Monday, June 01, 2020


The press, echoing the words of some Trump advisers, is begging the president to say something unifying and healing in a prime-time speech. Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman in The New York Times:
After days in which the empathy he expressed for George Floyd, the man killed, was overshadowed by his combative threats to ramp up violence against looters and rioters, Mr. Trump spent Sunday out of sight, even as some of his campaign advisers were recommending that he deliver a nationally televised address before another night of violence....

Some campaign advisers were pressing for a formal address to the nation as early as Sunday. But White House officials, recalling Mr. Trump’s error-filled Oval Office address in March about the spread of the coronavirus, cautioned that it was not necessary.
As Philip Rucker tells us in The Washington Post, the president doesn't see the point.
Never in the 1,227 days of Trump’s presidency has the nation seemed to cry out for leadership as it did Sunday, yet Trump made no attempt to provide it.

That was by design. Trump and some of his advisers calculated that he should not speak to the nation because he had nothing new to say and had no tangible policy or action to announce yet, according to a senior administration official. Evidently not feeling an urgent motivation Sunday to try to bring people together, he stayed silent.
Trump is behaving like a father whose interactions with his kids is limited to pep talks and (mostly) abuse, and who never hugs them when they're crying. That means he's probably behaving like his own father.

This is exactly the way Trump has treated us throughout the coronavirus crisis. The message is: You are nothing. You are not important. I'm your father. My needs come first. I will not comfort you. Suck it up and get back to your chores. Old-school fathers believed that treating children this way was character-building.

In Trump's case, My needs come first means All I care about is reelection. We knew that, but he's not even pretending to conceal the fact. It's there in plain sight.

What did Trump aides whisper to Axios's Jonathan Swan?
Over the past couple of days, numerous advisers both inside and outside the White House have urged the president to tone down his violent rhetoric, which many worry could escalate racial tensions and hurt him politically.

... The biggest source of internal concern was Trump's escalatory tweet, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." Some advisers said it could damage him severely with independent voters and suburban women.
And now here's what they're saying to Anna Palmer, who writes Politico Playbook:
Here’s a maxim in politics that a source raised to us this weekend: Suburban moms -- a catch-all for a kind of voter who has all but abandoned TRUMP -- care about safety. Perhaps if they believe the unrest will come to their doorstep or into their communities, they will vote for the man who is cracking down on it.
Trump isn't "cracking down on it." Trump is talking tough with his thumbs on Twitter, but he's cowering in fear in the White House, retreating to a secure underground bunker on Friday night, turning off the exterior lights last night.

But we see what he and his aides are thinking. They're thinking exclusively about voting blocs. They're not thinking about the immediate needs of the country.

Palmer goes on to write:
IT SEEMS CRASS TO FOCUS ON POLITICS now, but this is a political newsletter. If you believe TRUMP is not rising to the moment, ask yourself this: Who will? Will it be Democrats who hold the House majority and are out of session for much of the month of June? Governors or mayors? Or will it be JOE BIDEN, who has largely been relegated to his home?

ASK YOURSELF THIS: If you don’t like the president, is there anything he could say that you’d be satisfied with? If you like him, is there anything he could say that you would reject?
I think she's paraphrasing something she's been told by Trump advisers. She and other reporters are asking, When will Trump lead? Their answer is: Why should Trump do anything he isn't already doing? No critic will give him credit for it. And his fans think he's doing just fine. Besides, who else in this country is leading?

And so Trump tells the country, Wipe your nose and stop sniveling. It's a mean world out there and you're on your own.

Thanks, Dad.

Trump says, My job is to work hard to put food on the table for you kids. I don't have time to listen to you bawling.

Or at least that's what the fathers Trump is trying to emulate would say. For Trump, though, work means running for reelection -- the only thing, apart from fighting with his enemies, that he cares about.

The world of D.C. politics didn't want a woman as president in 2016. The media mocked her and played up every trivial flaw. If America's opinion-shapers couldn't have a Kennedyesque bro Democrat -- the only kind of Democrat who's been allowed to win the presidency since 1976 -- they wanted a Republican daddy.

And this is the kind of dad we got.

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