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The Media’s Jihad Against the Trump White House Staff

By now the stories are growing.

The problem in the Trump White House is:

A. Reince Priebus
B. Kellyanne Conway
C. Stephen Bannon
D. Stephen Miller
E. Jared Kushner
F. Sean Spicer
G. Michael Flynn

Pick one, any one. Then sit back and recall the stories from the Obama administration that suggested the problem in the Obama White House was:

A. Rahm Emanuel
B. David Axelrod
C. Valerie Jarrett
D. Robert Gibbs
E. James Jones
F. Melody Barnes
G. Cass Sunstein

Notice anything? Strange as it may be, every member of the Trump team listed above has been written up somewhere in the media (if not in multiple places) as a problem for the new president. Reince Priebus is said to be over his head as chief of staff (the New York Times). Kellyanne Conway has blundered badly with a joking one-liner about buying Ivanka’s stuff (just about all media outlets). Stephen Bannon is the heart of darkness who, along with Stephen Miller, botched the immigration executive order. Jared Kushner has his father-in-law suddenly doubting his competence. Sean Spicer is in hot water for the way he conducts press briefings, winning for himself the doubtful honor of being mocked by a woman (Melissa McCarthy) on Saturday Night Live. And General Michael Flynn? Skating on seriously thin ice over his contact with a Russian Ambassador after being appointed the President’s NSC adviser.

You recall these kind of stories dominating the media about the Obama counterparts to all these Trump staffers, yes? Wait… no? Well, gee. Why might that be? Could it just possibly have any relationship at all to the reality that the media loathes Donald Trump and the Trump agenda in direct proportion to the degree it loved Barack Obama and his agenda?

Answer? Of course it does. The elephant in the room in these stories about the Trump White House staff is not just that the liberal media can’t stand the new president — it can’t abide his agenda. And watching one executive order after another pour out of the Trump White House that is at a 180-degree variance with the Obama-era and all things far Left, the media reflexively zeroes in on the Trump staff. Thus the stories.

Steve Bannon is really the president. Or, according to Time magazine, which has put him on the cover, he is “The Great Manipulator” of the President. And he’s a white supremacist. Not to mention he’s anti-Semitic. Oh, and by the way, he’s incompetent too. Kellyanne Conway ignored Ethics Rules 101. She has no integrity and she went out of her way to make the rich Ivanka even richer using her public position. And so it goes through the list.

Does this not mean that at any given moment President Trump may in fact have a genuine problem with one of his staffers? Of course not. And when, for one reason or another, he has in the past decided there was no longer a fit with staffer A, B, or C, he has dismissed them, hired a replacement, and moved on. But that’s not what is going on here when almost every single one of Trump’s senior staffers is under assault.

Take the latest assault on Steve Miller. The Washington Post headlined Miller’s point about terrorism this way:

Stephen Miller’s claim that 72 from banned countries were implicated in ‘terroristic activity’

Run as a “fact checker” story, the Post report says, in part, this:

“First of all, 72 individuals, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, have been implicated in terroristic activity in the United States who hail from those seven nations, point one.”
— White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Feb. 12, 2017

“We know there’s at least several dozen, perhaps many more than that, cases of terrorism from these countries that have happened in the United States in terms of terroristic plots, terroristic activity, material support for terrorism, supporting terrorism overseas, all different kinds of terroristic activity that’s been interdicted in the United States tracing back to these seven countries.”
— Miller, ABC’s “This Week,” Feb. 12

Miller earned Four Pinocchios for repeating debunked claims about voter fraud on the Sunday shows. But he made other problematic claims as well. In defending President Trump’s executive order on immigration, he said on the Sunday shows that dozens of people “have been implicated in terroristic activity,” including providing material support for terrorism.

To begin, there is voter fraud in this country. Non-citizens have voted in U.S. elections — as documented right here by John Fund in National Review Online. Wrote Fund in 2014, in part:

In 2005, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that up to 3 percent of the 30,000 people called for jury duty from voter-registration rolls over a two-year period in one of the 94 current U.S. district courts were non-citizens.

In 2012, a local NBC station in Fort Myers, Fla., found that at least 100 individuals in one county had been excused from jury duty because they were not citizens but were registered to vote. Hinako Dennett, who is not a citizen, told the station that she voted “every year.”

A 1996 congressional race in California may have been stolen by non-citizen voting. Democrat Loretta Sanchez won by only 979 votes, and an investigation by the House Committee on Oversight turned up 624 invalid ballots cast by non-citizens who were on federal immigration records, along with 124 improper absentee ballots. The committee found “circumstantial” evidence of 196 additional non-citizen votes that it did not include in its tally. Its investigation could not determine the number of illegal-alien votes that might have been cast: “If there is a significant number of ‘documented aliens’ in INS records and on the Orange County voter registration rolls, how many illegal or undocumented aliens may be registered to vote in Orange County?”

An accurate assessment of the magnitude of non-citizen voting is difficult. There is no systematic check of voter-registration rolls by states to find non-citizens, and the relevant federal agencies refuse — in direct violation of federal law — to cooperate with those few state election officials who attempt to verify citizenship status.

In other words? Right from the get go the Post story deliberately tried to paint Stephen Miller — and hence the Trump White House — as pushing “debunked” and false information. When in fact this was not the case. And in trying to debunk Miller on terrorism the paper only highlighted exactly how correct he was, coming up with this utterly laughable reasoning:

But it’s important to note that being convicted of material support is not always evidence that the person was planning a terrorist attack or terrorism-related activities.

Uh-huh.

And so it goes. The subject may change. It could be terrorism. Illegal immigration. Obamacare. Ivanka’s brand. Anything. The subject is irrelevant. The game is to zero in on this or that Trump White House staffer and paint them with some form of journalistic radioactivity.

Have we seen this before? Answer: yes. In the Reagan era the favorite target of the media was Reagan’s Counselor to the President Ed Meese. Why Meese? Because Meese was both powerful — and most importantly conservative. He was the Stephen K. Bannon of the Reagan White House. Hence he was subjected to relentless attacks by both the media and Democrats as an extremist when he wasn’t busy being incompetent.

To go back further to the Kennedy era the double-game can be spotted quickly. Recall the horrified stories that Bannon had been added to the National Security Council. The import being that as the ex-chairman of Breitbart Bannon had no national security background and thus his appointment to the NSC roster of senior officials was both as appalling as it was unprecedented.

Hmmm. Remember that small moment in history known as the Cuban Missile Crisis? When JFK faced the reality that nuclear war might be at hand? Serving as his main advisors was what was called in the day the “Ex-Comm” — the Executive Committee of the National Security Council. And listed right there as members of the Ex-Comm were 34-year-old Kennedy speechwriter Ted Sorensen and 38-year-old Ken O’Donnell — a longtime Kennedy political aide. In other words, as the possibility of nuclear war loomed, JFK was looking to a speechwriter and a Boston pol for advice. The Ex-Comm has been hailed by historians for the brilliance of its members and its calm, cool management of the Cuban Missile Crisis. (And in defense of JFK — aides Sorensen and O’Donnell were on the Ex-Comm because JFK trusted their advice and good judgment. Ditto Trump and Bannon.) But reviewing Trump’s appointment of Bannon to the NSC? Bannon the Sorensen or O’Donnell figure? Oh noooooo. Disaster looms!

So what do we have here with this plethora of stories about the Trump White House staff? What we have is a media that cannot abide President Trump much less his agenda — and one of the ways to defeat both, so it believes, is to go after his staff. One by one. Reince today, Kellyanne and Steve Bannon yesterday, and Steve Miller tomorrow. Or whomever. Then… repeat. Endlessly.

It’s a very old Washington liberal media game. It was in fact played with the Reagan staff. And safe to say, Trump supporters — like the Reagan supporters of the day — understand the game.

Which is, at least in part, exactly why they voted for the President in the first place.

Jeffrey Lord
Jeffrey Lord
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 Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan. An author and CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com and @JeffJlpa1. His new book, What America Needs: The Case for Trump, is now out from Regnery Publishing.
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