In reaction to President Trump’s decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance, the media has told the American people Trump is a dictator. Revoking a security clearance is within Trump’s power, of course, but revoking Brennan’s was an abuse of power, they tell us. Brennan is a Democrat and vehement Trump critic, so obviously the president is stifling free speech to punish a political opponent, former intelligence officials say.
All weekend long on cable TV, the media has repeated like a mantra some variation of these absurd attacks on the president. Absurd — and purposeful. The media is blowing this controversy out of proportion to feed its larger narrative that “this is not normal.” That Trump is crushing American institutions and destroying the country.
To most Americans, whether or not a former Obama administration official they probably can’t name holds on to a security clearance he isn’t using to protect the country is totally irrelevant to their lives. Brennan is not currently in government and doesn’t need his clearance to protect the country. Most Americans would likely be surprised to learn that ex-government officials keep their security clearances after leaving the government in the first place. The practice is a courtesy, kept in case a current administration wants to consult a member of a past administration without going through the trouble of restoring a security clearance. The president of the United States is fully within his power to revoke security clearances at his pleasure and discretion.
In Brennan’s case, he deserved to lose it. He is an ideological extremist, a known liar, and a political hack who leveraged his security clearance and Obama administration resume to become an on-air anti-Trump personality on TV. He has no right to parade around the media using his credentials to bash the president as a traitor and advance an unproven conspiracy theory accusing Trump of working with Russia to win a presidential election. His unprofessional, disgraceful, and hyperbolic comments have even been criticized by his former colleagues.
In removing Brennan’s clearances, Trump did what ought to be done. He exercised a lawful power. So why is this a big deal? Why is the mainstream media painting the president’s decision as a broad attack on the American republic?
They do this because they perceive Trump’s action as an attack on the media itself. Brennan is one of their TV personalities, a colleague. By revoking his security clearance, Trump upset a status quo that benefited the media and the Democratic Party, which have always enjoyed a cozy relationship with each other.
This is why Trump is “not normal,” because “normal” means permitting the media to get away with dishonest attacks on conservative politicians and policies. Defying these “norms” is Trump’s real offense. From the days of the 2016 campaign, Trump’s consistent attacks on the “fake news” media and its biased reporters have undermined the credibility of an institution that for years has taken the American people’s trust for granted. As the mainstream media’s bias has become more explicit, as fewer and fewer people tune in, the attacks against Trump become more hyperbolic and absurd.
This controversy over Brennan’s security clearance is just the latest in “not normal.” It is just one more angle in a larger story purporting to show that Trump’s election is illegitimate, his behavior is unpresidential, his policies are illegal, and his voters are deplorable.
Which is why Democrats need to be in power, of course.
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Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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