For someone so closely aligned with the Democratic Party, David Axelrod turned in a remarkably centrist performance during his appearance at CME Group’s 10th annual Global Financial Leadership Conference in Naples, Fla., on Tuesday.
Axelrod opened with predictable criticisms of the media methods of President Donald Trump, most notably the damage Trump causes when he denigrates important democratic institutions like the Department of Justice or the media. Stealing a phrase from former Vice President Al Gore, Axelrod said Trump seems to mistake unflattering stories about him that represent Inconvenient Truth with false stories and Fake News. However, the former Obama administration guru also pivoted to compliment Trump’s media savvy.
“Whether you support the President or not, you have to understand he has an almost preternatural understanding of the modern news environment,” Axelrod said.
Axelrod also chastised his fellow Democrats and others on The Left for what he calls “Trump Derangement Syndrome” – their penchant for overreacting to Trump’s moves in an effort to respond with “equal force.” Axelrod said such hyperbole from Trump’s detractors, including calls for his immediate impeachment, can do just as much damage to the rule of law and some of very same democratic institutions that they claim Trump is doing himself.
When asked about the evolving role of media in politics, Axelrod voiced concern over reporters’ inability to keep their personal views out of public view. Axelrod explained that such openness endangers the ability of reporters to be seen as objective by all sides.