Trump campaigned using taunts and suggestions that all the Cesar Sayocs could have heard as calls to violent action. When a protester interrupted a rally, Trump announced that he would “like to punch him in the face” and waxed sentimental about the days when protesters would be “carried out on stretchers.”
He referenced a “Second Amendment” response to Hillary Clinton’s possible election and offered to pay the legal bills for those who assault his protesters.
Trump allies and fans rejected the notion that he was playing a dangerous game and instead praised his willingness to forgo political correctness and speak plainly. However, this wasn’t plain speech, it was incitement, and the notion that milder rhetoric is somehow less sincere is absurd.
Politicians who honor the boundaries of decency and public safety are not mealy-mouthed pleasers. They are normal adults who respect public safety.
As president, Trump never pivoted from his destructive campaign mode to become a leader of all the American people. Just weeks ago, he praised fellow Republican Greg Gianforte for assaulting a reporter who had asked him a question. “Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of … He was my guy,” said Trump.
The President’s encouragement of violence, combined with rhetoric about the press being “enemies of the people” and political opponents being un-American, are green lights for those who are vulnerable to suggestion. Worse, when you think about the President’s impact on fevered minds, is his penchant for conspiracy theories. With no evidence, he recently suggested terrorists were among immigrants now marching toward the United States.
Previously, Trump has said that the hurricane death toll in Puerto Rico was inflated to hurt him politically, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia may have been murdered, climate change is a “hoax” and millions of people voted illegally in 2016. Keep in mind, this is the President of the United States we’re talking about, and though they are favored on the fringes of the internet, none of these ideas is supported by facts.
Taken together, Trump’s paranoid rants encourage people to believe that almost anything can be true. [Continue reading…]