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Look What We Got By Not ‘Amplifying’ Trump

DES MOINES, IOWA - OCTOBER 09: Former President Donald Trump arrives for a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on October 09, 2021 in Des Moines, Iowa. This is Trump's first rally in Iowa since the 2020 election. (P... DES MOINES, IOWA - OCTOBER 09: Former President Donald Trump arrives for a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on October 09, 2021 in Des Moines, Iowa. This is Trump's first rally in Iowa since the 2020 election. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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January 5, 2022 4:15 p.m.

Follow-on overnight reporting suggests that ex-President Trump canceled his January 6th celebration event because top lackeys and toadies lobbied him hard against it and he gave way. I doubt it was any fear of legal jeopardy – it’s hard to say Trump and his top supporters have ever pursued a legal strategy per se. They were just smart enough to see that the spectacle of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago celebration and cheering for freedom and vindication for the insurrectionists wouldn’t be helpful. It would put members of Congress in an awkward position. But the biggest insight was from TPM alum Benjy Sarlin, now of NBC News. As he put it, “I don’t think people quite get how far out his daily comments are already mainly because outlets are reluctant to publicize them.”

This is right on the mark. Booted off social media and mostly ignored in the mainstream press, Trump’s comments and positions have radicalized greatly over the course of 2021. In a sense it’s hard to say he’s “radicalized” in his increasingly explicit support for January 6th when after all, he led it in the first place. But Benjy’s right: most people don’t get how wild his regular comments are. His biggest supporters on Fox and Capitol Hill would prefer to keep it that way. Yes, Trump is still covered in the political news media. But you don’t generally hear directly what he’s saying.

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