Trump’s chameleon rhetoric

There’s what Trump says for public consumption, and there’s his political rhetoric. They’re very different.

What he says for public consumption:

“My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God Bless all!”

Well, that was bizarre in itself, but as Quartz points out, “The Trump administration’s condolences have so far failed to use the word ‘Muslim’ or ‘Islam.'” Like they’re avoiding the topic. And they have every reason to; Trump’s and the GOP’s anti-Muslim bigotry is well known. And as the Independent pointed out, “The president responded to the mass shootings the following morning on Twitter in a statement that failed to describe the event as an act of terror, as New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had called it the night before.” Probably not an accidental omission; it’s not easy to call a white nationalist killer a “terrorist” when you’re a white nationalist who jokes about shooting people.

Which brings us to his political rhetoric. (Note: Some of the attributions below are duplicative.)

Exhibit A:

Earlier this week, Trump issued “a thinly veiled threat of violence against his opponents, saying that members of the police, military and biker gangs could ‘play it tough’ if they ‘reach a certain point.'” That’s strongman talk that has no place in a free democracy. And coming from the President of the United States, it sounds like he’s giving them permission to do just that. His intent may have been to merely describe his supporters, but merely having such supporters and catering to them is a problem.

Exhibit B:

“Pro-Trump extremists sought to slaughter Somali Muslim immigrants in Kansas before authorities managed to intervene. The men chose their targets after Trump called refugees ‘the greatest Trojan horse of all time,’ according to court filings. The case is one of more than a dozen where apparent Trump supporters attacked or plotted to attack Muslims. Acts of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism have surged during Trump’s presidency, with more than 150 instances of Trump-related taunts and attacks, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.”

Exhibit C: 

“During the 2016 presidential election cycle, Trump continuously called for his supporters to commit violence against protestors. ‘If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you?’ Trump said at a 2016 rally in Iowa. ‘Seriously, OK. Just knock the hell — I promise you I will pay for the legal fees, I promise.’ It worked. Videos taken at Trump rallies show his supporters lobbing punches at protestors.”

Exhibit D:

“In 2017, a gaggle of white supremacists committed acts of violence in Charlottesville, leading to the killing of anti-racist protestor Heather Heyer. It should have been a layup for the president to condemn the attack. He defended his racist supporters instead.”

Exhibit E:

“Last October, pipe bombs were mailed to the political enemies of Trump and to the New York offices of CNN, which Trump has consistently deemed the ‘enemy of the people.’ The Florida suspect in that case drove a van plastered with images of the president, and had told coworkers he ‘wanted to go back to the Hitler days.'”

Exhibit F:

“President Donald Trump on Friday condemned a mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand, then used the suspected shooter’s hateful rhetoric about Muslims to describe immigrants to the U.S.”

Trumpism is a form of fascism .. click on the redhat

Trump defenders brush off his violent rhetoric as inconsequential, as something just rhetorical, as Trump merely “being Trump.” That’s not so. We’re in a bad place, and as GQ points out, “There aren’t two sides: Trump’s violent rhetoric is what got us here.” That was published after bombs were mailed to prominent Democrats and liberal-leaning news organizations. It’s no longer possible to make excuses for this man. If you still support him, you’re part of the problem, because your continued support enables this and makes it possible.

Trump’s party, the GOP, has utterly failed in its civic responsibility to keep a lid on his violent tendencies:

“GOP leaders have largely ignored Trump’s repeated calls for violence. After Trump claimed to have the might of the military on his side, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) stayed quiet. Sens. McConnell and John Cornyn (R-Texas), along with Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) did not respond to HuffPost’s requests asking if they would condemn Trump’s latest remarks.”

(Source of above quote: Click here.)

Even worse, the New Zealand shooter’s rhetoric echoes in some respects that coming from Republicans in Congress. For example. What the shooter said:

“If there is one thing I want you to remember from these writings, it’s that the birthrates must change, even if we we were to deport all non-Europeans from our lands tomorrow, the European people would still be spiraling into decay and eventual death.”

What Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said:

“I’m watching emotion take over reason. When I made a statement on Twitter saying, ‘We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,’ it seemed to be more irritating to the left than anything I have ever said. First of all, the total fertility rate in Europe is below replacement rate. When that happens, you are a dying civilization.”

What the shooter said:

“We are experiencing an invasion on a level never seen before in history. Millions of people are pouring across our borders, legally, invited by the state and corporate entities to replace the white people who have failed to reproduce, failed to create cheap labor, new consumers and tax base that the corporations and states needs to thrive.”

What Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said:

“We know that the invasion into France by the Allied Forces consisted of about 150,000 troops. About 150,000 people was the biggest invasion in history. And since then, we come up to the year 2014 and the New York Times reported that just in the recent months we have had 240,000 adults and 52,000 children, now it’s being reported that it’s closer to 60,000 children, as I understand the article said, since April, just two months, we’ve had nearly 300,000 people invade the United States through Texas. And then it’s now being reported that there are 300,000 people making their way up from Central America to the United States.”

What the shooter said:

“Diversity is not a strength. Unity, purpose, trust, traditions, nationalism and racial nationalism is what provides strength. Everything else is a catchphrase.”

What Rep. King said:

“Diversity is not our strength. Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, ‘Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one.'”

(Orban is a notorious European fascist who, while in power, has curbed civil liberties and restricted freedom of speech in his country.) Source for above quotes: Click here.

(Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

A few days ago, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called Trump “unfit to be President,” but that’s merely stating the obvious.

Fitness has nothing to do with it. The Constitution doesn’t make that a qualification to be president. The American people can elect a Hitler if they want to. It’s our responsibility not to.

Trump wasn’t chosen by a majority of us, having lost the popular vote by a wide margin, and is in office by virtue of an electoral system created to perpetuate slavery. Still, it’s our system, and the Constitution doesn’t give us an option to un-elect presidents who prove to be unsuccessful, unfit, or obnoxious.

We should be extremely reluctant to toy with reversing election results, even when voters make poor choices. That’s a very slippery slope; just one instance of that is all it takes to delegitimize the entire system with all its safeguards, and all a future dictator would need to justify seizing power in the name of a “national emergency.”

The fact is, he is president, and will remain so until his term expires or Republicans cooperate with his removal via a constitutional process, which seems very unlikely given their track record. The reality is that the 2020 election is likely to be our sole recourse to this toxic presidency. We can only hope our side turns out to vote. You can expect Republicans to do everything in their power to keep Trump in power. They like their trash-talking white supremacist leader just fine.

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