The media is holding Donald Trump accountable, but his angry response to scrutiny, highlights troubling aspects of the man who wants to be president. His attacks on the institution of the press shows a man who doesn’t like being held accountable, and he has rallied many of his followers to support him without regard to the facts.
The latest controversy, which bring forth the implications, concerns donations to veterans charities Trump bragged about having made. Four months after Trump claimed to have donated $1 million himself, Trump finally did so on May 23, after facing scrutiny from the press. On May 21, the Washington Post published an investigation that quoted campaign manager Corey Lewandowski as saying Trump had raised $4.5 million, about $1.5 million less than the more than $6 million Trump claimed to have raised. On the day of the fundraiser, however, Trump said that they had “cracked” $6 million and (in third-person), “Donald Trump gave $1 million.”
Press Scrutiny Caused Trump to Donate
Thus Donald Trump didn’t actually give $1 million until after the press held him to account (and found him to be lacking). It was an important story for the public to know about, as Trump had made a big deal about his fundraising. After having decided to skip the January 28, Fox News debate, Trump decided to hold a fundraiser during the debate, so as to claim he had a reason for skipping the debate besides his previously-stated dislike for moderator Megyn Kelly.
As the record shows, Trump had already announced he was considering boycotting the debate on January 24, and he had cited Megyn Kelly as the reason:
Based on @MegynKelly's conflict of interest and bias she should not be allowed to be a moderator of the next debate.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2016
Later, Trump used the fundraiser as a pretense for skipping the debate. (One could ask why Trump hadn’t held fundraisers before and during other time slots.) Since the Post has gotten Trump to (belatedly) live up to one of his promises, it should be commended for doing a public service. As the “Fourth Estate,” the press is supposed to function as a watchdog on power. Without a healthy press scrutinizing politicians, politicians could get away with anything.
A War on Watchdogs
However, Trump doesn’t want scrutiny, and his supporters don’t want to see their hero challenged. At a press conference, Trump personally attacked reporters, calling one “a sleaze” and another “a real beauty.” He said the reporters were all “unbelievably dishonest.”