After years of wall-to-wall news coverage of the intemperate messages the president is tapping out on his phone, we’re about to get a break.
That’s not because the Twitter trolls are leaving 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, though. It’s because the media, who have spent the past four years losing their minds every time Trump hits send, are about to go deaf to even the most absurd social media proclamations.
Take incoming White House chief of staff and longtime Biden crony Ron Klain, who in mid-February insisted that the United States wasn’t facing a COVID epidemic, but a "fear epidemic." "We don’t have a #COVID-19 epidemic in the US but we are starting to see a fear epidemic," Klain wrote. "Kudos to @NYCMayor (and others) for standing against that."
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But Klain doesn’t hold a candle to erstwhile Clinton darling Neera Tanden, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to manage the federal budget. The Center for American Progress president has spent the past several days scrubbing over a thousand tweets, including ones calling Sen. Bill Cassidy (R., La.) "pathetic," Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) a "Scrooge" who has put "party over country," and, in her coup de grâce, deriding Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as a tool of the Kremlin.
There may be no better example of a Trump opponent who has become a walking incarnation of the qualities she professes to hate in the president, including the obsessive use of Twitter to savage one’s enemies. That Tanden is now scrambling to hide her behavior so she can get Senate GOP votes makes the hypocrisy even more overt.
The converse, of course, is that Republican senators who have more often than not pleaded ignorance when asked to comment on Trump’s tweets are now putting great stock in them. But we expect hypocrisy from our politicians. It is apparently too much to ask that our colleagues in the mainstream media maintain a consistent standard.
MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt scoffed at the notion that Republican senators would take into consideration Tanden’s insulting remarks. "It just makes it particularly noteworthy that this is the reason that is cited for opposing Neera Tanden’s nomination," Hunt said, adding, "It’s not some political big disagreement or some policy issue, it’s personal!"
CNN’s Brianna Keilar took issue with Sen. John Cornyn’s (R., Texas) statement that Tanden has a "problematic path" to confirmation thanks to her "combative and insulting comments about many members of the Senate," accusing him of "clutching his pearls in Donald Trump’s oyster bar." Neither Hunt nor Keilar featured Tanden's nasty tweets on screen during the segments, a move that became a stock-in-trade of the profession in the Trump era.
The tweeter-in-chief is about to be old news, but a dozen mini-Trumps will soon take his place. The difference is that when liberals like Tanden "clap back" at Republicans, their media allies don’t condemn it as the worst thing since the Civil War—they nod right along.