Time to take Trump literally

In a story about Donald Trump’s lies and purposeful misstatements, Atlantic writer Salena Zito wrote in September: “When he makes claims like this, the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.” (Bold is mine.)

It’s time his supporters take him literally.

Look at who he has chosen as his closest advisors:

Steve Bannon as White House senior counselor: Mr. Bannon is in some ways a perplexing figure: a far-right ideologue who made his millions investing in “Seinfeld”; a former Goldman Sachs banker who has reportedly called himself a “Leninist” with a goal “to destroy the state” and “bring everything crashing down.” He has also called progressive women “a bunch of dykes” and, in a 2014 email to one of his editors, wrote of the Republican leadership, “Let the grassroots turn on the hate because that’s the ONLY thing that will make them do their duty.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions for AG: For starters, forget about aggressive protection of civil rights, and of voting rights in particular. Mr. Sessions has called the Voting Rights Act of 1965 a “piece of intrusive legislation.” Under him, the department would most likely focus less on prosecutions of minority voter suppression and more on rooting out voter fraud, that hallowed conservative myth.

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn for national security adviser: Americans of all political backgrounds should be alarmed that General Flynn will be President-elect Donald Trump’s national security adviser. It’s likely, given his record, that he will encourage Mr. Trump’s worst impulses, fuel suspicions of Muslims and bring to the job conflicts of interest from his international consulting work.

Rep. Mike Pompeo for CIA director: More disturbingly, he has claimed that the U.S. government’s surveillance powers have been critically weakened by reforms designed to prevent abuses. He has called for the creation of a large database combining phone records with “publicly available financial and lifestyle information.” Mr. Pompeo also has suggested that foreign terrorism suspects should be held for prolonged periods for interrogation by the military or CIA — a policy that would likely revive the Bush administration’s disastrous misuse of the Guantanamo Bay prison.

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