Having divided us, Trump cannot unite us

In President Donald Trump's brief remarks Wednesday about bombs mailed to prominent Democrats who stand in o...

Posted: Oct 25, 2018 2:42 PM
Updated: Oct 25, 2018 2:42 PM

In President Donald Trump's brief remarks Wednesday about bombs mailed to prominent Democrats who stand in opposition to him, and to the media organization Trump has repeatedly demonized, he did the least a President could do. Although he used words such as "abhorrent" and "despicable," Trump struggled to sound like a true leader of a nation wracked by political conflict that he has intensified to critical mass.

His quiet tone of voice came across as insincere to anyone who is familiar with the intensity of his rally performances, and his failure to mention CNN, the media outlet targeted, exposed where his heart truly lies. This is a man who views the objects of his anger and mockery as less-than-deserving of respect, and who lacks the instinct for decency. He waited for his Vice President, and his daughter, Ivanka, to offer words of support for the targets before he tweeted three mere words -- "I agree wholeheartedly!"

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Coming from a man who has often electrified the internet with tweets before the nation is even awake, this response was a pathetic effort.

Then, when he spoke publicly Wednesday afternoon about the threats, Trump offered weak words about bipartisan unity.

It wasn't until Wednesday night, at a rally in Mosinee, Wisconsin, that he took a concrete stance, saying "any acts or threats of political violence are an attack on our democracy itself. ... There is one way to settle our disagreements, it's called peacefully at the ballot box."

But, given Trump's track record, these words carry little weight. Trump campaigned as a divider with no pretense of uniting the nation. As he vilified the national media, especially CNN, he sought to dehumanize reporters as "scum," "horrible," and, worst of all, "enemy of the people."

During his campaign, Trump wistfully recalled the days when protesters were brought away from events "on stretchers" and offered to pay legal fees should a supporter attack a dissenter at a Trump rally. Now, he has no standing to call for peace and unity.

Hillary Clinton, who is still subject to chants of "lock her up!" at Trump rallies, was smeared as "crooked Hillary," as if she were really a criminal. And who doesn't remember the years-long effort Trump made to cast doubt on President Obama's legitimacy with divisive, conspiracy-theory rhetoric about his birthplace?

We have no idea who sent the bombs and no idea what the motive was. But what we can say is that the conspiracy theories Trump promotes, like the violent rhetoric he uses, have degraded the political environment to the point at which the kind of terrorism that comes with mail bombs is not a surprise. This trouble was foreshadowed during the campaign when two men attacked a Hispanic man in Massachusetts while saying "Donald Trump was right. All these illegals need to be deported."

Another instance of Trump-galvanized violence featured one of his supporters cold-cocking a protester at a rally; and yet another saw a reporter man-handled by Trump's campaign manager at a press conference.

More recently, a California man who possessed 20 firearms was arrested after threatening staff at the Boston Globe. He had used Trump's "enemy of the people" line in his calls to the paper.

Given the President's construction of an alternate universe where he's permitted to utter lies by the thousands without ever taking responsibility, his inept attempt to address Wednesday's bomb threats was, perhaps, inevitable. Trump has consistently played with the fire of violent talk and has thrived on a strategy of going where others, for good reason, won't. Many of his fellow Republicans have seemingly lost the will to rebuke him, and he has so thoroughly divided the nation that a subset of Americans thrive on the energy of his hateful speech.

As President, he has legitimized rage, set the conditions for the danger that is on the rise, and diminished our ability to even engage each other with goodwill and civility.

Trump's rhetoric long ago crossed a line. Now he can never be the leader who can bring us back to where we were before he came along with his diatribes and anger.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly quoted President Trump at his rally in Wisconsin.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314509

Reported Deaths: 7247
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21626259
Hinds20359415
Harrison17934309
Rankin13634278
Jackson13447246
Madison10099217
Lee9980174
Jones8381163
Forrest7683152
Lauderdale7191241
Lowndes6401147
Lamar623086
Lafayette6200118
Washington5339134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462798
Panola4588107
Pearl River4512146
Marshall4443103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420772
Monroe4113133
Union411076
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3968110
Hancock379386
Leflore3497125
Sunflower336090
Tate334084
Pike3325105
Scott315973
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311669
Itawamba300477
Copiah297065
Coahoma295479
Simpson295288
Tippah288768
Adams286882
Prentiss279760
Marion269280
Leake268373
Wayne262641
Grenada261487
Covington259681
George248048
Newton246861
Winston227281
Tishomingo226967
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw207857
Holmes189173
Clay185454
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178841
Clarke178080
Calhoun170832
Yalobusha164338
Smith162434
Walthall133945
Greene130633
Lawrence128624
Montgomery126942
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83823
Quitman80916
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67331
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 532895

Reported Deaths: 11001
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson771431528
Mobile41089808
Madison34837505
Tuscaloosa25810454
Montgomery24355588
Shelby23730249
Baldwin21191309
Lee15892171
Calhoun14522316
Morgan14324279
Etowah13861353
Marshall12250223
Houston10581281
Elmore10060205
Limestone9986151
Cullman9705194
St. Clair9702243
Lauderdale9441242
DeKalb8846187
Talladega8255176
Walker7246277
Autauga6938108
Jackson6815112
Blount6694137
Colbert6310134
Coffee5524119
Dale4850111
Russell443238
Chilton4308112
Franklin426282
Covington4136118
Tallapoosa4039152
Escambia393977
Chambers3578123
Dallas3557152
Clarke351161
Marion3130101
Pike311377
Lawrence300798
Winston275673
Bibb261564
Geneva251477
Marengo249664
Pickens234761
Barbour231756
Hale223277
Butler216469
Fayette212562
Henry189044
Cherokee184745
Randolph181742
Monroe178040
Washington167639
Macon159950
Clay156857
Crenshaw152757
Cleburne149141
Lamar142935
Lowndes139053
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110629
Coosa107928
Perry107826
Sumter104832
Greene92534
Choctaw61124
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