Trumpocracy: Tracking the Creeping Authoritarianism of the 45th President | Mother Jones

Trumpocracy: Tracking the Creeping Authoritarianism of the 45th President | Mother Jones.

by Mother Jones · March 6, 2017
Week 7: Trump pushes an explosive conspiracy theory without any evidence.

Timothy L. Hale/ZUMA

Is Donald Trump a threat to democracy? From his executive orders targeting immigrants to his personal attacks on federal judges and his demonization of the media as the “enemy of the American people,” the 45th president’s behavior has alarmed political observers of all stripes. Below is a timeline (in reverse chronological order) tracking Trump’s displays of authoritarian tendencies, beginning from the day he was sworn in.

Week seven: March 4 – March 10

Day 44 – 45: Citing no evidence, Trump seizes on a conspiracy theory pushed by a right-wing radio host and Breitbart News, accusing former President Barack Obama of illegally wiretapping Trump Tower during the election. FBI Director James Comey subsequently asks the Justice Department to publicly reject the extraordinary claim as false; the Trump White House then raises the stakes even further, signaling opposition to Comey on the matter. (March 4 and March 5)

How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Week six: February 25 – March 3

Day 39: In an Oval Office interview with Breitbart News—the far-right media platform formerly run by White House chief strategist Steve Bannon—Trump describes the “intent” of reporting by the New York Times as “so evil and so bad.” (February 27)

Trump interviewed by Breitbart News White House photo
Week five: February 17 – February 24

Day 36: Press secretary Sean Spicer bars the New York Times, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, Politico, and BuzzFeed from an untelevised West Wing press briefing. (February 24)

Day 36: At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Trump reiterates that the media is the “enemy of the people.” (February 24)

Week four: February 10 – February 16

Day 28: In a lengthy White House press conference, Trump works to pivot attention away from leaks within his administration to blaming the media, saying that “the leaks are real…The news is fake.” During the same presser, Trump responds to a Jewish reporter’s question about a wave of threats to Jewish centers by expressing his personal offense at the question (apparently construing it as a suggestion that he is anti-Semitic) and telling the reporter to “sit down.” (February 16)

(Screen shot from White House video)
Day 24: White House senior adviser Steven Miller tells John Dickerson of Face the Nation that “the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.” (February 12)

Week three: February 3 – February 9

Day 19: During a meeting, Trump heard about a Texas state senator who wanted to limit asset forfeiture. Trump quipped, “Want to give his name? We’ll destroy his career.” (February 7)

Day 18: Trump tweets that “any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election.” (February 6)

Day 16: After District Judge James Robart in Seattle issued a stay on Trump’s immigration order, Trump tweets, “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” (February 4)

Week two: January 27 – February 2

Day 14: After violent protests at the University of California-Berkley prevent Breitbart News provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking, Trump tweets the suggestion that the university should lose federal funding. (February 2)

If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
Day 10: The president reorganizes the National Security Council, downgrading the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the CIA director, and gives chief strategist Steve Bannon a permanent seat on the NSC’s principals committee. (January 29)

Day 8: Trump signs an executive order barring Syrian refugees, immigrants and other visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries, even those with green cards and legal visas. The order includes what amounts to a religious test for Muslims. (January 27)

Week one: January 20 – January 26

Day 7: Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon says the media should “keep its mouth shut,” and describes the media as “the opposition party.” (January 26)

Day 6: Trump issues an executive order on immigration mandating the Department of Homeland Security to “make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens” published weekly, and threatens to defund sanctuary cities. (January 25)

Day 4: In a meeting with congressional leaders, Trump ramps up his claim—supported by no evidence—that millions of people voted illegally for Hillary Clinton. (January 23)

Day 3: Senior adviser Kellyanne Conway says the White House is using “alternative facts” in reference to the inauguration crowd size on NBC’s Meet the Press. She threatens that the administration may have to “rethink the relationship” with the news media. (January 22)

Day 2: Press secretary Sean Spicer falsely claims that Trump’s inauguration had the largest audience ever, angrily stating that “we’re going to hold the press accountable” and refusing to take questions. (January 21)

Compare the crowds: 2009 inauguration at left, 2017 inauguration at right.#Inauguration pic.twitter.com/y7RhIR2nfC

— Binyamin Appelbaum (@BCAppelbaum) January 20, 2017
Day 1: In his inaugural speech, Trump depicts a ravaged, dystopian America, with echoes of his message at the GOP national convention that “I alone can fix it”: “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now…From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.” (January 20)

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