News & Politics

Trump Trance Strikes Again: Trump Says 'Senate Rules,' Left Hears 'Constitution'

By Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

You know, I’m honestly starting to think that Trump has actually driven a lot of people to madness. Trump gave an interview to Martha MacCallum that ran on Friday night, the 99th day of her 100 Days program. Here’s part of the transcript:

[TRUMP:] I understand what has to be done, I get things done I’ve always been a closer. We don’t have a lot of closers in politics and I understand why. It’s a very rough system, it’s an archaic system. You look at the rules of the Senate, even the rules of the House, but the rule of the Senate and some of the things you have to go through, it’s really a bad thing for the country in my opinion.

There are archaic rules and maybe at some point, we’re going to have to take those rules on because for the good of the nation things are going to have to be different. You can’t go through a process like this. It’s not fair, it forces you to make bad decisions. I mean, if you’re forced into doing things that you would normally not do except for these archaic rules, so —

MACCALLUM: Like what, how would you change them?

TRUMP: Well, you know, you look at the voting and you look at the filibuster system. And it used to be. You know, I always thought of filibuster where you stand up and you talk all day and then somebody else–

MACCALLUM: You don’t have to do that anymore.

TRUMP: No, you don’t have to do it anymore. Today you say filibuster, guys sit home and they watch television or whatever they do. I think, you know, the filibuster concept is not a good concept to start off with but if you’re going to filibuster, let somebody stand up for 20 hours and talk and do what they have to do or even if they are reading comic books to everybody, let them do it, but honestly, the whole, with so many bad concepts in our rules and it’s forcing bad decisions. I really see. I see just — I’ve seen this — I’ve seen it over the years where bad decisions are made, decisions that nobody wanted are made because of archaic rules and that’s something that I think we’re going to have to change.

Fox reported it straight:

Trump told MacCallum he’s “not really an ideologue.” He described himself as “a person of common sense,” noting he used to be a Democrat.

“I get things done. I’ve always been a closer,” Trump said.

He griped about “archaic” rules in the Senate, like those pertaining to the filibuster. Republicans effectively eliminated the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees in order to push through Gorsuch, but for now senators can still filibuster legislation – meaning they demand a 60-vote threshold.

“Maybe at some point we’re going to have to take those rules on,” Trump said, before naming the filibuster as a problem.

But now let’s look at the way it’s being reported elsewhere.

Here’s the Independent:

Donald Trump slams ‘archaic’ US constitution that is ‘really bad’ for the country

Republican claims the checks and balances on power woven into the US system is to blame for his problems

Donald Trump has blamed the US constitution for the problems he has encountered during his first 100 days in office.

In an interview with Fox News to mark the milestone, the Republican called the system of checks and balances on power “archaic”.

“It’s a very rough system,” he said. “It’s an archaic system … It’s really a bad thing for the country.”

Then there’s the Guardian:

Donald Trump blames constitution for chaos of his first 100 days

The president is learning the limits of power

This is getting long already, so I won’t quote the article, but encourage you to read it for yourself. I will say, they manage to pull in Loyalty Day and the notion that Keystone Pipeline jobs aren’t real jobs. (PoliticusUSA is even more amusing, but some of you may be eating. I won’t actually quote them. Remember, you were warned.)

In any case, it really is more of the Trump Trance effect: Trump says something, and people decide he said something else, even — by careful manipulation of context and straight out misquotation — apparently quote him as saying something else. And people believe it, and — if you were to look at my Twitter feed — get really angry when it’s pointed out it’s just not true.