Donald Trump

Does Donald Trump Hate the TSA as Much as the Rest of Us?

If it takes a QAnon conspiracy theorist to get the president pissed off at the TSA, then so be it.

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Yuri Gripas/CNP/AdMedia/Newscom

We here at Reason are not exactly coy about our dislike of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Forgive us for thinking that providing security theater doesn't justify molesting children at the airport, forcing mothers to waste their breast milk, or otherwise harassing harmless travelers.

And a tweet from President Donald Trump suggests he's with us on this one. Sort of. Late Tuesday night, the president retweeted a video of a boy being patted down for almost two minutes by a TSA agent. "Not a good situation!" Trump said:

First things first. He's absolutely right: It is a terrible situation. Now I don't necessarily blame the agent—he was likely just doing his job. But sometimes it's the job that's the problem. Groping a boy in a T-shirt and shorts who very clearly didn't pose a threat is pointless, even if "his laptop alarmed an explosives trace detection machine," which the TSA claimed in a blog post. (Spoiler alert, there were no explosives.) This video might not be as bad as the one showing agents groping a 96-year-old woman in a wheelchair, but it's still a pretty glaring instance of security theater at its worst.

And it's not like the TSA is actually good at evaluating true risks. In fact, it has a pretty awful track record of identifying weapons that could actually pose a threat. A 2015 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) investigation, for instance, revealed that in 67 out of 70 cases, undercover investigators succeeded in smuggling weapons or explosives through security. Things don't appear to have gotten much better. In November 2017, another DHS investigation revealed that TSA screeners were still failing to identify test weapons at a high rate. The failure rate was "in the ballpark" of 80 percent, a source told ABC News at the time.

While the TSA is great at confiscating plastic toys, bullet-shaped ice cubes, and rocket-propelled grenade replicas, firearms and explosives are a completely different story.

So yes, Trump is right to criticize the TSA. But there are a few caveats, which The Washington Post has done a good job of pointing out. Trump was retweeting well-known comedian Larry the Cable Guy, who had retweeted conservative actor James Woods, who had shared a post from an account called "Deep State Exposed." That account is run by Jeremy Stone, a conspiracy theorist and follower of QAnon. (If you don't know what QAnon is, then you might want to stop reading now.) Its followers believe most major world institutions are working together in a conspiracy that also involves a child sex ring. Trump was convinced to run for president by military generals, the theory goes, and he's secretly working to dismantle the ominous Deep State.

The TSA video in question is also two years old, having sparked outrage back in March 2017 when it was initially released.

Now Trump, for his part, has previously criticized the TSA (mainly during his 2016 campaign), calling it a "total disaster" and saying it was "falling apart." But he hasn't done much to fix it.

Retweeting a 2-year-old video that resurfaced thanks to a conspiracy theorist does not necessarily mean changes at the TSA are coming any time soon. Trump has been complaining about Saturday Night Live skits that poke fun at him for some time now, but he hasn't actually done anything about it.

So no, Trump is probably not going to privatize the TSA or even implement much-needed reforms. But if he does, and it's because a QAnon follower got him pissed off at the TSA, then that's just fine with me.

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94 responses to “Does Donald Trump Hate the TSA as Much as the Rest of Us?

  1. Now I don’t necessarily blame the agent?he was likely just doing his job.

    Stop. Just . . . stop. You’re already conceding the argument. Why are you letting this guy off the hook? At what point does ‘just doing his job’ change over to ‘just following orders’? Why does one remove agency from the actor but the other one doesn’t? Why is ‘just doing my job’ an excuse for someone’s actions?

    This guy has moral agency. He could have chosen to not do this. He could have chosen another career. He chose to do this. Whether or not you think he’s in the wrong here, *he chose*.

    Don’t infantilize people.

    1. Moral victories are great for people not living paycheck to paycheck. If it’s between frisking people and paying for your family to live, the choice is clear: Do the job asked of you and then find another job ASAP.

      1. Nazis had to live paycheck to paycheck too.

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      2. I see. Its all so clear now. That cartel member killing people – its not his fault. He’s just trying to feed his family. As such he is morally blameless now for his actions.

        As I said, the man made a choice – agree with that choice or not, do not demean him by pretending he didn’t.

        1. I never said it wasn’t his fault. He chose to the job and understood the tasks. But I won’t equate inconveniencing and annoying travelers with the murder of innocents.

          On that note: That kind of slippery slope equivalency radicalizes the minds of impressionable angry nitwits (like LC above, or Timothy McVeigh) to commit atrocities like the OKC bombing. Red Rocks White Power said it disturbingly best…”nits make lice” in reference to the murder of the children and wives of striking miners (communists to him). To him, and other unhinged creeps on here, your hyperbole strikes a chord, helping them to come to conclusions that their relatively week minds would not have otherwise pursued…I truly hope they are just impotent keyboard warriors and don’t actually act on their radicalization.

          1. Got confused on your way to WaPo, didn’t you, Eric.
            Just another progressive who tries to claim libertarian

      3. “frisking people”

        “Groping a boy…”

    2. From the comments:

      “Submitted by Amanda Tighe on Tue, 2017-03-28 21:34
      Job well done to the TSA officer from the video this article is referring to. Nothing about the video seemed excessive, as a frequent traveler I appreciate them going the extra mile to ensure the safety of the masses!”

      1. That was a ghost account for TSA Bob.

        1. He’s the union business agent for the Chicago area, right?

    3. As someone who always goes through the opt-out procedure, this is the standard groping procedure. I, for one, appreciate the free junk massage. Remember, the trick is to maintain eye contact the whole time.

    4. “This guy has moral agency. ”

      It’s not illegal or immoral for a TSA employee to pat down a passenger. Even if the passenger is young or wheelchair bound. If it were, you’d have a point.

      1. No, I still have a point.

        Seyton is saying its ‘not his fault, he’s just following orders’. He *chose* to follow those orders. Without commenting on whether he was right or wrong to do so, he, as a grown ass man, chose to do what he did.

        1. ‘Just following orders’ was Eichmann’s defense for his involvement in genociding Jews during WWII. If patting down a passenger were in any way analogous to Eichmann’s crimes, you’d have a point. I don’t see you’ve made that case. TSA agents have never yet killed any passenger or conspired to transport them to their deaths. I’ve actually passed through TSA check points. It was a minor inconvenience, and I felt nothing illegal or immoral was being perpetrated against me.

          But you are correct that TSA agents have taken the job voluntarily and haven’t been forced. It’s never easy to forfeit a job and a livelihood, but that option is always on the table.

          1. No, they haven’t killed anyone that I know of, but touching a child in that matter is a serious crime, at least in my state. The law lists no exception for TSA employees. Perhaps it does in Texas, but I’d be surprised.

            1. If it’s against the law, then we have recourse in the courts. The matter should be resolved after a decade and a few million $US or so. The practice could end sooner if there were a groundswell of opposition against it or widespread public refusal to have any part of it. I’m not seeing any of this. Most people I figure view it as I do, a regrettable inconvenience, not a moral outrage to rival Eichmann’s crimes.

              1. Ahhh. You’re one of those.

                ‘If the courts say its legal then we must submit!’ types.

                1. I’m not saying you have to submit to anything. You can walk for all I care. I’m cautioning you from putting too much faith in the courts to sort out your problems for you.

              2. Ahhh. You’re one of those.

                ‘If the courts say its legal then we must submit!’ types.

            2. Yea it’s wrong
              But the TSA agent still deserves asylum.

              (Did I get it right, chemjeff?)

          2. So where is the dividing line?

            Where does ‘just following orders’ stop being a defense.

            We see that, according to you, for genocide its not a defense, but for detaining and groping free people is.

            So, at what point does it stop being a defense?

            1. Are the orders legal or illegal?

              1. If the orders came straight from Hitler, they had to be legal, right?

      2. It was not illegal or immoral for the Inquisitors to light the bonfire at the feet of witches.

        1. If they tried that today, it would be. Perhaps next week or next year, TSA agents patting down passengers will face the same sanctions and today’s would be witch burners.

          1. So, you don’t have moral standards of your own; you just follow fashion.

            1. “So, you don’t have moral standards of your own; you just follow fashion.”

              Fashion changes season to season. Moral prohibitions against murder and theft tend to change very little over the years.

              1. Moral prohibitions against diddling little boys have been pretty stable for a while, too.

                1. You’ve persuaded yourself that this is a form of sexual assault. Now you just need to persuade other people that this is a form of sexual assault. Start with the president. He has the power to put an end to your diddlings.

                  1. It’s not a matter of what I’ve “persuaded myself” of. This is a sexual assault according to the letter of the law. I also see it as immoral, which of course is my opinion, but you can see from the other comments that I’m not alone in that.

                    1. “This is a sexual assault according to the letter of the law. ”

                      The president has the power to see that TSA agents who pat down passengers are charged with sexual assault. Start with him.

                      “but you can see from the other comments that I’m not alone in that.”

                      You are going to have to do better than a handful of pseudonymous internet trolls. A Public groundswell is what I said. An action of civil disobedience that paralyzes an airport, for example. Something that has consequences in the real world where real people with real names lose valuable time and money. Until something like that happens, it’s just easily ignored and quickly forgotten whinging.

                    2. The president has the power to see that TSA agents who pat down passengers are charged with sexual assault

                      What? Where did you get that idea? The President has nothing to do with enforcement of state criminal laws.

                    3. “The President has nothing to do with enforcement of state criminal laws.”

                      You’re probably right about that. It’s also probably more accurate to say that the president has the power to disband the TSA or set a no pat down policy. If you think that millions are being systematically sexually assaulted at airports, a crime on the scale of the holocaust or the inquisition, then you should do what you think is called for. If you put your mind to it you might come up with something better than the impotent whinging I see all over this board. Personally, I’d stick closer to the inconvenience of the thing which nobody can deny. Stay away from lurid accusations of sexual assault.

      3. Yes, it’s immoral. And anything can be made legal, so that argument is worthless.

        1. “Yes, it’s immoral.”

          Well, I’m something of an expert, having actually passed through TSA checkpoints. In my experience, the agents didn’t assault me, rob me, lie to me, or do anything to me which I found immoral.

    5. At what point does ‘just doing his job’ change over to ‘just following orders’?

      When some actual harm is done, not just making your agency look foolish?

  2. The Real James Woods is a maga hat-wearing white supremacist. No thanks.

    1. Ad hominem.

  3. “Trump was retweeting…..”

    I’m not sure why we, or Trump, should particularly care who originated something five or six steps back, if it’s valid in it’s own right.

    If David Duke complains that the Weather channel ruined the Weather Underground website after they bought it out, and six or seven steps removed, I quote somebody about that, does the fact that David Duke thought it too render the point invalid? Should I have tracked it back through the complete chain?

    Be Reasonable here. It’s in your name.

  4. He probably hates the TSA about the same as he hates the rest of us.

    1. He loves me. Trump sends me all sorts of emails about what is going on with government roll backs.

      1. Yeah, he does that to all of us – which is why none of us have ever received an email from him.

  5. >>>(If you don’t know what QAnon is, then you might want to stop reading now.)

    but you go on to explain immediately after.

  6. SNL is gay ass, lame ass, punk ass, lazy ass comedy.

    1. You’re a soyboy cuck gay ass who is triggered by a television show.

      1. Why are you a smart alec?

        Some of you really need a slap off the side of the head.

        By now you should kinda get the feel of the humour among some of us.

        1. By now you should kinda get the feel of the humour among some of us, you silly fag.

    2. “SNL is gay ass, lame ass, punk ass, lazy ass comedy.”

      As long as it makes you laugh, who cares?

      1. Has SNL made anyone laugh since, oh, say, 1984?

        1. Alex Baldwin’s impression of Trump (an admittedly easy target) made me laugh. Did you find it offensive and disrespectful? Or just too assy?

          1. I found it to be a credible impression. It just wasn’t funny. It was just ‘hur-dur, look at what a rube I am, I put ketchup on steak.’

            1. Trump has several mentions in American Psycho. Patrick Bateman has nothing but respect for Trump’s superior sense of style and taste. Try the novel.

  7. Many people commenting on these outrages say, “it’s LEGAL because HE WAS JUST DOING HIS JOB!”, but has that ever actually been tested? Has any parent actually called the police and sworn a complaint against a TSA molester? How do we know it’s “legal” if that’s never been tried?

    1. Let’s assume the trial gets to the Supreme court. It’s well known that they determine the verdict (ruling), and then work backwards to explain it with “logic” or “reason”. So, “legal” is a meaningless term.

      Rex Lex

    2. You mean, why isn’t someone charged with breaking a law he patently is not breaking?

      Look, you don’t want your kid fondled, don’t take him through the airport check-point, but don’t do it and then shriek with outrage when the inevitable occurs.

      1. I would have to read the Texas law on sexual imposition to know for sure he’s breaking it. That’s more work than I’m willing to do just to be right in an H&R thread. In my state, what the agent is doing in the video clearly WOULD violate the letter of the law.

  8. …he was likely just doing his job.

    Exactly what Hitler said.

  9. A 2015 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) investigation, for instance, revealed that in 67 out of 70 cases, undercover investigators succeeded in smuggling weapons or explosives through security.

    Can confirm. I went on my honeymoon in 2015 and, due to a miscommunication between me and my wife, my dive knife got stowed in my carry-on.

    So it was in the cabin on flights from Nashville to Houston to LA to Sydney.

    Afterwards, on our way out of Sydney, my wife’s nail scissors were confiscated by the Australian authorities.

    1. So true. It is just security theatre, and not very good theatre at that. Go to a country with real security, like Israel, and you’ll see how it’s done.

    2. Yup, my mom just brought a knife through all the bullshit for her visit.

    3. Some years ago, I took my 11 YO son to Texas for a family event over Fourth of July. We lived in California back then, so the kid had never seen “real” fireworks, so we over spent and over burned a lot of the rockets, motars, roman candles, firecrackers, etc.

      I did not check his carry-on prior to the return flight. Get home, unpacking everything and there’s a shitload of fireworks in his carry-on.

      1. You don’t burn mortars, you burn the shells shot from them.

        Teach him how to make fireworks. Then he’ll know the real thing, & have more respect for them.

  10. With the stroke of a pen, he could rid us of thousands of pub-sec union workers!

  11. Two things can be alarming at the same time. The TSA molesting children is alarming. The president getting his information about the world from rightwing nutjob internet sources is also alarming, on perhaps a somewhat bigger scale.

    1. “The president getting his information about the world from rightwing nutjob internet sources is also alarming, on perhaps a somewhat bigger scale.”

      Yeah, shitbag, he should only listen to brain-dead lefties like you.

    2. He got it from Larry the Cable guy. The qnon was 3 steps away. So given that fact are you upset he released that drug dealing grandma because he heard about her from Kim Kardashian? Should he have not released her because of the source. That seems pretty shitty to me.

      1. I think the president of the United States shouldn’t be an internet troll. No disrespect to internet trolls.

        1. Well said, internet troll.

    3. world from rightwing nutjob internet sources is also alarming

      Rachel Maddow, the New Alex Jones.

    1. Having to deal with the little people is so exhausting

    2. Dude has the widest part ever.

  12. If Trump hates the TSA, the Democrats will rise up to desperately defend it. Because Orange Man Bad.

    1. I don’t understand why you people wish for your betters to be as dumb as you. This is called projection. We don’t hate Trump because he is Trump. We hate him because he is terrible.

      1. Most people have no principles when it comes to politics. They go with TEAM. If Trump suddenly declared he was a Democrat today, you’d start by remaining silent, attempting reconcile your distaste for him with the fact that he’s suddenly the quarterback for your team. Then as the TEAM D echochamber started justifying his actions and defending him, you’d slowly come on board and begin reflexively defending him from the unfair abuse he’d start getting from TEAM R. At some point cognitive dissonance would fully kick in, and you’d be a Trumpkin.

        It would be the ultimate Troll move on his part to switch parties all of the sudden.

        1. You mean switch parties again.
          He was a Democrat for years.

          1. He’s still basically a moderate/conservative 90’s Democrat if you look at his policies.

      2. “Betters” Bwuhahahahaha!

      3. So much for “equality”. Tony’s already put us on the chopping block.

        Tony, did you know I got a degree from a State University? In Economics? Summa Cum Laude?

        As my recruiter said, “He scored about as well at the ASVAB as you can.”

        So, according to your god, the government, I’m a frikkin’ genius.

        So, either [A], they are NOT my betters and the government is right. Or, [B] the government is wrong and they are (again), not my betters.

        Any way you look at it Tony, you are wrong.

        BTW, that’s what we call “reason”, Tony. You should learn it sometime.

  13. ALL TSA agents belong in prison. No exceptions.

  14. Well if Trump can’t have any fun as president, then no one else gets to either.

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  16. in an article attacking the ridiculous tsa you bitch about confiscating a realistic fake rpg launcher, which guess what, is a very reasonable decision. do you want the ability of someone to jump up in an airplane and point an rpg launcher at people? you had tens of thousands of stupid incidents committed by the tsa to choose from but you somehow pick one where they do a competent job. this is not how you do persuasive writing. you writers at reason suck at your job as bad as the tsa does at their.

  17. What in God’s name made ANYONE think a concatenation of rent-seeking morons (a.k.a. TSA employees) could EVER be effective in increasing security. Some time ago, my brother drove me to the airport, and I got out of his car without my suitcase, and my brother brought it into O’Hare airport to give it to me, not knowing, of course, it has a revolver in it! Despite the presence of a 100% metal handgun in the suitcase, neither the security check at the entrance to my gate, nor the “final” security check immediately before boarding the plane provided ANY indication I had walked on to an airliner with a gun!

    I was going to go back through security to check the luggage, but I decided not to as I just might have been “found out” by the TSA morons the second time around! As I have said previously, government fucks EVERYTHING up!

  18. He retweeted a tweet from Larry the Cable guy and you give credit to a conspiracy guy? And you thank the conspiracy guy? What? Why?
    Be careful not to fall off the chair while reaching, smh.

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