It has been amply established that Donald Trump hasn’t even begun to drain the swamp. Far from it. Anyone who isn’t wearing red or orange blinders can see it. He is, without a doubt, the most unfit and unqualified man to occupy the White House in recent memory. Trump bills himself as a non-traditional politician. But in truth, he is the epitome of the classic stereotype of a politician–someone who will do anything and crawl into bed with anyone to get elected, and will do anything and crawl into bed with anyone to keep his job.
Most of the nation saw this on sordid display on Tuesday, when the acting American ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, testified behind closed doors about Trump’s attempt to strongarm Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden. Taylor detailed how he learned that Trump, through EU ambassador Gordon Sondland, insisted that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky personally state that he was opening an investigation into the former vice president.
Portions of Taylor’s testimony had even the most grizzled lawmakers gasping, in part because of anecdotes like this.
This statement should, by itself, leave no doubt–the swamp hasn’t drained. It’s overflowed several times over. But believe it or not, we got equally solid proof on Monday that Trump has allowed the swamp to overflow into the White House. His campaign tacitly endorsed a right-wing provocateur whose idea of combating “fake news” has often amounted to churning out fake news of his own.
On Monday, Trump touted the latest edition of his official podcast to his Facebook followers. He bills it as an effort to tell the world things “that often go unreported by the Fake News Media.” But one of his guests should leave people wondering about his definition of “fake news.” That guest was James O’Keefe, impresario of Project Veritas, an outfit infamous for targeting journalists with selectively edited video and audio with the supposed goal of enforcing “media accountability.”
O’Keefe’s interview took up the second half of the podcast. Listen here. Starting at around the 15:40 mark, O’Keefe sat down with Trump campaign press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
O’Keefe recalled how he’d attended the White House social media summit in July. He believed it was an example of the “synergy” between Project Veritas and the current administration. He also saw a lot of parallels between the attacks he has faced and the attacks Trump has faced. He also touted the large number of whistleblowers at Internet companies and media companies that have come forward to claim that their employers are deliberately trying to muzzle conservative sentiments.
It says a lot about Trump that he supposedly believes there is “synergy” between his team and O’Keefe’s minions. Let’s take a look at O’Keefe’s dossier to see what this means, shall we?
It appears that the president of the United States is tacitly endorsing a man who singlehandedly drove ACORN out of existence with a series of selectively edited videos that made it appear ACORN personnel were encouraging criminal behavior. In other words, O’Keefe rose to fame by churning out videos that were, by any reasonable standard, fake news.
It appears that the president of the United States is tacitly endorsing a man who has no qualms about attempting to fraudulently obtain primary ballots, trying to rook campaign workers into committing voter fraud, and trying to rook state workers into committing Medicaid fraud.
And it appears that the president of the United States is tacitly endorsing a man who tried to trick The Washington Post into writing a bogus story accusing Roy Moore of impregnating a woman when she was a teenager. It was part of a ham-handed effort to attack The Post for its stories about women who claimed Moore sexually assaulted them and improperly pursued them while they were teenagers.
To make matters even worse, O’Keefe admitted that he believed Moore’s accusers were credible–but he was more concerned about media bias than their credibility. In other words, O’Keefe had no qualms about churning out fake news as part of a campaign of victim-shaming. There is something very wrong when the president of the United States feels any kind of “synergy” with someone who is, to use the most diplomatic terms possible, a swamp creature of the worst type.
We already knew Trump’s campaign standards are almost nonexistent. This is a man who, at the very least, fostered an environment in which it was acceptable for senior aides to solicit help from a hostile foreign government. But he cannot spin efforts to call out his association with O’Keefe as a “Democrat WITCH HUNT!” or a deep state smear job. After all, even conservative pundits decried his attempt to sting The Post over Moore.
According to The Daily Caller, Trump is relying heavily on audio gleaned by O’Keefe as part of an effort to call out CNN for falsely advertising itself as a news organization. Given O’Keefe’s past history, it’s very likely these tapes were yanked several miles out of context. Put another way, it shouldn’t be the least bit surprising that O’Keefe churned out fake news in order to expose CNN as fake news.
But it says a lot that Trump even went near O’Keefe at all. The fact that he did so, given O’Keefe’s appalling history, should leave no doubt–“drain the swamp” is just another Trump lie.
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