Ksenija Pavlovic Mcateer writes about the toxic experience of covering the White House and about the future of American democracy.


I’ve been thinking for some time now how to approach the political developments in the White House. My biggest concern was perspective: am I too close to the heat for my own liking? The constant, poisonous atmosphere, lack of an informed political discourse, yelling, shouting, and daily insults, endless waiting with no regard for the time of the journalists, political scandals and innuendos—that’s what my three past years have been like in covering the White House. 

As I drove all the way to New York City for the Columbus Day weekend, I hoped to see a different type of America than what I see in the White House press corps. As I was walking the streets of midtown Manhattan, I felt all the energy of a melting pot, created by immigrants; it’s immigrants who have made this country truly great. In the Big Apple, no one seemed to care about Trump, local divisions, nationalities, everyone was walking and working and living together chasing what’s left of the American dream.

My biggest issue with the Trump administration is the lack of humanity. That’s the foundational point for policy development of a man who only understands bullying and brute force. His Chief of Staff Mulvaney, wants us to “get over it”. He is like a bully who, when abusing a victim, pretends it’s totally normal. He wants us to accept abuses of power and abuses of public trust. Mulvaney is trying to be the “tough guy,” his Boss, the Donald wants him to become, but he’s not made to withhold the pressure. So, he ended up exploding all over the place on live TV.

I did not sign up to live in such a world. I did not sign up to live in political abuse twenty-four-seven, being told that what I see is not what is. The sun is shining while the political storms are destroying the pillars of American democracy. This is no longer the country whose foundational values attracted those who want to live free.  

Times change but not for the better. 

Trump likes his power, and he’s becoming more and more attached to the idea of keeping it. Who will stop him?

When you have military leaders speaking against the Commander in Chief, you know that the clock of American democracy has struck a dark hour. My political experience of America under Trump is relational. We do not even get to the policies as there is only one: the politics of personal insults. The Game of Thrones where the most cruel, the most vicious gets the biggest reward. 

I do not think that Putin nor Erdogan nor Kim Jong-un have any respect for Donald Trump, despite how hard he tries to please them. Trump is a weak leader. Even those who do not speak or understand English think that the way he acts out is a disgrace. 

The biggest danger I see in the Trump administration is about how the truth about him is spun relentlessly in his favor by his allies. Trump is abusing its own people, its own country. Admiral McRaven is right. America is under attack. 

Ksenija Pavlovic is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Pavlovic Today, The Chief White House Correspondent. Pavlovic was a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department at...

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