Even though the fake news about the alleged Trump request to move the warship USS John S. McCain out of sight during his visit to Japan quickly unraveled, that hasn’t stopped the fake news media from trying to get as much mileage out of it as they can. It was just too good of a story that liberals (who suddenly love the same man they accused of being racist for having the audacity to run against Barack Obama in 2008) could salivate over. If Trump had actually made the request I’m sure they’d have called it an impeachable offense.
Of course, when it turned out that Trump was completely unaware of the whole business involving the warship, it appeared that another Orange Man Bad narrative had just blown up in their faces… That was until CNN’s Chris Cillizza came up with a new narrative. In an article headlined, “Donald Trump made it OK for this USS John McCain nonsense to happen,” Cillizza attempts to finagle a way to still blame Trump for the whole affair. “President Donald Trump didn’t know that the White House Military Office asked lower-level US Navy officials to keep the USS John S. McCain out of his sight during his recent trip to Japan, but, man, did he ever set the table for something like that to happen,” he wrote.
After quoting a number of anti-McCain comments by Trump, Cillizza argues that anyone with a pulse over the last three years understands “that Trump doesn’t think much of McCain and might not take kindly to seeing the name of his nemesis on a US ship while in Japan.” So even though it was not Trump’s decision it was Trump’s fault. As absurd as that argument is, Cillizza took this theory even further.
On their face, Trump’s denials and disavowals are literally correct. He didn’t order that the USS John S. McCain be moved so that he would never see it during his trip to Japan. He didn’t hold a torch and march through Charlottesville’s streets chanting “Jews will not replace us.” But that isn’t really the point. Because in both those situations, Trump set the tone — in his administration and in the country — where people felt empowered to take those actions.
Do you see how it works? The whole Trump/McCain brouhaha isn’t the point. Trump, by default, is guilty of any bad thing the left tries to accuse him of because he “empowers” people to do bad things. “The fact is that Trump provides cover for this sort of garbage by the way in which he conducts himself and his office,” wrote Cillizza. “He might not have sent the email about the USS John McCain himself. But without his past attacks on McCain, that email never gets sent.” Pardon me while I look for past articles written by Cillizza where he argued that Barack Obama’s smearing of police officers as racist empowered those responsible for the huge spike in cop killings during his presidency.
Matt Margolis is the author of The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama and the bestselling The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published in July 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis