Trump’s new midterm strategy: Outrage

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President Donald Trump spreads misinformation. A lot of it. Really, a lot.But every once in a while he will come out guns blazing in defense of the truth, demanding corrections and consequences for spreading falsehoods told by others, and using incorrect news reports to undercut the media as a whole.

He executed the well-practiced maneuver once again on Tuesday, seizing on images of detained migrant children in bare-bones holding areas that had been spread on Twitter to attack his immigration policies but turned out to have been taken in 2014 while President Barack Obama was still in office.

“Democrats mistakenly tweet 2014 pictures from Obama’s term showing children from the Border in steel cages,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Tuesday morning. “They thought it was recent pictures in order to make us look bad, but backfires. Dems must agree to Wall and new Border Protection for good of country…Bipartisan Bill!”

Then, hours later, came the broader indictment of the press: “The Fake Mainstream Media has, from the time I announced I was running for President, run the most highly sophisticated & dishonest Disinformation Campaign in the history of politics. No matter how well WE do, they find fault. But the forgotten men & women WON, I’m President!”

over an inaccurate tweet, slammed the media for mischaracterizing his characterization of some immigrants as “animals” and called for ABC to fire Brian Ross over an incorrect report concerning the Russia investigation.

This kind of rhetoric is emerging as a central element of his 2018 and 2020 campaign strategies. Republican strategists, including officials behind Trump’s reelection effort, are operating under the premise that Democrats will be plenty energized for the midterms and 2020 elections — and they largely see their job as helping the GOP match, or exceed, that energy.

“This is what happens when two parties are at war,” said former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, referring to Trump and the news media. “But like two combatants in a war, all the civilians can do is shake their heads. The issue of who fired the first bullet doesn’t really matter anymore. It’s just a war.”

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