The Mainstream Media Should Be Honest About Trump’s Border Sabotage
And Joe Biden should bully them into it
One of my first pieces for Off Message encouraged President Biden to (as we say in the business) “work the media refs” more consistently. Their doom-laden coverage of his Afghanistan withdrawal and the economy’s recovery from the pandemic left Americans badly misinformed and, relatedly, helped tank his public approval. A bit of grabbing the bull by the horns was thus in order and badly needed.
Well, it still is, and the House GOP’s seemingly successful effort to sabotage the Senate’s bipartisan border security and foreign aid bill presents another great opportunity: Everyone knows House Republicans took orders from Donald Trump, and Trump’s been quite clear that he wants to kill the Senate bill so that the border remains overwhelmed, and he can blame the disorder on Biden during the campaign.
But Trump’s self-interested angle on this bill is often omitted from or buried in news reports, when it’s really the whole story. And unless this pattern of subterfuge is widely understood, Trump’s plan could work.
CALLING THE SCHATZ
It’s genuinely important for people to understand this nuance—Trump didn’t just oppose the bill, he killed it to sustain chaos on the border for his own political gain. But I’m not certain that will be easily conveyed to the broader public if the mainstream press does its typically poor job covering the GOP’s cynical motives.
Sen Brian Schatz (D-HI) argued Monday that “House Republicans are underestimating how easy it will be to point out that this bill does the stuff they asked for and they suddenly opposed it because Trump wanted to deny Biden a victory. It’s quite easy to explain in the suburbs.”
Schatz is one of the very best in the Democratic caucus, but I think he’s underestimating how easily Republicans can muddle this issue if just a few things break their way.