“Something” Just Doesn’t Cut It.
President shows tremendous lack of leadership in response to racial-hate fueled domestic terrorism
Look, we make no secret of the fact that we are not huge fans of President Trump. (Though we also don’t hesitate to praise him when he does something good). But we sure expected something solid out of him Monday, after he’d had almost a whole weekend (yeah, albeit at his golf club in New Jersey) to figure out some kind of response beyond “God bless” and a vague pledge to make “something” happen in response to a deadly terrorist attack on the American public this weekend. We don’t expect him to have all the answers right away. But it’s not like this is something totally new.
At time of publication of this story, the number of people killed in Texas just climbed to 22. Even if Trump had made a real proposal we didn’t agree with at all, it would’ve meant something to us in terms of response and leadership. There’s no excuse for not coming up with anything concrete, and a vision for how that might be achieved. Instead, the President read a statement, no questions allowed, and no real suggestions of any real changes in anything, really.
Instead, the President delivered what we feel we can objectively and charitably describe as a load of horsesh*t, that might make things even worse than they already are.
Here’s a clip of the strongest the President was willing to get today (click on the photo to watch):
But it came with no firm proposals or even specific instructions for things to get to work on. And he went on to make sure to say:
“Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger. Not the gun.”
It struck us as sad that mainstream media made a big deal out of the fact that the President actually said words in condemnation of racism and white supremacy. Like that does not go without saying anymore. Like it’s news for the American President to even say that.
Trump also broadly attacked the internet (which is something he’s grown increasingly fond of doing), and hinted that restrictions and regulations might be a future focus of his when he finally does decide how to address this, saying “the perils of the internet” also include human trafficking, illegal drug distribution, and so many other “heinous crimes”. In fact, according to the always intrepid Philip Bump in the Washington Post, Trump spent nearly 10% of his speech condemning “the internet and social media”, far more time than he devoted to “racism and hatred”.
And that doesn’t include going to town on the media, which the President did not do during his speech, but on Twitter. As usual Trump blamed media for stirring everything up in this country, not him. And anything that might happen in the future. What will he say when more reporters get targeted?
Yes, the President condemned White Nationalism. He used the word “terrorism”. But then he retreated behind the “mental health” argument the pro-gun lobby has used for years, and just doesn’t hold water anymore.
And let’s not forget the Tweets above where the President suggested “marrying” any legislative response to the shootings with immigration legislation, which immediately conflates and relates the two issues in a way that comes very close to endorsing the validity of the El Paso shooter’s world view, except for the part about driving 700 miles and killing as many Hispanics as possible as the way to fix it.
Is the President really so afraid of offending his base that he’s completely unwilling to bring up guns even a teeny-tiny little bit? Remember after Parkland when the President chided Republicans for being “afraid of the NRA”? And then said: “they have great power over you people, they have less power over me”? (Here’s a link to a video clip of that in case you forgot). What happened to that President? Answer: he turned into the Trump who at his most recent rally (at the end of last week in Ohio, coincidentally), who warned: “And just remember: with Democrats there is no 2nd Amendment. You can forget about ‘keep and bear arms’. You can forget it”.
That’s one helluva leader! Trump’s often credited as a great salesman, marketer, influencer, with those stadiums full of loyal fans in his thrall.
But his words and actions of late expose him as no thought leader, maybe a rabble-rouser at best. And a President who trembles at the rumblings of those he purports to inspire. And as long as he acts like that he’s got a real problem (or maybe not, maybe that’ll get him re-elected, but we don’t think so).
What explains Trump’s floundering and lack of the type of toughness for which he always gives himself so much credit?
We think it’s simple: Trump apparently believes his base truly believes this country is being invaded by Hispanics, and he needs them to believe this country is being invaded by Hispanics. He also apparently believes his base truly believes Democrats will take all their guns away, and he needs them to believe Democrats will take all their guns away. In short, he believes his base believes everything the shooter who killed 22 people in El Paso did, and he needs them to believe everything the shooter who killed 22 people in El Paso did, up to going out and killing people.
We gave Bloomberg a hard time yesterday, but we completely agree with them today when they say: “Trump must fix himself before he fixes El Paso and Dayton”. So too do we agree with the mostly reliably Trump-backing Rupert Murdoch owned New York Post:
Because what the President is showing: that’s not leadership. That’s not exercise of power. That’s cowering in fear and handing the reins over to lunatics and fanatics.