The Trump cult is freaky. On Friday, at this year’s edition of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, a crowd of Trump fans surrounded CNN reporter Jim Acosta and began chanting, “CNN sucks!” That chant has appeared in the past at Trump-aligned events, and while in office as president, Donald Trump frequently singled out CNN for particular criticism in the pantheon of so-called fake news. Fundamentally, these criticisms of supposed “fake news” and reporters like Acosta represent appalling breaks with basic reality. Republicans have taken on willful ignorance as their political philosophy.
Ted Cruz brings the jokes at CPAC:
"Orlando is awesome. It's not as nice as Cancun, but it's nice."
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) February 26, 2021
The chanting against Acosta at CPAC also seemed disturbingly cultish, as though the reporter constituted some kind of mythical villain or threat against patriotism and democracy or whatever. Donald Trump has led his followers down a path of delusion, and it’s dangerous — on Friday, one woman said “Get him, get him,” referring to Acosta. What did she have in mind? Check out footage from CPAC below:
— William Turton (@WilliamTurton) February 26, 2021
As Trump fans surrounded him, Acosta seemed relatively unfazed, at least externally, by the melee, but it’s serious. During the Capitol rioting last month, rioters also targeted journalists, and murder was clearly on at least some of these rioters’ minds. Someone literally inscribed “Murder the Media” on a Capitol door, and elsewhere, the mob destroyed media equipment and made a noose out of one of the camera cords, which they subsequently hung from a tree. At this point, this virulent and violent anti-media sentiment seems like a core, guiding tenet of the Republican Party.
The thing that really stands out to me from CPAC 2021 day 1 so far is how conservatives didn't even try to evolve or learn lessons from losing the White House and Senate in recent months. It's just the same ol' culture war grievance, science-denying fare.
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 26, 2021
Trump himself is slated to speak at CPAC over the weekend, and it seems safe to assume that he’ll rehash his delusional idea that he was the rightful winner of the 2020 election. In recent days, although he no longer has a Twitter account, he has repeatedly pushed this false idea, although at this point, to believe that Trump was the rightful 2020 winner would no doubt require a belief in an absolutely staggering level of secret conspiracy across virtually all meaningful levels of government. These things aren’t reality — they’re delusional fantasy, and they’re dangerous for the stability of the United States.
CPAC organizers were booed after urging attendees to adhere to the venue's COVID guidelines and wear face masks.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 26, 2021