US President Donald Trump has used whataboutism in response to criticism leveled at him, his policies, or his support of controversial world leaders. National Public Radio (NPR) reported, “President Trump has developed a consistent tactic when he’s criticized: say that someone else is worse.” NPR noted Trump chose to criticize the Affordable Care Act when he himself faced criticism over the proposed American Health Care Act of 2017, “Instead of giving a reasoned defense, he went for blunt offense, which is a hallmark of whataboutism.” NPR noted similarities in use of the tactic by Putin and Trump, “it’s no less striking that while Putin’s Russia is causing the Trump administration so much trouble, Trump nevertheless often sounds an awful lot like Putin”.
When criticized or asked to defend his behavior, Trump has frequently changed the subject by criticizing Hillary Clinton, the Obama Administration, and the Affordable Care Act. When asked about Russian human rights violations, Trump has shifted focus to the US itself, employing whataboutism tactics similar to those used by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
After Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough called Putin a killer, Trump responded by saying that the US government was also guilty of killing people. Garry Kasparov commented to Columbia Journalism Review on Trump’s use of whataboutism: “Moral relativism, ‘whataboutism’, has always been a favorite weapon of illiberal regimes. For a US president to employ it against his own country is tragic.”
During a news conference on infrastructure at Trump Tower after the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, a reporter linked the alt-right to the fatal vehicle-ramming attack that was inflicted against counter-demonstrators, to which Donald Trump responded by demanding the reporter to “define alt-right to me” and subsequently interrupting the reporter to ask, “what about the alt-left that came charging at [the alt-right]?” Various experts[who?] have criticized Trump’s usage of the term “alt-left” by arguing that no members of the progressive left have used that term to describe themselves and furthermore that Trump fabricated the term to falsely equate the alt-right to the counter-demonstrators.
Wait….he forgot someone…