Jan 14, 2017 (WASHINGTON) In an interview on MSNBC John Lewis questioned the legitimacy of the Trump presidency, citing the Russian hacking. He also announced that he was not going to attend the inauguration on Tuesday. We saw a Twitter response from the president-elect soon after. Here are the tweets.
This is worthy of discussion for a few reasons. The first one is that Lewis is a figure, a giant even, of the Civil Rights movement. He marched with Doctor Martin Luther King and he is the last of the speakers still alive who were present at the March on Washington in 1963.
The second is that this is not just being picked up by the US Press, but also the foreign press. For example, La Prensa has this article already up. This is a Mexican paper. The BBC has also picked up the story, and how badly Trump has been slammed.
Among the California delegation US Senator Kalala Harris tweeted the following:
This story has also been picked up by the Toronto Star. So this has gone beyond US borders and with good reason. There is a lot of anxiety over the incoming administration and what it will mean. This is not just in the United States. Also, John Lewis got Trump to react angrily on Twitter on Martin Luther King weekend. To say that this was tone deaf is not missing the mark.
This has led to as of now 15 other members of Congress that will not attend the inauguration. This administration is starting already under multiple scandals, and faux scandals, as well as fights. This is very rare albeit not unprecedented. The last time a President began his administration under a shadow of a scandal was Richard Milhaus Nixon, after the 1972 election. Nixon also went to war with any critic, including the media and Congress. The differences between 2016 and 1972 are vast as well.
Democrats held both houses of Congress, we were in the midst of the Cold War and Vietnam was still ever present in the American soul. The war was to last all the way to 1975, though the draft was to end in 1973, that shadow still hung over many young men. Nixon had also been elected to a second term. Trump has not been sworn in yet, and he is already triggering angry responses in both China and a possible trade war with Mexico that could cost the United States 5 million jobs.
There is an expectation that Trump will change his demeanor once he takes the oath on Tuesday. What happened between Lewis and Trump this weekend no longer surprises us. They are part of the pattern. This was not just an attack on Lewis, but quite frankly an attack on civil rights. Trump is trying to discredit Lewis, like he has attacked the media, and has attached anybody who disagrees with him. They are utterly connected. It is time to not normalize Trump, but understand the madness to his method. There is one, and once you figure it out, the seemingly insane Tweets make a lot of sense. Trump is setting the media agenda every morning.
He is using the Twitter as a strategic tool. While he tweets, what else is happening in the background that will be far more damaging and none is talking about? Whether this is the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (which will lead to a $9.1 Trillion dollar increase in the federal deficit and 2. 6 million jobs lost in the course of this year, among them 100,000 in California). Or the fact that Congress is exploring a new tax system for both imports and exports that will impact the average consumer.
You know that when Steve Forbes is against it, there is a reason for that. Let’s dissect this first. When you buy a pair of sneakers that costs $40 dollars, but it cost the importers $30, they only pay taxes on those ten dollars. To force bringing back jobs, now the store will have to pay taxes on the full price. Guess who is going to pay more for imported goods, or gas? Yes, John Q citizen. This is the beginning of a value added tax, as backhanded and back door as this sounds. Forbes has been opposed to a VAT, which adds a tax at every stage of exchange, forever.
There is a nice little carrot for business. IF they make products in the United States and export them, they will not have to pay taxes for the full price, and in fact, will be able to deduct the cost of making it. So in theory that will force manufacturing to come back. Never mind this might be in violation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade agreements we have signed. It might also trigger a trade war. It will also slow down the economy and likely trigger a recession in the United States.
So yes, the tweets were in extremely bad taste and quite frankly Trump owes an apology to Lewis, not that we expect to see it. But think wider as to what is not been discussed every time we have a twitter storm. They are strategic in nature. It is working.