Sometimes I don’t know if Donald Trump’s behavior more closely resembles that of a spoiled, narcissistic child or an authoritarian dictator or both. I don’t even know if Trump realizes that his petulant behavior makes him look like a fascist — sometimes, I genuinely think the air of authoritarianism is simply a byproduct of his petulance.
For instance, after his off-the-record meeting with the press yesterday (where he reportedly berated everyone in attendance), the Trump campaign set up a separate meeting with the NYTimes to discuss access. The two camps had agreed on a short, off-the-record meeting followed by a longer on-the-record discussion.
Yesterday, Trump — perhaps concerned that the Times would call him on his bullshit and ask him about all the conflicts of interests that are piling up — tried to change the terms. He asked that the meeting be completely off the record. The Times declined, and the two sides ultimately agreed to move ahead as originally planned.
However, the NYTimes found out — along with everyone else in the world — that Trump had decided to cancel the meeting when he announced the cancellation on Twitter, like a true professional.
I cancelled today's meeting with the failing @nytimes when the terms and conditions of the meeting were changed at the last moment. Not nice— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2016
Perhaps a new meeting will be set up with the @nytimes. In the meantime they continue to cover me inaccurately and with a nasty tone!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2016
When he doesn’t get his way, he whines and cries and throws a fit on Twitter, but the result is no different than had he demanded the same through official channels. Trump is using lies in an attempt to discredit the media, so that his supporters won’t believe anything that the Times (or any other outlet) writes about him for the next four years. He’s trying to create a narrative where the media has it out for him, so that we’ll chalk anything they write about him up to a grudge.
Whether intentional or not, that’s fascist as hell.
Update: The meeting is back on now, but Trump has already inflicted the damage. Trump will spin anything that comes out of the meeting that can be perceived as negative as the consequence of being called out by the President-elect, which is absurd because while the NYTimes reporting has been mostly thorough, they have been wearing kid gloves since election night.
Hope Hicks confirms the @nytimes meeting is back: "The meeting is taking place as planned."— Anita Kumar (@anitakumar01) November 22, 2016
(Header via the little-seen movie Kill the Messenger, starring Jeremy Renner, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Rosemarie DeWitt, about the real-life story of a reporter who was smeared by the CIA for uncovering their role in importing large amounts of cocaine into the U.S. and flooding impoverished areas with it in order to raise money for the Nicaraguan Contras’ rebel army. You can follow Dustin on Twitter.