Trump's social media summit was a circus. Its aftermath was even worse. - 2019-07-12
The extent to which President Donald Trump has emboldened and empowered fringe views wasn't just on full view Thursday during a White House social media summit that featured many far-right conspiracy theorists and hoaxers — it was perfectly captured by the conduct of one attendee.
The day before the summit, former White House aide Sebastian Gorka was widely ridiculed for making an absurd claim on his radio show that the US women's national soccer team was seeking "to destroy everything that is wholesome in our country and in our Judeo-Christian civilization." But on Thursday, Gorka — back in the White House as an invited guest — was praised for doing a "good job" by the president before going on to verbally harass a member of the White House press corps.
Trump ended his speech at the summit — one that largely centered on a baseless conspiracy theory about Twitter conspiring to suppress his follower count — by taking a question from and praising Gorka, who despite working at the White House in the early days of the Trump administration introduced himself as though the president didn't know who he was. In a less amusing twist, Gorka followed that up by nearly instigating a physical altercation on White House grounds with a member of the White House press corps.