'Deface the nation': A brief history of Trump's latest attack on the media

'Deface the nation': A brief history of Trump's latest attack on the media
Image via Screengrab

President Donald Trump seldom misses an opportunity to bash the mainstream media, and during a speech at an army tank plant in Lima, Ohio this week, Trump mockingly referred to CBS’ “Face the Nation” as “Deface the Nation.” It was a rally-the-base moment, as “Deface the Nation” is a line that has also been used by far-right AM talk radio veteran Rush Limbaugh—a frequent cheerleader for Trump’s presidency.

When the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman described Trump’s “Deface the Nation” comment as “a new anti-media line” on Twitter, CNN’s Mike Warren responded that “Deface the Nation” is a “Rush Limbaugh-ism.”

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida-based Twitter user Aaron Klueber (who describes himself as an “ex-GOP conservative with Libertarian leanings”) sarcastically tweeted that “Deface the Nation” is a new line “only if you chase it with 40 OxyContin”—clearly a reference to Limbaugh’s struggle with OxyContin addiction in 2003. Sixteen years ago, Limbaugh’s critics found it ironic that he was battling an addiction to pain medication after having been an aggressive and vocal proponent of the War on Drugs.

Limbaugh has also described the CBS talk show as “Slay the Nation.” Like Trump, he is a frequent critic of the mainstream media, which he calls the “drive-by media” (as in drive-by shootings).

Trump’s Lima speech wasn’t the first time he has used the “Deface the Nation” line. When the president was interviewed by CBS News’ John Dickerson in April 2017, he told him, “I love your show. I call it ‘Deface the Nation.’ But you know, your show is sometimes not exactly correct.” And Trump also used the “Deface the Nation” line that month during an interview with Julie Pace for the Associated Press.


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