Friday, July 7, 2017
''The Age of Detesting Trump'' David Bromwich
‘Putin Butts in to Claim There Were No Secrets, and Says He’ll Prove It’ – so ran the main headline in the New York Times on 18 May. The subject was Donald Trump’s supposed revelation of foreign intelligence assets when he met with Russian officials in the Oval Office. It isn’t yet clear if anything dangerous was done, but the US media were showcasing their heavy artillery with a leak of their own, which had to have come from the White House staff or intelligence agents on the scene. Mostly, however, the article seemed to be an excuse to deploy the expression ‘Putin Butts In’ – a cut below the diction once permitted in the Times. This descent into brashness, which teeters on the brink of open contempt, has been a feature of American media coverage of Trump ever since January; it is growing shriller and more indiscriminate, working up to a presumptive climax no one has imagined with clarity. Impeachment is the constitutional name for the fast finale they are hoping for; the idea is that the brass and cymbals will soon enter, lawyers and good spies, private detectives and who knows what else – and out the door goes Trump.