Captain Chaos Edition
APPROVAL ALERT AT PRESS TIME:
FiveThirtyEight Poll: 42.1% – down from 42.3% last week
Rasmussen Poll: 47% – down from 48% last week
Welcome to Trumplandia, a place where with a bit of wit and snark, we keep the world caught up on all of the tasty Nuggets-O-Trump you may have heard about but were too busy to care. Because most of this minutia occurs just below the massive headlines about the POTUS, it’s in a land of its own. Here, an infusion of social media, video clips and print media meld with our outdated political views to make more delicious “Fake News” about our Commander-in-Chief.
So just like the president, we start it all with a little tweet like this:
Master of Disaster
The week of our Trump – Aug. 3, 2019: This week Trump decided to test the boundaries of reality by helping to create the atmosphere for a calamity, only to later clean it up in the role of conciliator.
After all, in Trumplandia, as long as the focus of any- and everything is on Trump, who could care what happens and how it happens, as long as it leads back to The Donald?
Since taking office he has used the office of the presidency as a bully pulpit to, among other things, tell the tired huddled masses they are not welcome, often vilifying the would-be migrants as rapists, drug dealers, vermin and violent interlopers.
Compared to the likes of past heads of state, like “No Drama Obama,” he is Captain Chaos – someone who appears to thrive on controversy and division rather than diplomacy and unity.
During another Trump weekend golfing extravaganza in New Jersey, a large number of black and brown people were attacked while peaceably assembling in places that were ironically not anywhere near the Florida Panhandle.
At Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Aug. 3 and a popular watering hole in Dayton, Ohio, the next day, two unconnected gunmen killed a total of 31 innocent people and wounded dozens more when they began firing on a crowd with assault weapons. Police arrested the suspected gunman in the Texas shootings, but killed the Dayton shooter, after he’d murdered nine.
Trump would later tweet condemnation of the “evil attacks” of the shooters, whom he initially listed as mentally ill. He said both shootings were crimes against all of humanity and stated: “Unity must replace hatred in society.”
As one can imagine, filthy Democratic fingers began pointing to the empty promises of Republicans following the last several massacres, and of course looked to somehow tie it to Trump, who has become portrayed and recognized as an obvious racist.
Democratic candidates for president former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) both said Trump’s racist rhetoric over the last four years has helped to fuel violence like that seen in Texas and Ohio.
Booker said Trump’s rhetoric reaped what it sowed by vilifying immigrants, particularly those of Hispanic origin, and endangered America. “It was sowed from the highest office in our land, where we see in tweets and rhetoric hateful words that ultimately endanger the lives of people in our country,” Booker said.
Front-runner Biden, speaking during a fundraiser on Aug. 7 in Iowa, openly blamed the shootings on the words of Trump, which he said inspired hate crimes due to his embrace of white nationalist extremism.
“We have a problem with the rising tide of white supremacy in America and we have a president who encourages it and emboldens it,” said Biden, who later said Trump had more in common with the late segregationist George Wallace than he does with George Washington.
Hatch Act violator and Trump spokesperson Kellyanne Conway said connecting the President to such things was conflating him with murderers, something she would not allow on her watch.
Fox News television host Howard Kurtz said such connections were unfair, and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney also cried foul, stating it was “outrageous,” to tie the racist president and his words to the shooting.
Things got a little stickier when officials in El Paso stated the suspected gunman, Patrick Crusius, drove over 650 miles to his target and published a manifesto filled with some of Trump’s greatest hits. The 21-year-old madman called for an end to the “Hispanic invasion of Texas” and theorized that too many Hispanics could create enough political clout to take control of state and local government.
The gunman allegedly cased the El Paso Walmart, making sure the store was filled with the type of people he wished to kill. Crusius stated although targeting Latinos, he began pondering the need to murder large groups of Hispanics prior to Trump’s being elected president in 2016.
Trump said he did not understand why his words would be viewed as divisive or be tied to the crimes. In fact, before boarding Marine One to visit survivors in Dayton, he said:
“I don’t think my rhetoric is very – it brings people together.”
Federal authorities are considering bringing hate crimes and federal firearms charges against Crusius, which would carry the death penalty.
In Ohio, 22-year-old Connor Betts killed his brother, who has been reported as transgender, among his other victims. Betts has been characterized as a person who was obsessed with violence and mass shootings. His social media accounts indicate he supported Democratic politicians like Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Although it appeared that the vast majority of those targeted were black, the Dayton shooting was not classified as a hate crime.
Talking Loud and Saying Nothing
In a week where he was heckled at sites he was visiting to console, and called a racist by every member of the Democratic Party, it was the official presidential address on Aug. 5 that proved to be a highlight.
President Trump ordered all flags on federal buildings to be lowered to half-staff in honor of the victims of the mass shootings in both El Paso and Dayton.
An insincere speech highlighted empty efforts by the nation’s leaders on the need for gun control and more political theater by the president, who made visits to both massacre sites more about him than about the survivors.
Standing in front of a portrait of George Washington and aside Vice President Mike Pence, Trump delivered a soulless reading of press material provided him when addressing the survivors of the attacks in Texas and Ohio. Sucking for air and with a dry mouth, the terrifyingly tan Trump attempted to give a serious, dignified speech, but Biden described the President’s reading as “low-energy, vacant-eyed mouthing of the words written for him condemning white supremacists.”
His droning, vanilla teleprompter reading of an address about the murderous sprees blamed the actions of the gunmen on video games, the internet, social media and mental illness, but failed to convincingly blame the shootings on part of the uptick in violence among a significant part of his base – white nationalists.
Despite what appeared to be a less than sincere address to the nation, the commander-in-chief also could not seem to get the correct names for where the attacks occurred, mislabeling Dayton as Toledo in an improvisation that went terribly wrong. With Biden also mislabeling El Paso as Houston and placing the other mass shooting in Michigan instead of neighboring Ohio during a fundraiser, one had to wonder how seriously our nation’s leaders took yet another mass shooting or the push for gun control.
While there is no doubt Dotard Donnie meant to quell a tragic situation, his appearance in both Dayton and El Paso attracted protesters, even the Baby Trump Balloon.
Former senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Beto O’Rourke and Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) said Trump’s divisive language of the past that targeted minorities made him an unwelcome guest in El Paso. Escobar said she was asked to participate in the presidential motorcade but declined, fearing she would be used as a prop by the openly racist and divisive Trump.
“Words have consequences,” Escobar said. “And the president has made my community and my people the enemy. He has told the country that we are people to be feared, people to be hated.”
Despite being spurned by officials in Texas and later voicing concern with largely Democratic representatives in Dayton, Trump, flanked by FLOTUS Melania, visited survivors, first responders and hospital staff in both states on Aug. 7.
Described as being treated like a “rock star” in Ohio, after posing with hospital professionals and survivors of both massacres, Donnie excluded the media from both hospitals, allegedly to preserve the rights to privacy of the survivors, but then rolled out a bright and bouncy promotion campaign ad for his 2020 campaign.
He also later was caught on video bragging about crowd size while in Texas and lashing out at staffers for not receiving enough credit and complaining that not enough cameras were focused on him during his mission of mercy.
While in Dayton he was greeted by city Mayor Nan Whaley and Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, who, although largely critical of some of the president’s past divisive comments, praised him for comforting their grieving community.
Whaley said Trump had “made his bed and he’s gotta lie in it” in regards to the protesters assembled, who called for stricter gun laws. She said Trump’s Monday comments were not overtly helpful to the cause of gun control, but praised him for visiting the community in the wake of the massacre.
Whaley’s comments and those of Brown angered the ever petty Trump, who attacked the two on Twitter while flying to Texas to visit survivors of the shooting there. The President said the press conference held after he left Ohio was “fraud” and misrepresentative of his visit to Miami Valley Hospital. He said Sen. Brown was a failed presidential candidate, although Brown had mulled a run, but did not campaign.
Trump, for his part, did what he always does, talks tough early on and then waits for his marching orders from the NRA. On Aug. 9 he said he was in favor of intelligent background checks and touted Republican efforts to create “red flag” laws that would allow the government to confiscate the guns of people deemed mentally unfit.
The next day, however, and after a chat with NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre, it was laid bare that Trump’s base would not be in favor of additional background checks. Republican members of Congress also refused to cut short their summer vacations and reconvene on the issue.
It is unclear at press time what measures Trump favors to help address the nation’s desire for gun control.
Did I do that?
Although President Trump has called for an end to the spread of white supremacy in connection to the shootings, he also blamed neglect of the mentally ill, video games, the media and the internet as the reason for both mass murders
Despite a desire to bring the country together, as voiced in the above tweet, he never mentioned his own incendiary comments about immigrants that may have cultivated acts of violence by people who are a part of his base. He instead complimented his rhetoric for bringing people together, and to date has not addressed what has been described by the FBI as a growing threat of white supremacists and domestic terror. He also has yet to put forth any concrete efforts to curb gun violence and mass shootings or plan to deal with the mentally ill.
“The perils of the internet and social media cannot be ignored,” Trump has stated during the week as well as: “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger – not the gun.”
However, despite his denials, many of those associated with his base appear to believe he is somehow responsible for their often violent or illegal actions.
On Aug. 8, a Montana man was charged with assaulting a 13-year-old boy for refusing to remove his hat during a playing of the national anthem at the opening of a county rodeo. Identified as Curt Brockway, a U.S. Army veteran, it is alleged he believed the assault was in line with what President Trump would have wanted.
Although it is unknown whether Brockway called the youngster an S.O.B., like the President did of kneeling NFL players two years ago, the Associated Press reported his attorney, Lance Jasper, said he would seek a mental health evaluation. Jasper reportedly argued that Brockway believed he was following the orders of the commander-in-chief when he lifted the youth in the air by his throat and slammed him to the ground for not removing the hat and allegedly cursing at Brockway.
On Aug. 7, Brockway was charged with assault on a minor for the incident, which is a felony and carries a maximum five-year prison sentence and a $50,000 fine upon conviction.
“Trump never necessarily says go hurt somebody, but the message is absolutely clear,” Jasper said during the court proceedings this week. “I am certain of the fact that (Brockway) was doing what he believed he was told to do, essentially, by the president.”
On Aug. 8, an armed 20-year-old man was arrested at a Missouri Walmart for allegedly expecting to cause chaos.
Dmitriy Andreychenko faces charges of making a terrorist threat in the second degree when he allegedly entered a Walmart and pushed a shopping cart while recording himself with a cell phone, while carrying a firearm, while wearing body armor and wearing military fatigues.
The man’s actions caused a panic and caused the store manager to pull a fire alarm. Andreychenko was detained by an off-duty firefighter, who held him at gunpoint until police came.
A police officer involved in the arrest said the recent attacks in Texas and Ohio have security guards on heightened alert.