Fox News has been diligent in documenting those media figures who’ve used their faculties of deduction to label as “racist” President Trump’s Sunday tweets telling female members of Congress of color — the so-called progressive “Squad” — to “go back” to the “places from which they came.” Democrats have done so, as well. Here’s an illustrative Fox News chyron:
There’ll be no disputing that Fox News chyron.
And what about Republicans? Well, Kevin Schaul and Kevin Uhrmacher of The Post have plotted the party’s collective reaction to Trump’s attacks on Democratic Reps. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.). As of 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, fewer Republicans have condemned the remarks (18) than supported them (29). A mass of 203 Republicans stand between those two poles, either criticizing both parties (42) or not commenting/dodging (161). The Post’s Richard Cohen writes, “The GOP’s silence in the face of all this is not just shameful, it is wrenching. For crying out loud, say something!”
This sequence — Trump outrage; denunciations by Democrats and the media; a GOP shrug — has happened before, and its typical outcome receives some attention from CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta in his book, “The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America":
In nearly all the episodes of Republican inaction, a familiar pattern would emerge: Trump would take things too far, and much of the GOP would do little or nothing to challenge his behavior. That dynamic is principally why the press found itself, over and over, in Trump’s crosshairs. GOP members of Congress had largely given up on calling the president out on his behavior, which meant that task fell to us reporters.
In the early days of the Trump administration, then-chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon told the New York Times, “The media here is the opposition party.” Prophetic commentary from a fellow who well understood that the Party of Trump would never appropriately condemn his excesses.