In fairness to Mr. Trump, he only knows how to do one thing: win. This has been his lifelong obsession since he was underdog child number four of five to a loveless gold-digging mother and a ruthless father, an unquenchable will to dominate, to be number one. So when protesters express rage over yet another killing, by police, of an unarmed black man, this time handcuffed and slowly suffocated by a cop who kneels on his neck for almost nine minutes, Trump has only one move: double down.
These protesters, says the president of the United States, are thugs, like those black sons of bitches who knelt during the national anthem to bring attention to this so-called systemic problem of unaccountable, often murderous, police violence against blacks, those ungrateful malcontents, like Colin Kaepernick, who the NFL paid millions to and then did very well to fire and blacklist, the black son of a bitch.
Note: I love that the mother of one of these black “sons of bitches” went on television to tell the president that she was a bitch who was very proud to have raised the son of a bitch the president had just criticized on national TV for taking a principled, respectful knee during the national anthem. If the cops took a knee before these protesting crowds, used techniques to de-escalate tensions instead of responding with violence, there would be far less violence at these protests — in spite of the incitement of a handful of organized, largely white nationalist extremist, agitators intent on sparking a second Civil War.
Instead militarized police forces confront crowds in city after city with tear gas, mace, pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades (actually flash-bangs, used to disorient with a blinding flash of light as well as a deafening sound), phalanxes of truncheon wielding, helmet and shield wearing shock troops, and the Attorney General threatens to treat those crowds like a hostile army of enemy combatants, while America’s Greatest Winner calls for more police violence, while he cowers and fumes in the White House. Then lashes out at “weak” governors who look like “jerks” during a long, deranged, Hitler-in-the-bunker-style conference call.
Here are a couple of random digressions and observations from the man tasked with leading a violently divided nation at this supremely difficult moment, during a plague, at a time when its most influential demagogue is channeling his inner George Wallace. And his spineless underlings, the ones still not humiliated and fired, the Trump Dead-Enders, continue to enable him, pretend his increasingly unhinged behavior is quite normal and nothing in the least bit odd:
“It’s a movement, if you don’t put it down it will get worse and worse,” Trump said. “The only time it’s successful is when you’re weak and most of you are weak.”
A source on the call, who shared it with The Daily Beast, called Trump’s talk “unhinged,” noting that it often veered off in various directions. At one point, the source said, the president brought up flag burning and encouraged states to pass laws banning it.
“Flag burning is a disgrace… We have a different court. And I think that It’s time to review that again,” he said. “They wanted to climb up flag polls in Washington in order to burn flags, but we stopped them… If you wanted to try and pass a very powerful flag burning statute, anti-flag burning, I hope you do it because we will back you 100 percent, all the way. I hope some of you do it.”
At another, he blurred legal lines when discussing the needs for prosecution. “When someone is throwing a rock, that’s like shooting a gun. What’s the difference?” Trump said. “You have to do retribution in my opinion.”
We note that this rock throwing equals shooting a gun equation was the justification used by Israel’s racist, extreme rightwing Minister of Defense, Avigdor Leiberman, to authorize the use of deadly force against any Palestinian protester who picked up a rock, a clod of dirt, raised a fist, screamed in anger, etc. This authorization, in practice, sometimes also applied to medics and journalists who insisted on being near any of these vicious terrorists.
The violent tactics of authoritarians, and the provocative lines they draw in the sand before using deadly force, are remarkably consistent wherever they are applied.
God save these United States. This deranged leader surely can’t.