July 19, 2019
Was Trump’s serial outburst against four minority women a calculated political ploy or just the Donald in typical form? His history of racist comments suggests the latter. However, there has been a good deal of speculation that his comments were designed to achieve two ends: fire up his bigoted base and force Democrats to defend “the Squad,” thereby identifying the Party with its extreme wing. Although I incline to the view that Trump isn’t intelligent enough or disciplined enough to devise and carry out a political plan, he has advisors, and their re-election strategy seems to be based on holding the states that he won in 2016; Trump’s campaign appearances have focused on those states. Planning for another minority win, depending again on the undemocratic electoral college, nailing down that vote through an appeal to prejudice is pathetic, but then . . . .
Following that plan, Trump, at a rally in North Carolina Wednesday, went on at length about Rep. Ilhan Omar’s actual or imagined statements, with the obvious intent of turning the crowd against her. Taking their cue from his tweets about Omar and her colleagues, (“you can’t leave fast enough”), and his anti-Hillary slogan (“lock her up”), they chanted — spontaneously? — “send her back!”
However, some Republican members of Congress denounced the chant, and the advisors may be having second thoughts. At a news conference on Thursday, Trump claimed that he was “not happy” with the chant, and that he had cut it off by “speaking very quickly.” In fact, as video shows, he was silent for twelve seconds while the chant continued, exhibiting no disapproval, then went on talking about Omar. Later he tossed out “Pocahontas” just to show how much he disapproves of racial politics.
During the 1984 campaign, some of President Reagan’s advisors thought he had been too carefully managed, and advocated letting Reagan be Reagan. Trump’s allies may decide that a similar strategy won’t work for as ugly a character as he is. However, they may not have a choice. On Friday, Trump returned to form. The crowd at the rally, presumably including the chanters, are “incredible patriots.” As to Omar, “She’s lucky to be where she is, let me tell you. And the things that she has said are a disgrace to our country.” He’s no longer unhappy about the chant: “No, you know what I’m unhappy with — the fact that a congresswoman can hate our country. I’m unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman can say anti-Semitic things.” Trump will be Trump.
44. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-day-after-distancing-himself-from-hostile- chant-trump-criticizes-media-for-its-coverage-of-his-rally/2019/07/19/9c094c16-aa12-11e9-9214-246e594de5d5_story.html?_view=prod&utm_term=.a1d82f49a693&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1