This Is Not How To Hold Trump Accountable

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In a post over the weekend, TrumpAccountable.org warned against red herrings, or distractions, during Donald Trump’s first press conference since the election. BuzzFeed’s decision to publish the 35 page memo containing unsubstantiated damaging information about Donald Trump teed up a perfect distraction for the president-elect and gave him a platform to rail against unfair treatment by the press. Here are some takeaways on BuzzFeed’s decision:

  1. Very few people in this country will be surprised if the allegations contained in the memo against Donald Trump are eventually proven true. And apparently not enough voters in this country were outraged by the tape that surfaced during the campaign that featured Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women. There is ample evidence that Donald Trump demeans women. Not much news here.
  2. There are plenty of issues to hold Donald Trump accountable for including appointing a racist Attorney General, suddenly denying 20 million people health care without a replacement healthcare plan, deciding to retain an interest in his financial enterprise, and his denigration of US intelligence services. That’s just for starters. The more time we focus on unsubstantiated allegations the less time we’re paying attention to the issues that have an impact on Americans’ lives.
  3. Donald Trump is most comfortable (and usually wins) when he is in an antagonistic relationship with the press. Facts and journalistic professionalism are critically important. 20 million people are about to lose their healthcare. That’s a fact and that’s a story.

The absurd hypocrisy of Donald Trump decrying unsubstantiated allegations being aired in the media is, of course, staggering. He was a strong vocal birther himself frequently pushing a storyline that questioned President Obama’s legitimacy as Commander-in-chief. And his relationship with Breitbart and Bannon only undermines any complaints of fake news and irresponsible journalism.

It may be tempting to give him a taste of his own medicine – but there is really enough important work to be done and enough issues to address.