remind him not to shoot the messenger. 

Have a great Friday Samoa, God bless!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 08 November 2018, 12:00AM
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