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: 294994

Reported Deaths: 6681
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19660230
Hinds18785386
Harrison16679278
Rankin12675264
Jackson12575226
Lee9683160
Madison9448199
Jones7945146
Forrest7204136
Lauderdale6833226
Lowndes6021137
Lamar587680
Lafayette5730113
Washington5218130
Bolivar4608123
Oktibbeha440993
Panola430394
Pearl River4159130
Warren4126114
Pontotoc408769
Marshall403192
Monroe3988126
Union395174
Neshoba3800168
Lincoln3539102
Hancock346974
Leflore3374118
Sunflower318386
Tate302474
Pike300095
Scott293670
Alcorn291761
Itawamba289675
Yazoo288762
Tippah278565
Copiah277757
Coahoma277568
Simpson274778
Prentiss269758
Wayne253741
Marion252578
Leake252471
Covington248879
Grenada247377
Adams234277
George231745
Newton229452
Winston221675
Jasper213245
Tishomingo212165
Attala206569
Chickasaw201151
Holmes181870
Clay179150
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170539
Clarke169371
Calhoun157828
Smith152731
Yalobusha144836
Greene127633
Walthall124140
Noxubee122829
Montgomery122238
Perry121634
Lawrence120221
Carroll118125
Amite111333
Webster110630
Jefferson Davis101731
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93324
Humphreys92827
Kemper90123
Quitman77114
Franklin76019
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62426
Jefferson62327
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 493252

Reported Deaths: 9929
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson709861374
Mobile36108725
Madison32405455
Tuscaloosa24110410
Montgomery22565500
Shelby21929215
Baldwin19732283
Lee14961153
Morgan13659251
Calhoun13275286
Etowah13176319
Marshall11261209
Houston10086261
Elmore9376185
Limestone9359134
Cullman8891181
St. Clair8822223
Lauderdale8603211
DeKalb8446175
Talladega7517163
Walker6518255
Jackson6492102
Autauga626491
Blount6097127
Colbert6001118
Coffee5245102
Dale4640107
Russell404730
Franklin399177
Covington3957106
Chilton3870100
Escambia377472
Tallapoosa3585142
Clarke343650
Chambers3410110
Dallas3403141
Pike293372
Lawrence282984
Marion281895
Winston246767
Bibb245060
Geneva239670
Marengo235855
Pickens224654
Barbour211551
Hale209768
Fayette200256
Butler196166
Henry182441
Cherokee177038
Monroe166139
Randolph163640
Washington156535
Clay144354
Crenshaw144354
Macon142043
Cleburne137739
Lamar132833
Lowndes131051
Wilcox121825
Bullock116936
Conecuh106724
Perry105527
Sumter98331
Coosa88823
Greene87632
Choctaw55023
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