After the display of the predictably despicable behavior (in combination with a basketful of lies) Donald Trump served up at the CNN Town Hall last week, the network then extended an invitation to some of their contributors — both liberal and conservative — to offer up their assessments about Trump’s performance. Among those who did so was Scott Jennings, a Republican Party campaign adviser, former special assistant to President George W. Bush, and a former campaign adviser to Sen. Mitch McConnell.
Jennings’ combination of vapid rationalizations, intentional side-stepping of important matters, and mealy-mouth support for a host of irrelevancies collectively served as Exhibit A for how difficult it is to legitimately support Trump’s countless shortcomings. Trump once again made clear the dangers his continuing presence on the national stage pose to all of us. Pretending that his behavior and comments are perfectly normal and even admirable is easy enough … if sucking up is the only mandate. Reality, truth-telling, and the related consequences require different rules.
The contortions Trump’s more prominent sycophants routinely display in order to ignore or excuse away his countless indecencies and affronts to acceptable behavior cannot always be easy. Apologists must check at the door any remaining traces of decency; sense of shame; appreciation for honest, fair-minded analysis; truth-telling; respect for not only democracy but for Trump supporters themselves; personal integrity, and any lingering reluctance to fully embarrass oneself in order to remain in good standing as a purveyor of Trumpian distortions and deceit.
Jennings wasted no time in focusing on an irrelevant, hyper-exaggerated comment supposedly indicative of Trump’s impressive fortitude and strength en route to what’s viewed an inevitable:
Trump likely agreed to the CNN town hall to show he’s vigorous enough to handle the rigors of a campaign and ultimately another term in the White House.
Interesting deflection and spin! What was “vigorous” about Trump’s offensive commentary; general rudeness; blatant lying; embarrassing neediness; and assorted, random displays of self-serving nonsense? Those examples of “vigorous” are supposed to translate into even a single…