Trump and Orlando

Okay, now I’ve digested lots of good stuff.  First, David Remnick (based just on Trump’s damning tweets before his damning comments on Monday):

In the rhetoric of Donald Trump, mendacity and cynicism compete for equal time. It is hard to say which prevailed today as the Republican Party standard-bearer, a man who pretends to the most powerful political office in the land, tweeted this at his followers: “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.” …

With every month, it has become clearer that Trump is a makeshift politician, whose rancid wit resides in his willingness to say whatever it takes to arouse the fears of a political base.[emphases mine] He might have started his campaign with the idea of winning some votes and publicity, increasing his profile as a marketing whiz, and then dropping out. Good for business! But now that he has stunned the political world—and, likely, himself—he has shown little inclination (or, perhaps, capacity) to grow into his role, to modify his language, be it for the sake of the Republican establishment or of simple decency. He’ll have none of that. Whatever inflates his sense of self and prods the anxieties of the country—that’s what works for him…

Trump’s ruse is that somehow the United States is not engaged militarily in the fight against isis, or that “political correctness” is the chief factor undermining American security. He feeds his constituents daily with the misbegotten notion that the country is being flooded with countless unchecked “aliens” from the Middle East, South Asia, and Mexico. The mouth moves and the lies pour forth. Any contrary evidence, any complexity, is foreign. Questioned on television to prove his points, faced with contrary evidence, he talks past it. Never mind all the firepower expended against isis targets, the territory gained, and the difficulty of taking back cities when ordinary civilians are used, en masse, as human shields. We are weak; we are politically correct…

The horror in Orlando was unspeakable. And we will learn much more about it in the days ahead. But today the event was made that much worse by a Presidential candidate who seeks to lead the country in complicated times and in its darker moments with self-aggrandizing tweets and hollow words.

Will Saletan argues that Trump is basically ISIS’s dream ally.  He’s right:

Trump is a fool. Analysts who see this atrocity as an act of radical Islamic terrorism—and who understand radicalism, Islam, and terrorism far better than Trump does—suspect it was inspired by a message from ISIS, issued three weeks ago. This elaborate statement, delivered by ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, urged ISIS sympathizers to attack civilians in Europe and the United States during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It also clarified the group’s propaganda and recruitment strategy. Trump’s platform of banning Muslims, blocking migrants, and ruthlessly bombing ISIS-held territory fits this strategy perfectly. He’s an ISIS stooge…

On each of these three points [read the whole thing if you want them], Trump’s rhetoric and agenda support ISIS. Trumpbacks Russia and Assad in their ruthless assaults on rebellious Syrian population centers. He calls for a “complete shutdown” of migration to the United States, specifically aimed at Muslims. He pledges to “bomb the shit” out of ISIS-held territory and loosen restraints on airstrikes that might kill civilians. He even advocates targeting the family members of terrorists, regardless of their innocence.

Trump also reinforces ISIS’s message that the campaign against it is a war against Islam. His ban on entry to the United States would apply to all Muslims, not just to radicals or supporters of terrorism…

In short, Trump would undercut everything that’s working against ISIS: Muslim governments that have joined our military campaign, clerics who are articulating moderate Islam, ministries and activists who are working online to discredit jihadism. He would help ISIS obtain the weapons it needs most: overseas recruits who are willing to kill people in their own countries. He would make another Orlando more likely.

Loved this line from David Graham’s take:

Trump’s speech was light on policy, suggesting a belief that if he repeated the phrase “radical Islam” frequently enough, it would solve the problem.

Again, seriously?!  Trump did little more than make the argument that we only need to be “strong” and use the phrase “radical Islam” a lot and our problems will be solved.  To call Trump a moron is an insult to morons.

And Yglesias on the sheer idiocy of all Trump had to offer today:

Any candidate can say something that’s wrong or doesn’t make sense. At one point during a debate, Bernie Sanders referred to the late king of Jordan as if he were still alive.

Any candidate can have a blind spot or two on policy. Nobody knows everything about everything.

But an effective president needs a degree of humility. A president needs to work on weak spots and have the self-awareness to know what he or she doesn’t know. Humility is not exactly Trump’s strong suit. Trump claims to believe that he is personally responsible for NATO rolling out anti-terrorism ideas, and I believe him that he believes this.

And in delivering this speech — a rare prepared address with text emailed to journalists and read off a teleprompter — Trump is making clear that he has no interest in faking it. He wants to say what he wants to say, and he doesn’t care if people who know what they are talking about think it makes sense. He believes the moral of the 2016 primary campaign has been that the voters don’t really care what experts and party elites think, and he may be right.

The problem for Trump — and for the country — is that reality does care…

Running a major country is hard work. You need to know a lot to get the job done, and you also need to know what you don’t know so you can work with other people to figure it out. Trump either doesn’t realize this, doesn’t care, or some combination of the two. It’s impossible to tell from his stated agenda what his foreign policy would actually look like, but it’s easy to see that it’s going to be a muddle driven by impulse and catchphrases, unguided by actual understanding or reliance on the support of anyone who has it.

Just so we’re clear on Trump’s evil, ignorance, and mendacity, Trump, today insinuated the Obama may somehow be in league with ISIS.  Seriously.  There’s really no other way to read this:

“Look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind,” Trump said in a lengthy interview on Fox News early Monday morning. “And the something else in mind — you know, people can’t believe it. People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on.”

In that same interview, Trump was asked to explain why he called for Obama to resign in light of the shooting and he answered, in part: “He doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands — it’s one or the other, and either one is unacceptable.”

And for reporting these statements, Trump has banned the Post from his campaign.

Almost every day, it becomes more and more evident that Donald Trump is shockingly unfit to be President.  Hopefully, more and more of his Republican co-partisans can come to this absurdly obvious conclusion and see to it that he gets nowhere near winning this election.

 

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to Trump and Orlando

  1. R, Jenrette says:

    If the press, print and TV alike, would all stay off Trump’s campaign plane in support of the Washington Post reporter who was banned because Trump didn’t like what he read, we might be more confident about our sources of information. A free people must have a free and ethical press.
    And when Lindsey Graham says another word about the President not taking the war on terror seriously, he should have to explain why, if it’s war, Congress isn’t debating it and voting the President legal authority to run it.
    Too much hypocrisy.

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