Earlier this week, President Donald Trump accused Barack Obama of wiretapping his offices even before he won the election. In a series of tweets, the U.S. president accused the former president and even called the entire incident McCarthyism.
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
The term McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of treason or subversion without proper regard for evidence. Sometimes, the term also means the practice of making unfair allegations or using some unfair techniques to investigate, especially in order to restrict the officials.
The term has its origin in the period in the United States that is commonly known as the Second Red Scare, which started in 1947 and ended roughly around 1956. During this period, it was characterized by heightened political repression as well as a campaign spreading fear of espionage by Soviet agents.
“It originated with President Truman’s Executive Order 9835 of March 21, 1947, which required that all federal civil service employees be screened for loyalty. The order specified that one criterion to be used in determining that reasonable grounds exist for belief that the person involved is disloyal would be a finding of ‘membership in, affiliation with or sympathetic association’ with any organization determined by the attorney general to be ‘totalitarian, Fascist, Communist or subversive’ or advocating or approving the forceful denial of constitutional rights to other persons or seeking ‘to alter the form of Government of the United States by unconstitutional means,'” stated Robert J. Goldstein.
The first recorded use of the term McCarthyism was in a political cartoon created by the Washington Post’s cartoonist Herbert Block on March 29, 1950. The published cartoon depicted four leading Republicans trying to push an elephant to stand on a platform atop a stack of ten buckets filled with tar. The topmost bucket in that slack was labeled McCarthyism.
Possibly this 1950 Herblock cartoon (coining "McCarthyism") has some relevance today… pic.twitter.com/mUeKp2VacR
— We Are the Mutants (@WeAreTheMutants) January 6, 2017
“Nothing particularly ingenious about the term, which is simply used to represent a national affliction that can hardly be described in any other way. If anyone has a prior claim on it, he’s welcome to the word and to the junior senator from Wisconsin along with it. I will also throw in a set of free dishes and a case of soap,” Herbert Block said after the cartoon became the talk of the nation.
The word McCarthyism has entered American speech as a general term for a variety of practices mainly, aggressively questioning a person’s patriotism, making poor accusations and subverting civil and political rights in the name of national security.
In modern times, Donald Trump is not the first person to use this term. Back in 2016, Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, accused Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, of “whipping up a neo-McCarthyist hysteria about Russia.”
“The American liberal press, in falling over themselves to defend Hillary Clinton, are erecting a demon that is going to put nooses around everyone’s necks as soon as she wins the election, which is almost certainly what she’s going to do,” he later added.
In other news, Barack Obama has officially refuted all the aforementioned allegations made on him by Donald Trump. According to his spokesman, Kevin Lewis, one of the cardinal rule of Barack Obama’s administration was that no White House official will ever interfere with any investigation that was led by the Department of Justice.
“Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false,” he added.
As of now, there has been no official statement from the White House stating from where Donald Trump got the news about Barack Obama wiretapping his phones. Do you think to call the entire scenario McCarthyism was worth the notion? Sound off your views in the comments below.
[Featured Image by Jack Gruber-Pool/Getty Images]