Ben Shapiro, a right-wing political commentator and the editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire, attempted to defend President Donald Trump in light of testimony from Bill Taylor, the United States’ top diplomat in Ukraine. Taylor testified that the Trump administration had circumvented normal diplomatic channels and that Trump ordered that foreign aid to the country be dependent on Ukraine’s president launching an investigation into one of Trump’s political enemies.
During Wednesday’s episode of his podcast, Shapiro defended Trump’s behavior surrounding Ukraine. In part of that defense, Shapiro argued that government is a “self-fulfilling prophecy” in which leaders rule according to their perception of what the government is like. Because Trump had good reason to believe the government was corrupt since he was being targeted by Democrats, Shapiro argued, he chose to use “improper channels” to do his political bidding.
“He also feels as if he has been targeted, and correctly so. He feels that he is being targeted by people inside his own administration, to the cheers of the media. And that’s true, he is being targeted by people in his own administration to the cheers of the media,” Shapiro said.
To back up his claims that Trump was right to feel targeted, Shapiro cited recent news reports that the author of an anonymous New York Times op-ed last year, identified only as a senior official in the Trump administration, will be publishing a book called “A Warning.” He argued that the book was the type of thing that would rightly motivate Trump to set up improper communications channels.
“That’s not good for the presidency. It’s not good for the country. And of course, it’s going to underscore how suspicious Trump is of people inside his administration, and it’s going to encourage Trump to set up exactly the sort of irregular channels that Bill Taylor was talking about,” Shapiro said. “Why would you set up an irregular channel? The only reason to set up an irregular channel is because you don’t trust the regular channel. One of the reasons you might not trust the regular channel is it feels like the regular channel is being used as a method of hurting you.”
Shapiro added, “It’s hard to argue with Trump about why Trump should feel differently.”
The anonymously authored book set to come out later this year is, according to Shapiro, “underscoring the president’s distrust in government, which leads him to set up irregular channels, which leads them to make mistakes, which leads him into traps, which leads the Democrats to seem to believe that they have material to impeach.”
Later in the same episode of his podcast, Shapiro argued that Trump’s comparison of the impeachment process to “lynching” was not actually problematic.