12 Moments Of Right-Wing Horror And Absurdity In 2016
Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
President-elect Donald Trump had the most perfect New Year’s tweet. And by “perfect” we mean perfectly awful. Say what you will, the man has an uncanny ability to compress his entire sick personality into a mere 140 characters.
“Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!” he tweeted.
It’s a little hard to celebrate the end of 2016, a truly awful year, when in 20 days, this petty, vindictive man with the maturity and impulse control of a five-year-old and the ossified views of a dinosaur will be president.
Though you may be cowering hungover under your bed in dread at the idea, we thought we’d take you on a little stroll to recap of some of the horrors—and absurdities—the right-wing visited upon us during the year that was.
1. Donald Trump staged a year-long assault on truth.
Donald Trump lies all the time. He lies malignantly, and he lies ridiculously. Of course, his entire political career is founded on the “birther” lie, which he still brags about. He ran his campaign on lies about black crime, dangerous immigrants, and non-existent jobs, more or less defrauding the American people in the same way he defrauded students at Trump University. In some cases, the lies he told were so utterly, demonstrably false that they were almost funny. Almost.
“There is no drought,” Donald Trump told Californians while campaigning there last May.
If there is a water problem, he continued, it’s because someone closed the water, and he’s going to open it.
“If I win, believe me, we’re going to start opening up the water so that you can have your farmers survive,” Trump said.
It’s just so crazy to say this. Arguably, it’s one thing to deny climate change, which is a bit complicated and requires scientists to explain it. But droughts? Not to mention air pollution. Dude, we can see those.
Another bizarre one in the final days of the campaign was a depiction of how President Obama treated a protester at a Clinton campaign rally:
“He was talking to the protester, screaming at him, really screaming at him,” Trump told his apparently insanely gullible crowd in Tampa, Florida.
“By the way, if I spoke the way Obama spoke to that protester, they [note: the mean old media] would say, ‘He became unhinged! He spent so much time screaming at this protester and frankly, it was a disgrace.”
This was, in fact, the very opposite of what had happened and been televised. Obama had urged the slightly rowdy crowd to take it easy on the protester, who was older and appeared to be a veteran. It was not just a lie, it was a masterpiece of projection. For, Trump is the one who consistently endangered protesters at his rallies by literally inciting his supporters to rough them up and worse.
2. Trump spokesperson Scottie Nell Hughes confirms facts don’t matter anymore.
The persistence and outrageousness of lies can be attributed the sobering reality that the Trump era helped usher in the “post-truth” world we now find ourselves living in. The tweeter-in-chief spreads unfounded conspiracy theories, spins minor victories into major coups, and occasionally in an unguarded moment spews some accidental truth about how he can’t believe how many people actually believe anything he says.
But still, you’re not supposed to just come out and say that truth and facts don’t matter.
CNN Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes confirmed all of our worst fears after the election when she said, “There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts,” on the Diane Rehm Show on WAMU, an NPR affiliate.
She was explaining the truth according to Trump to her fellow aghast panelists when it comes to the tweeter-in-chief’s claim of, “millions of fraudulent voters,” having given Hillary Clinton her 2.8 million popular vote victory.
Here is what Hughes purported to be her logic:
“Mr. Trump’s tweets amongst a certain crowd, a large—a large part of the population, are truth. When he says that millions of people illegally voted, he has some—in his—amongst him and his supporters, and people believe they have facts to back that up. Those that do not like Mr. Trump, they say that those are lies, and there’s no facts to back it up.”
That is seriously scary. We have a president and his minions who now believe truth is what he says it is.
3. Trump surrogates wildly misunderstand Pussygate.
Trump’s recorded assertions that he could grab women by the genitals because he is famous threw some of his surrogates into disarray, but not all. And a few of them performed some of the more hilarious contortions seen on the campaign trail to deflect attention from the damaging revelations.
One was Newt Gingrich who reinforced his already creepy image by conflating sex and sexual assault in a dustup with Megyn Kelly in October. While she pressed for answers and expressed concerns for women’s safety, Gingrich countered with the accusation that Kelly is just “fascinated with sex,” because she kept on talking about it.
Funnier still was Betsy McCaughey, the former Lieutenant Governor or New York, whose nut job takedown of Obamacare invented the concept of death panels. She argued that if you like Beyonce’s music, you can’t complain about sexual assault. Like other right-wingers, she seemed to think the problem with the tape was Trump’s foul language, rather than the whole rapey/consent thing.
Hillary Clinton, a fan of Beyonce, likes bad words more than Donald Trump, McCaughey argued, before whipping out and performing the lyrics to “Formation.”
“‘I came to slay, bitch. When he f-ed me good I take his ass to Red Lobster.’ That happens to be from Beyoncé, her favorite performer,” McCaughey said of Clinton. “Whom she says she idolizes and would like to imitate. There’s a lot of hypocrisy, in Hillary Clinton expressing such horror at language on the bus.”
McCaughey was triumphant. She really scored there.
Later, after several women accused Trump of sexually assaulting them, McCaughey called such accusations an example of “man-shaming” and suggested the women should not be believed.
“With all due respect, that was the same thing that the folks over at Bill Cosby’s camp said,” CNN Don Lemon pointed out.
“Well, and sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong,” McCaughey countered.
Ummm, yeah. They were right.
4. Ted Cruz’s unconscionable defense of Senate’s despicable blocking of Obama Supreme Court appointment, and threat to continue under a Clinton administration.
In October, Ted Cruz, who for some reason had forgotten that everyone including his own party detests him, floated an idea about the Supreme Court. Maybe, if Hillary Clinton were to win the presidency, Senate Republicans really would just take all of their toys and go home and stonewall on any Supreme Court appointment she attempted to make. So there.
“There is long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices,” Cruz lied at a campaign event. “Just recently Justice [Stephen] Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job, that’s a debate that we are going to have.”
Cruz’s threat did not quite pack the punch of fellow tea partier Joe Walsh’s threat to “grab a musket” if the election did not go Trump’s way, but was more in Cruz’s trademark mealy-mouthed and thoroughly dishonest style.
For starters, there is no long history of that, and secondly, Breyer did not say that. The Senate’s inaction on Supreme Court appointees has severely and demonstrably affected the high court’s ability to do its job. Deadlocking on cases involving immigration and unions and other vital issues that have come before it means the court is literally failing to do its job, which is to decide things.
The Supreme Court is only the best known example of the harm GOP stonewalling has done to the judiciary. Republicans have confirmed only 18 of Obama’s federal court nominees, and created a “judicial emergency,” which is a term for when courts are so back-logged and caseloads are so high that Americans’ access to justice is endangered.
Cruz knows about this emergency and has gleefully propagated it. Unlike his idiotic fellow traveler, John McCain, whom Cruz was echoing. Cruz is a lawyer and touts himself as a constitutionalist, but for some reason it’s okay for him to ignore that part of the constitution that gives the powers of appointing justices to the president.
Cut to present and Cruz’s name has sickeningly been floated for a Trump appointment to the Supreme Court, and Cruz accused the Democrats of threatening to be the most obstructionist party in history.
Ha! One hopes.
5. Melania Trump’s barely hidden misogyny revealed itself in her softball interview with Anderson Cooper in October.
At first glance, Melania Trump did a good job of seeming like a decent sane person in her softball interview with Anderson Cooper in October. She reported that her husband had apologized to her about bragging he sexually assaults women, and that she accepted his apology. But, she pointed out, it was not his fault. Billy Bush made him do it. Donald is, she acknowledged, a big kid, barely more mature than their 11-year-old, Barron.
But her mixed messages about her husband’s level of maturity were only part of the problem. On closer inspection, there was quite a bit of misogyny lurking behind her words and viewing women as the real predators seems pretty firmly ensconced in her worldview. Since boys will of course be endearing if potty-mouthed boys, Melania blamed the manipulative women who are always hitting on her husband, sometimes right in front of her, throwing themselves at him “unappropriately.” This was in the context of talking about sexual assault allegations, so the unmistakable conclusion was that she was implying some women ask for it.
As for Natasha Stoynoff, the People magazine writer who said Trump forcibly kissed her at Mar-a Lago, the most important thing Melania wanted to convey was that she was never friends with Stoynoff and would not recognize her on Fifth Avenue, despite the fact that Stoynoff attended the Trumps’ wedding. (And the most important thing Mr. Trump would have you know, is that Stoynoff is not his idea of attractive enough for him to sexually assault.) And Stoynoff has recently confirmed that knowing Trump would attack her looks did give her pause before going public with her ordeal. How many more?
6. Rudy ‘9/11’ Giuliani conveniently forgot when 9/11 happened.
In September, self-proclaimed September 11 hero Rudy Giuliani managed to forget when 9/11 happened so that he could make the laughably false statement that there were no terrorist incidents before Obama took office. Around the same time he made that brain fart, and right after the first debate where Trump tanked badly, Rudy posted a banner week that week sucking up Trump’s fumes. Here were some of the lowlights:
- Immediately following the debate, Giuliani was the first to float the idea that Trump should skip the rest of the debates. Why? Because Trump blew it so badly, and his gnat-like attention span prevents him from actually preparing? No, because it was rigged! Lester Holt was so unfair when he corrected Trump a few times on his lies! (Especially when Holt pointed out to Trump that the police practice he and Giuliani so love, stop-and-frisk, is unconstitutional and racist.)
- Later in the week, Giuliani joined the fray in criticizing Bill Clinton’s extramarital affairs, because that’s just extremely relevant to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and Giuliani has always been an exemplary husband and father. Because he cares so much about women and children, Giuliani helpfully pointed out how “stupid” Hillary is to have stayed with Bill. In the same dizzying spew, Giuliani called Trump a “feminist” for hiring women (even if he fat-shames them and fires them for not being attractive enough). He also claimed Bill Clinton “violated” Monica Lewinsky, and as a former prosecutor, isn’t he supposed to know that’s not the case?
- By the end of the week, Giuliani decided it was appropriate to make racist, anti-immigrant remarks and insult Mexicans working in the kitchen at the Waldorf Astoria during a black tie event there, even managing to offend the various business leaders assembled. Red-faced, the head of the Commercial Finance Association, obviously a left-wing organization, was forced to issue a formal apology to attendees.
Diagnosis: The bile has finally eaten all the way through Giuliani’s brain.
7. Britt Hume’s idiotic whining about how he’s not even allowed to say Hillary Clinton is shrill and needs to smile more.
Britt Hume, Fox News’ so-called reasonable one, gave the following critique after Hillary Clinton’s Democratic convention speech: “She has a habit, when speaking, of breaking into a kind of a sharp, lecturing tone, [it] makes you feel like. She has a great asset, as a public person, which is a radiant smile, but she has a not-so-attractive voice.”
Now, technically, he did not actually use the word “shrill” having somehow gotten the message that that word is not very well-disguised sexism. A few weeks later, Hume and Tucker Carlson, were having a little chat about what they can and cannot say about Hillary Clinton. It’s so frustrating being a white male these days. Everybody’s always picking on you, trying to take away the privileges to which you’ve become accustomed.
They were discussing the outrage of Clinton not smiling enough while she was talking to the families of dead soldiers during the “Commander-in-Chief” forum. Carlson said he admires Clinton’s toughness (ha! no), but thinks she undercuts that when she mentions the sexism in the media’s coverage of her. How so? Not sure.
But poor Hume just doesn’t even know what he can say anymore; everything has become so unfair.
“You know at the Democratic convention, I was on after her speech, and it struck me that she did some things effectively in that speech, particularly her critique of Donald Trump,” Hume said. “But she seemed—and she has at other times in the campaign—to be kind of angry and joyless, and yes, unsmiling. I said that on the air, and I really caught it on Twitter from people who said, ‘You’re just a sexist, I can’t believe somebody’s saying that.’ But it raises this question, Tucker, in America today, is it possible for a woman to be shrill, and if so, or joyless, or unsmiling, is it possible for somebody to say that without ending up in jail?”
The dreadful persecution of Hume continued apace and other men who wish to call women shrill with impunity continues .
8. Pond scum emerges, says vile scummy things, gets book contract.
If there is a more despicable piece of shower mold than Breitbart.com’s Milo Yiannopoulos, then we do not know it.
In a mediascape that normalized Trump’s demagogic drunk uncle act and legitimized him into the presidency, this other creature from a hateful lagoon was granted a hearing on ABC “Nightline” with Terry Moran.
Yiannopoulos has been banned from Twitter for leading a harassment campaign of deeply disgusting misogynist and racist abuse of the comedian Leslie Jones, something of which he is apparently proud.
“I like to think of myself as a virtuous troll,” Yiannopoulos bizarrely self-aggrandized in the interview.
We like to think of him with a stake driven through his tongue, but hey, we like to think lots of things.
Moran thought maybe he could pull some decency out of this cockroach, and asked if Yiannopoulos would tell Leslie Jones “she looks like a dude” in person.
“Yeah, probably,” Yiannopoulos replied. ”I probably would.”
“Then you’re an idiot, really,” Moran said
Moran again tried to reason with the moron. “You’re going to go after somebody’s body to denigrate their ideas? What grade are you in? Seriously. Are you a 13-year-old boy? Because somebody doesn’t have a weight that you think is proper? That’s revolting.”
Revolting is a word Yiannopoulos can relate to.
“I’ll tell you what’s revolting,” Yiannopoulos responded. “What’s revolting is the body positivity movement. What’s revolting is this idea now that you can tell women that they’ll be healthy at any size.”
And now, having discussed this vile piece of bellybutton lint, we need to go take a bath.
It was a great year for racist, misogynist Alt-Right scum! While some ended up in the White House, Yiannopoulos ended his 2016 with a book contract.
9. Trump sons went from comparing refugees to Skittles to just making sh*t completey up.
It was Donald Trump, Jr. who compared refugees to Skittles, prompting the candy to distance itself from the Trump campaign (as Tic Tac later did.) But it was son Eric who made up the absurd original lie of his father’s sh*tshow of a campaign in the Fall. He swore it was not President Obama’s Kenyan birth, or secret status as a Muslim “Manchurian candidate,” it was a Christmas story. Who doesn’t love a Christmas story?
During an interview, Eric said Trump entered the political sphere because the Obama/Grinches stole Chistmas. “He sees the tree on the White House lawn has been renamed ‘Holiday tree’ instead of ‘Christmas tree. I could go on and on for hours. Those are the very things that made my father run, and those are the very things he cares about.”
One teeny tiny leetle problem. It’s not true. As in has no basis in reality. Didn’t happen. Throughout the Obama Administration, The White House Christmas Tree was called the “White House Christmas Tree.” It’s not even the “White House Xmas Tree.” There’s been no concession to secularism, to separation of church and state. It’s a made-up story, a myth, a manufactured crisis, and all part of the nonexistent war on Christmas that isn’t being waged anywhere.
Eric also pointed out other pseudo outrages galvanizing his father’s run.
“He opens the paper and some new school district has just eliminated the ability for its students to say the Pledge of Allegiance, or some fire department in some town is ordered by the mayor to no longer fly the American flag on the back of a fire truck,” Eric Trump told The Stream’s James Robinson.
There are just a few things wrong with this statement. First of all, Donald Trump doesn’t open a paper. He opens his Twitter feed, Fox News or maybe Breitbart. Sometimes he glances at the National Enquirer, especially if “people are saying” there’s a good conspiracy theory about Ted Cruz’s father, or Hillary Clinton’s health on the cover. Second, a newspaper that covers things like that would go out of business fast due to snoozing readers.
The Kool-Aid in the Trump household was clearly very strong.
10. Before Trump surrogate Carl Paladinosaid horrendously racist and hateful things about the Obamas, he said other horrible racist things.
Back in August, while Trump was attacking the Khan family for having an American war hero son while being Muslim, his pal and upstate New York school board official Carl Paladino went on “Imus in the Morning” to defend his right to do so. He started by making stuff up about Hillary Clinton.
“We’ve got an un-indicted felon [he means Clinton] as his opponent and you’re talking about Khan, about [Trump] making a remark about this man? All right, I don’t care if he’s a Gold Star parent. He certainly doesn’t deserve that title, OK, if he’s as anti-American as he’s illustrated in his speeches and in his discussion. I mean, if he’s a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or supporting, you know, the ISIS-type of attitude against America, there’s no reason for Donald Trump to have to honor this man.”
It’s hard to be worse than Trump himself, but apparently manageable for some.
Keeping the level of discourse as high as possible, Paladino went on insist that Obama is a Muslim and Hillary Clinton is “devious” for hiding her alleged health problems, health problems that have been debunked.
“But if you’re really looking at what’s been exposed about Hillary and Hillary’s demeanor, I mean, just look at the deviousness. If it is true about her health problems, I mean, how devious can a woman possibly be? And not telling the American people that she’s got some sickness, she’s definitely impaired.”
Diagnosis: Paladino is morally impaired.
11. Bill O’Reilly instructs black people to hate Black Lives Matter.
In December Bill O’Reilly let his White Supremacist flag fly in a rant about opponents of the Electoral College.
But we shouldn’t let that despicable moment obscure another one back in July, when several police officers in Dallas were gunned down after a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration, which has nothing to do with the shooting.
Bill O’Reilly took the opportunity to insist that everyone must hate and fear Black Lives Matter immediately. He and other Fox Newsians spent a good deal of their post-Dallas airtime whipping up as much hysteria and anger as possible against a group that has a name and a message no sane person can argue with. But sane people do not sit at Fox roundtables, as an episode of “Outnumbered” clearly shows. Meanwhile, colleagues Megyn Kelly and racist ex-cop Mark Fuhrman took it upon themselves to lecture black people to stop exaggerating about problems with police. You got that, Philando Castile, Eric Garner and Alton Sterling?
But O’Reilly is just so sick and tired of black people not listening to him when he tells them what is good for them. Speaking to his guest, NAACP director Hilary Shelton on Friday, O’Reilly said, “So, you know what I think? I think that if you really want, if African Americans really want to bring the country together and have good racial relations, they have to distance themselves from Black Lives Matter. Am I wrong?”
Yeah, you’re wrong, Shelton said, explaining that the Black Lives Matter marches are occurring for a very good reason. And lots of people understand that.
But white people ha-a-a-te Black Lives Matter, O’Reilly whined, mistaking the echo chamber in his head for reality once again. “White Americans despise this crew. And if black Americans don’t understand that, we’re just going to grow further apart.”
Shelton carried on saying reasonable things that are in the spirit of bringing people together, among other things pointing out that people of all races join Black Lives Matter marches and believe in the movement and in justice for all Americans.
All on deaf ears. O’Reilly was just too busy breaking the douchebag-o-meter.
12. Fox Newsians say asking Trump for his tax return is discrimination against rich people—with straight faces.
No, seriously, Kimberly Guilfoyle really did say this. She and her other co-hosts from “The Five” were discussing this terrible miscarriage of justice—the fact that Mitt Romney suggested there might be a bombshell in Donald Trump’s unreleased tax returns, and that now everyone is all over his case to release them. The Donald has come up with various reasons not to produce them, including the hilarious statement that the IRS picks on him because he’s such a strong Christian. One suspects the real secret the Donald is hiding is that he is not nearly as wealthy as he makes himself out to be, which is the only revelation in the universe that could bring the shameless reality star the remotest sense of shame.
But Guilfoyle and equally idiotic Eric Bolling just think it is so mean—so, so rude—to ask the Donald to produce his tax returns. Co-host Dana Perino tried to explain that the office of the presidency is that of a public servant, not the gold-plated throne from which to order decrees that Trump imagines it to be, and pointed out that although taxes are “complicated for [insert the word rich] people,” they would likely be an issue in the general election.
Juan Williams pointed out that Donald’s taxes are “relevant right now.”
Guilfoyle jumped all over that, whining, “What about discrimination, Juan?”
“Against rich people,” Guilfoyle said. “And one percenters. Nobody ever asks to see the poor—it’s so rude.”
So rude. Poor people get all the breaks.