Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Welcome to the Trump circus — without the clown-in-chief

By Damon Linker, The Week

Remember the Trump administration? I sometimes wonder if we do.

Not the big moments — the corporate tax cut, the chummy meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, the insults to our NATO allies, the two impeachments, the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021. Those events have become part of our country’s recent political history and remain fully present in our minds.

I mean the feeling of those four years. The sense of the country descending into chaos, driven to mad derangement by the president of the United States tweeting insults and provocations 24/7. To cite one example among thousands, on the morning of April 17, 2020, more than a month into lockdowns connected to the COVID-19 pandemic and a day after issuing guidance for reopening the country that deferred to state officials, President Donald Trump tweeted “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!,” “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!,” and “LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd amendment. It is under siege!”

What did it mean? Was the president inciting an insurrection against the governors of these states? Was he joking? Trolling half of the country like some social media
s–tposter with an unusually large and attentive following?

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