President Trump has shown a keen obsession with TV ratings and crowd size. But during his visit to Philadelphia today, it is fervently hoped that he will pay attention to the expected thousands of protesters who fear he is undermining the democratic process and threatening his own presidency.
From spreading bald lies to suppressing basic facts and information, the early days of the Trump administration are suggestive of a tin-pot dictatorship. That's not the look he wants, and neither do most Americans.
The president and his staff spent their first days in the White House debating the size of his inauguration crowd and spreading falsehoods. Their disturbing behavior gave credence to the narcissist label some apply to Trump. But he just dusted off earlier bogus claims of voter fraud. Trump told congressional leaders that up to five million illegal immigrants cost him the national popular vote by casting ballots for Hillary Clinton.
Never mind that Trump won the election by securing more Electoral College votes than Clinton. His agitation over losing the popular vote has turned him into a sore and distracted winner. It is beyond bizarre that more than two months after winning the election, Trump continues to allege voter fraud.
Despite little evidence to support his claims, Trump said on Wednesday he was asking for a "major investigation" into voter fraud. Just last month, when Jill Stein was seeking recounts in several states, Trump's lawyers said in a Michigan court filing: "All available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud or mistake."
Given other false information coming from the nascent Trump administration, and previous lies - like his bogus birther claims against former President Barack Obama - any investigation he orders will be suspect.
There are other alarming signs that the Trump administration is not interested in any basic facts that do not support its agenda, let alone the First Amendment.
Six journalists were arrested while covering the protests during Trump's inauguration and booked on felony rioting charges. A spokesman for the Committee to Protect Journalists said the arrests could send a chilling message to journalists and has called for the charges to be dropped.
Shortly after taking office, information about climate change was removed from the White House website and the Environmental Protection Agency was ordered to remove its climate change page, which includes links to scientific research about global warming.
Going forward, EPA scientists who want to publish or present their scientific findings will have their work reviewed on a "case-by-case basis" before it can be disseminated, according to a spokesman for the agency's transition team.
Every administration is free to set its own agenda. But the Trump administration is not free to say 2 + 2 = 5. This is no longer a reality TV show. Facts and the truth should rule policy debates.
Trump was elected president by promising to create jobs and help average Americans. If he could somehow stay focused on those bread and butter issues, the adoration he craves may follow.