• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

It’s Part of the Job…

twitter-laptopSarah Huckabee Sanders’ defense of President Trump’s Brzezinski tweets:

 Look, everybody wants to make this an attack on a woman and a — what about the constant attacks that he receives or the rest of us — I’m a woman, and I’ve been attacked by this show multiple times.  But I don’t cry foul because of it.  I think that you want to create this false narrative — one hand it’s like, let’s treat everybody equally and on the other hand they attack, attack, attack, and he responds and apparently that’s wrong.

First, being a public servant, especially serving as President or in the White House in general, means you are going to be criticized, lampooned, ridiculed, and even “attacked.”  It comes with the job.  The main reason we have a First Amendment protection  for free speech to guarantee a fundamental right to openly criticize government.  Note I am not saying that Sanders’ response raising First Amendment issues, but am rather noting the fundamental context in which this entire discussion exists.

Second, there is a profound difference between the president (or the press secretary, etc.) being criticized by the press and the President of the United States making direct, crude, and personal attacks on US citizens, even public figures/members of the media.

Third, the utter childishness of Sanders’ response is stunning.  It is the kind of thing children say (“he hit me first!”) to defend their bad actions.

Fourth, if the White House has a real rebuttal to the criticism lobbed at it, then answer away with arguments and facts, not personal attacks.

NFL fans will remember a famous (infamous?) rant by then Arizona Cardinal Coach Denny Green after blowing a lead to the Chicago Bears in which he keep repeating some variation of “The Bears are who we thought they were.”  That keeps popping up in my head every time Trump does something like this:  He is who we thought he was.  He is not going to change, mature, or grow into the office.  Folks who voted for him with that assumption in place need to reevaluate and think through who and what they voted for.

The degree to which defenders of the Trump are willing to so significantly discount the amount of responsibility that should be attached to the presidency is stunning and profoundly disquieting.   If a CEO of a major corporation went after a reporter who criticized their company in a similar fashion, the odds are good that said CEO would be out of a job (or, at least, on a very public contrition tour).  Indeed, from leaders in business, education, or other walks of life, there would be consequences for such public incivility.  That POTUS is held to a lower standard is more than disturbing.

Related Posts:

About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. SKI says:

    You give Trump-supporting GOP leaders way too much credit. They knew what they were getting and decided it didn’t matter because his party label (and SCOTUS).

    They are who they have been for the past 20 years – they place party over country and ideology over people.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  2. CSK says:

    You have to bear in mind that for Trumpkins, the fact that he’s a crude stupid vulgarian is a giant feature, not a bug. By lashing out at Brzezinski he proves what a manly tough guy he really is.

    As I mentioned on another thread, this is going to get worse. Scarborough has just accused Trump of what amounts to blackmail: Trump, Scarborough said, offered to kill a National Enquirer story unfavorable to Joe and Mika if they would agree to say nice things about him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  3. gVOR08 says:

    New graphic? I like it.

    Actually, Trump is proving worse than even I thought. I thought he was at least a marginally competent businessman. He’s on the TV machine behind me talking to the press with SK President Moon. He’s just babbling. He seems to have no idea what he and Moon just talked about. And he’s going to meet Putin at the G20 next week.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  4. de stijl says:

    Sarah Huckabee Sanders taught us that there could be a spokesperson worse in that role than Sean Spicer.

    At least Spicer didn’t invoke God in defence of Trump (that I’m aware of).

    There is almost too much shame to share here. They’ll find a way, I’m sure

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  5. gVOR08 says:

    @de stijl: Worse from whose point of view? Trump probably thinks she’s better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  6. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    “Fourth, if the White House has a real rebuttal to the criticism lobbed at it, then answer away with arguments and facts, not personal attacks.”

    Your conditional is based on an absurd abstraction. The idea that this administration will ever have a real rebuttal to any criticism is flummery at best.

    But I suspect that you already knew that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  7. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    The other thing that I’m having a hard time understanding is how Hope Hicks is getting to stay out of this shirtstorm. She’s pleasant, personable, and attractive–all features that Trump claims to value in PR missions such as this one. What does she have on him that allows her to say “no, I’m not going out there?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  8. grumpy realist says:

    As someone pointed out, if Trump had actually gone into basic military training rather than running away via his bone spur excuse, he would have REALLY learned about being the recipient of insults…

    For someone who claims to be the ultra-alpha male of the world, Trump certainly whines like four-year old. For heaven’s sake, show that you can stand up to a little name-calling, dammit!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  9. grumpy realist says:

    OT: Simone Veil just died.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  10. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    If a couple of cable talk show hosts calls you a liar, and incompetent…when you are manifestly a liar and incompetent…then is it a personal attack as Sanders claims as justification for Comb-over Donnies rant?

    Bottom line in all of this…Trump is one of the biggest wimps I have ever seen on the national stage. Even worse than Dan Marino…who previously held the record IMHO.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  11. de stijl says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Not Marino.

    Trump is Ryan Leaf.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. de stijl says:

    That’s a clown question, bro!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  13. Kylopod says:

    I’m a woman, and I’ve been attacked by this show multiple times.

    While I’m no regular watcher of Morning Joe, I have reason to suspect the show has never engaged in crude attacks on her personal appearance–or anyone else’s, for that matter. (And if they ever did attack Sanders in this manner, you can be sure the White House would in fact make a big fuss over it.) She’s defining the word “attack” so broadly it includes everything from crude sexist insults to high-brow policy critiques.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  14. Moosebreath says:

    “what about the constant attacks that he receives”

    Says the Deputy Press Secretary to the man who has attacked on a constant and ad homineml level everyone else he has disagreed with. Have the taunts “Lyin'” Ted Cruz, “Low Energy” Jeb Bush, “Crazy” Bernie Sanders, etc. been erased from her memory, or does she just think they have been erased from ours?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  15. JohnMcC says:

    “It’s part of the job” to deal with criticism if the job is to be President. If however one thinks one’s job is to be — say — ‘King’ or ‘Leader’ not so much. Allowing criticism is a way of spreading lack of confidence. Even lack of patriotism.

    It’s only a couple of short steps.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Janis Gore says:

    That last paragraph captures it for me. I was thinking along the same lines last night. Adjunct professors are getting pink slips for less.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. John Peabody says:

    Why on earth is this childish dust-up the lead story of today’s NY Times (at least the Kindle edition)? Is there anyone who didn’t know that he tweets childish things? I think tomorrow’s headline will be “Sunshine to Rise in East this morning”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. wr says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: “The idea that this administration will ever have a real rebuttal to any criticism is flummery at best.”

    Flummery. Wow. Haven’t seen that used since I was adapting Nero Wolfe books for TV. One of Rex Stout’s favorite words…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  19. Gustopher says:

    The couple on the receiving end of the tweets is claiming that they received multiple calls from the White House, informing them that there was going to be a National Enquirer story about them, but if they grovelled to the President, he would kill the story.

    It’s an absurd, ridiculous and pathetic claim.

    I’m 90% certain it is true, and the 10% doubt is more of a “did everyone write this down correctly, because it sounds too stupid to be true” variety. I’ll take the word of give-or-take respectable morning news hosts over Trump any day of the week.

    Besides, in any story about Trump, does he ever come out of it as anything but horrible? And it’s always worse than initially reported.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  20. James Pearce says:

    If a CEO of a major corporation went after a reporter who criticized their company in a similar fashion, the odds are good that said CEO would be out of a job

    Yeah, I don’t know….

    These things are rarely spontaneous. The CEO who criticized the reporter would likely be safe if his company’s major shareholders and the board had no problem with it.

    Which is to say, let’s stop being shocked that Trump acts like this, and start asking why his supporters have no problem with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  21. Tony W says:

    Literally the only reason Trump ran for President is that he wanted the acceptance he never got from New York society. He is deeply hurt by this, and by any form of non-acceptance.

    This is Trump’s Achille’s Heel. This is his Kryptonite. The opposition needs to exploit it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  22. CSK says:

    @Tony W:

    Absolutely. I’ve said it before, but the three words that best capture Trump are “failed social climber.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  23. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    I would just like to take a minute and run down the inventory of things that are going on while we are talking about the Snowflake’s mean tweets:
    The WSJ ran an article that hints at real collusion with the Russians:
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/gop-operative-sought-clinton-emails-from-hackers-implied-a-connection-to-flynn-1498770851
    Dumb Don is moving towards martial law in Chicago:
    http://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/trumps-feds-arrive-in-chicago-to-fight-gun-crime/
    Don the Con is very close to starting a trade war with China in spite of overwhelming advice against it:
    https://www.axios.com/exclusive-trump-plots-trade-wars-2450764900.html
    And on top of it all…Snowflake is about to be over-run by Putin at the G-20:
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/spies-fear-trumps-first-meeting-with-putin
    Lets keep our eye on the ball and not the shiny objects…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  24. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:

    “She’s defining the word ‘attack’ so broadly that it includes everything from crude sexist insults to high-brow policy critiques.”

    This is exactly what happened when the Trumpkins were Palinistas, and St. Joan of Wasilla was going to ride down on her snow machine from The Great White North and MAGA. If someone said something relatively innocuous such as “I don’t think Palin will run in 2012,” the vengeful hordes would sweep in and accuse the poster of being a Commie traitor or a lesbian babykiller or a Muslim worshipper or some such. Actually, it happened here on OTB.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  25. MBunge says:

    @James Pearce: Which is to say, let’s stop being shocked that Trump acts like this, and start asking why his supporters have no problem with it.

    You know, I kind of hate to always be the one to bring this stuff up but it continues to be relevant.

    HILLARY CLINTON WAS BEING INVESTIGATED BY THE FBI FOR POSSIBLE CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND NO ONE CARED.

    Or if that doesn’t do it for you…

    GEORGE W. BUSH AUTHORIZED WARRANTLESS SPYING ON AMERICANS AND THE TORTURE OF PRISONERS AND NO ONE CARED.

    Or maybe…

    BILL CLINTON. JUST BILL CLINTON.

    Or finally…

    THE ENTIRE BELTWAY MEDIA HAS BEEN ENGAGED IN AN ALL-OUT ATTEMPT TO DELEGITIMIZE A SITTING PRESIDENT (AND THE PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR HIM) BASED ON GARBAGE THEY ALL KNOW IS NONSENSE.

    Donald Trump launches an arguably unconstitutional military attack on a sovereign county which kills who knows how many people…Washington applauds. He Tweets a couple of insults about a pair of half-wit TV hosts…Washington is outraged. I don’t think Trump or his supporters are really the problem here.

    Mike

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 39

  26. Moosebreath says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Also going on is the Administration’s attempt to obtain personal info (including last 4 digits of Social Security numbers) on every registered voter in the country in the guise of trying to prove that voting fraud must exist somewhere.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  27. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:

    HILLARY CLINTON WAS BEING INVESTIGATED BY THE FBI FOR POSSIBLE CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND NO ONE CARED.

    That was complete BS and everyone knew it…and it was subsequently shown to be BS…like all the other Clinton conspiracy theories. It’s just an outright lie to say no one cared.

    GEORGE W. BUSH AUTHORIZED WARRANTLESS SPYING ON AMERICANS AND THE TORTURE OF PRISONERS AND NO ONE CARED.

    Seriously? No one cared? Another outright lie.

    BILL CLINTON. JUST BILL CLINTON.

    Literally years of investigations and millions of dollars to find out he lied about an extra-marital blow job. That’s all you got?

    THE ENTIRE BELTWAY MEDIA HAS BEEN ENGAGED IN AN ALL-OUT ATTEMPT TO DELEGITIMIZE A SITTING PRESIDENT (AND THE PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR HIM) BASED ON GARBAGE THEY ALL KNOW IS NONSENSE.

    Really? Please link to anything that proves beyond doubt that it is nonsense. Otherwise you are…you know…lying.
    If you have to lie to make a point it isn’t much of a point to begin with. But we all have been wondering when you would show up to shine Snowflake’s knob. Pathetic man that you are.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  28. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:
    It’s morbidly fascinating watching your decline. Like one of those time-lapse videos of a dead rodent rotting away.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  29. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    This is exactly what happened when the Trumpkins were Palinistas

    One of the most striking moments that indicated her selective outrage came in 2010, when Rahm was caught referring to left-wing complainers of the administration as “f*cking retarded.” He used the R-word! Palin, who has a child with Down’s Syndrome, immediately started calling for his resignation. Then Limbaugh snarkily remarked that he agreed with Rahm that liberals were “retards” and that they should hold a “retard summit.” Palin’s response? She didn’t mind because he was just being “not politically correct.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  30. James Pearce says:

    @MBunge:

    I don’t think Trump or his supporters are really the problem here.

    Well….I don’t know about all that. Trump is most definitely part of the problem. It’s not like he’s shook up the Washington status quo. He’s spinning and lying just like all the rest, isn’t he? (Remember the “Comey tapes?”)

    His supporters….now that’s another thing. I happen to believe that the only way out of this mess is to find consensus. Now I’m fully aware that there’s resistance to this idea on both the left and the right, but whatever….consensus isn’t optional. It’s necessary.

    Which makes Trump supporters necessary too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  31. KM says:

    @MBunge:

    He Tweets a couple of insults about a pair of half-wit TV hosts…Washington is outraged. I don’t think Trump or his supporters are really the problem here.

    The fact that you are OK with the sitting President of the United States making nasty personal commentary against private citizens on the same communications platform he communicates his “policy” on *is the problem*. Trump’s very proud of the fact that he uses it to “communicate directly with the people” so that makes his Twitter feed a de facto WH channel.

    Stop and let that sink in: the most powerful man in the country is using his preferred official channel to smear private citizens.

    That is not OK – not for liberals, republicans, men, women, ANYONE. These are records for the future. Imagine your grandchildren reading these; are they going to think “statesman” or “ignorant trash”? These are legal records and can be used/reference in court. These are motivators for people to spew hate online. These are reasons for our allies to be wary and enemies to think we are weak because who respects a 70yr child like that?

    And this is least of what he’s done. But no, you have to try and blame someone else so you can support this lunatic. If you look at this man, see what he does every damn day and STILL go “but but but CLINTONS!!” you are indeed a massive part of the problem. Where is the line that he can cross you won’t try and reach back for another cheap example to save him?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  32. KM says:

    The next Democratic President should start off their Inaugural Speech with the phrase “Thank god that low IQ small-handed little bitch is out of here, amirite?” and the GOP better not breath a word. What’s good for one President is good for the next.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  33. dmichael says:

    @James Pearce: Please explain to me how one reaches “consensus” with the Trumpistas who have displayed willful ignorance, uncontrollable anger, racism and/or misogyny. They are not concerned with policy but with performance. They like it when Trump displays his child-like petulance and spews abuse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  34. Steve V says:

    @MBunge:

    HILLARY CLINTON WAS BEING INVESTIGATED BY THE FBI FOR POSSIBLE CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND NO ONE CARED.

    To quote Director Comey, “there was no case there.” Did you see how he discussed it in front of the Senate?

    THE ENTIRE BELTWAY MEDIA HAS BEEN ENGAGED IN AN ALL-OUT ATTEMPT TO DELEGITIMIZE A SITTING PRESIDENT (AND THE PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR HIM) BASED ON GARBAGE THEY ALL KNOW IS NONSENSE.

    Now that is the fascinating part of all this — conservative media’s desperation to call the investigations over before they are finished. Well at least we know you’ve been listening to Mr. Hannity.

    Ken Starr was appointed to investigate Whitewater in August 1994. Do you know when he issued his report?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  35. Franklin says:

    @MBunge: I don’t think you were paying attention very well if you think no one cared about any one of those.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  36. James Pearce says:

    @dmichael:

    Please explain to me how one reaches “consensus” with the Trumpistas who have displayed willful ignorance, uncontrollable anger, racism and/or misogyny.

    Step 1: Imagine it’s possible.

    If it is not possible, grab a weapon and man the ramparts because we’ll be fighting over the partition at that point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  37. MarkedMan says:

    @MBunge: Wow. All caps. It’s been a while since I even saw a comment like that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  38. al-Alameda says:

    @MBunge:

    Donald Trump launches an arguably unconstitutional military attack on a sovereign county which kills who knows how many people…Washington applauds. He Tweets a couple of insults about a pair of half-wit TV hosts…Washington is outraged. I don’t think Trump or his supporters are really the problem here.

    A few observations:

    (1) Trump’s military attack in Syria was supported by Republicans, the same congressional folks who declined to give Obama the unilateral authority to launch attacks on ISIS encampments in Syria.

    (2) Who cares about Trump’s tweeted insults of Joe and Mika? Well, am I right to assume that you would have had the same dismissive reaction had Barack Obama insulted prominent Fox Media staff in the same juvenile manner?

    (3) In what way is Trump NOT the problem?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  39. Terrye Cravens says:

    @MBunge: If Trump tried to blackmail or threaten the hosts of that news show as has been alleged, then yes of course it is a big deal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  40. michael reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    He’s increasingly unhinged. All the Trumpies are. They thought they had finally picked a winner and he turned out to be the worst president in American history, a pathological liar, a stupidly self-destructive liar, an incompetent, a laughingstock, a criminal and a traitor.

    That’s got to be hard to take. That’s not misplacing a digit in an algebra equation, that’s an inability to add 1+1. Epic stupidity. Monumental stupidity.

    Reasonable people confronted with the Trump reality would shake their heads and admit they’d fwcked up. Not our friend @MBunge. No, he’s gonna flush himself right down Trump’s golden potty. Weak people are terrified of admitting error. I think they expect their dicks to fall off or something.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  41. Monala says:

    @michael reynolds: Yeah, he’s even writing in all caps these days…

    ETA: MarkedMan beat me to it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  42. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @wr: I’ve been looking for a chance to use “pfui,” but I haven’t seen anything where it would fit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  43. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @MBunge: Aren’t you tired of dragging around all that baggage from as much as 25 years ago?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  44. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @James Pearce: And we’re back to my asking y’all to please accept my personal and heartfelt apologies for not letting Angela, Huey, and Eldridge burn the sucka to the ground 50 years ago. We dropped the ball on that one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  45. An Interested Party says:

    The next Democratic President should start off their Inaugural Speech with the phrase “Thank god that low IQ small-handed little bitch is out of here, amirite?”

    Well, maybe Joe Biden would say something like that…in his defense, it would certainly have the ring of truth to it…

    They thought they had finally picked a winner and he turned out to be the worst president in American history…

    Indeed…how disgusting does someone have to be to make the likes of Richard Nixon, James Buchanan, and George W. Bush look sterling by comparison…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  46. bill says:

    yeah, but after an 8 yr hiatus it’s a little different. the chronic whining from the usual suspects is anticipated but still a pain.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  47. Franklin says:

    Remember when people called Obama thin-skinned? Ladies and gentlemen, I present Donald Trump.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  48. Facebones says:

    Hey, remember when Obama put his feet on the Oval Office desk and saluted the marines while holding a latte and people like Rush & Hannity and their drones lost their goddamn minds? “HE’S DISRESPECTING THE OFFICE!!!!!!”

    Oddly quiet about Trump and his Twitter vendettas, aren’t they?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  49. Steve V says:

    @Facebones: no, they aren’t quiet about them. They glory in them, and declare that the people Trump lashes out at have it coming.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  50. wr says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: “I’ve been looking for a chance to use “pfui,” but I haven’t seen anything where it would fit.”

    Isn’t it sort of the default response to any of Trump’s tweets?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  51. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @wr: Hadn’t thought of it that way. Good point. Alas, I don’t play Twitter. Or Facebook or Linktin, or whatever. My real life is busy enough that it precluded the need or desire for a virtual one. (And that would still be true if I was trapped in a cave in Azerbaijan.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  52. flat earth luddite says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: with

    With profound shame, I must confess that I, along with ‘Cracker,’ am directly responsible for being part of the generation that did not bitch-slap The Donald as a spoiled child, and also failed to allow Angela and Company to burn this MF to the ground.

    Having stated this, I fully expect to be tweeted to death, transported to Guantanamo next week, or deprived of my citizenship immediately.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0