Welp, here we go again. A “major” controversy erupts when a member of the “fake news” media gets crosswise with Donald Trump. Lines are drawn in the sand and yeah, it’s game on.
As RedState first reported on Wednesday, Trump “stormed out of a heated interview” with British journalist Piers Morgan after he pressed the former president on his insistence that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” — the same initial take of the New York Post:
“I think I’m a very honest man … much more honest than you, actually,” Trump said at one point.
“Really?” Morgan asked.
“Yeah,” Trump responded.
Elsewhere, Morgan told Trump the 2020 vote “was a free and fair election. You lost.”
“Only a fool would think that,” Trump shot back.
“You think I’m a fool?” Morgan retorted.
“I do now, yeah,” Trump responded.
“With respect, you haven’t produced the hard evidence,” Morgan told Trump of his claims, as the former president attempted to interject.
“I don’t think you’re real,” Trump finally shot back, later turning to the production crew and calling Morgan “very dishonest.”
Later in the day, Trump released audio, as reported by NBC News, that appears to refute earlier reports that he walked out of the interview over Morgan’s questions about the “stolen” election. “Piers got caught red-handed,” Trump said in a statement, “and the interview that I rather enjoyed doing is now in shambles.”
RedState then reported on Thursday morning that Morgan deceptively edited the video used in the promo.
If you haven’t seen the promo clip, here ya go.
Classic Piers Morgan, classic Donald Trump.
Time to change gears. While it appears that Morgan — or someone in production without his knowledge — edited interview footage for the purpose of hyping a promo video, the back-and-forth shots between Trump and Morgan, as well as the unimportant controversy itself, are irrelevant in the larger scheme of things.
What is important and will continue to grow in importance as 2024 gets closer, is Trump’s reaction to being questioned about his continuing claim that he actually “won” the 2020 election that was “stolen” from him.
Understand what I said — and what I did not.
I did not suggest Trump is right or wrong in his insistence that he won the election; I did say his recoiling reaction to a reporter or anyone else with the audacity to legitimately question him about his steadfast insistence that the election was stolen does not serve him well — and will serve him far worse in 2024.
Assuming Trump does announce his candidacy in the coming weeks and goes on to win the nomination — both appear to be safe bets as we speak, at least — one would assume the former president is fully aware he will be questioned ad nauseam about his continuing commentary about the election results, “massive” voter fraud, his pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to take an unconstitutional action (see: 12th Amendment, Electoral Count Act of 1887), and of course the January 6 Capitol riot.
Let’s also assume Trump continues to relitigate 2020 throughout the primaries and general election campaign, assuming he gets that far. Despite one’s views on the “stolen” election, “massive” voter fraud, and such, it is difficult to see how Trump and the Republican Party benefit from dragging 2020 into the 2024 election — an election in which voters will be asked to cast perhaps the most important vote of their lives.
And I don’t buy the “How can we assure future elections are fair, if we don’t find out what happened in 2020?” argument. 2024 is simply more important than Trump “getting even,” “settling the score,” or any of the other notions bandied about.
Political savvy and reality suggest the Republican effort in 2024 must be more cohesive than at any time in modern history. It hardly helps Trump if conservatives with the audacity to question anything he does or says, not to mention the “stolen” election, are summarily dismissed as “RINOs,” “Biden-lovers,” “CNN-lovers,” or worse.
I have been called “all of the above” and worse, which does not bother me in the least — it never has. Thing is, I voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020, and will do so again if he’s the nominee in 2024. While the attacks and epithets don’t bother me personally, when we reach the point where supporters must walk in lockstep, and the least of transgressors must be castigated and summarily dismissed, what have we become?
Unfortunately, in innumerable cases, we are already there.
Finally, a word about the practice of slapping “RINO” labels on Republicans who go “off-script.”
Opposition to a Republican politician— or anything that Republican does, says, or writes — does not make the opposer a “Republican in Name Only,” any more than a Democrat slapping a “racist” label on anyone who opposes Critical Race Theory. Please do not misunderstand: Of course I’m not equating the labels; I am saying both labels are meant to immediately discredit the person being labeled.
Ironically, in a way, Constitutional Conservatives are Republicans in name only — just not the way suggested by those who use it as a dismissive label. Constitutional Conservatives believe in limited government, personal liberties and freedom of speech, limited regulation and taxation, and of course, adherence to the U.S. Constitution and its Amendments. “Republican,” like “Democrat” and all political labels, has become meaningless.
Except to those who toss labels about with reckless, yet apparently satisfying, abandon.