In an opinion piece published Monday night, columnist Dana Milbank of The Washington Post explained that President Donald Trump is “right” when he uses the term “witch hunt” in his social media posts, mainly because the president appears to have the “characteristics of a witch,” as observed by a renowned witchcraft expert.
Among all the expressions Trump uses in his Twitter rants, “witch hunt” appears to be one of his favorites, as Milbank noted that he has used the term 261 times since taking office as president. This included a post that Trump shared on Monday when he tweeted that 50 percent of Americans feel that way about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Per USA Today, this was one of several takeaways from a poll the outlet conducted with the help of Suffolk University, as the results pointed to a nation less confident about what Mueller’s probe may reveal when the special counsel submits his report.
According to Milbank, Donald Trump is indeed justified in calling the Mueller investigation a witch hunt, albeit not for the same reasons mentioned by the president in his tweets. The Washington Post columnist cited Thomas J. Rushford, a “leading authority” in witchcraft and a history professor at Northern Virginia Community College, who called Trump a “[quintessential] witch figure” in the light of society trying to defend what is “ethically and morally right.”
Although witch hunts are typically thought of as events where innocent people get burned at the stake, Milbank explained that such activities did not always come with a negative connotation, as some of their targets were indeed guilty of one offense or another. He explained that witchcraft was, while mostly illegal, considered a part of everyday life in the 16th and 17th century until untoward events, such as babies dying or livestock falling ill, would happen, forcing authorities to “[crack] down on bad magic.”
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Comparing the so-called “bad magic” from centuries past to modern-day misdeeds, Milbank wrote that there are certain things that people can do today — acts of racism, infidelity to one’s partner, cheating on taxes, and lying to business associates, to name a few — that are “often ignored” because of how ubiquitous they are in today’s society.
“But when, say, the president smashes social norms in an extreme way — attacking minorities, boosting his wealth with foreign money, paying hush money to a porn actress — the culture no longer tolerates his bad magic,” he continued.
Adding to the above explanation, Milbank further cited and quoted Rushford, who said that Trump has “done the same kind of things” as those who were proven to be “true” witch figures in the past after committing something serious enough to alert authorities. The columnist also posited that Trump’s “dubious” standards weren’t much of a problem when he was mainly known as a real estate magnate in the private sector, but are shaping up to be a much bigger concern at the present now that he is perceived to be using those same standards while serving as president.
“Just as Europeans had laws against witchcraft some 450 years ago, the United States today has laws about cheating on taxes, working for foreign powers, and lying to lenders and civil authorities,” Milbank wrote. “Five former Trump advisers have admitted violating these laws, and a sixth has been charged. That’s half a coven.”
In conclusion, Milbank wrote that Donald Trump, through his alleged actions as a businessman and as the president of the United States, has been committing a modern-day form of “bad magic,” and therefore cannot complain about witch hunts when he himself is “the guy stirring the cauldron.”