President Trump strode onto a stage in Phoenix on Tuesday night and let the entire country know that of all the dead, injured, and terrorized people who came out of the tragic events in Charlottesville last weekend, one victim stands head and shoulders above all of them, one who will bow to no one in claiming his status as the alpha victim.
And that victim’s name is Donald Trump:
“What happened in Charlottesville strikes at the core of America. And tonight, this entire arena stands united inch forceful condemnation of the thugs who perpetrate hatred and violence. But the very dishonest media, those people right up there with all the cameras and I mean truly dishonest people in the media and the fake media, they make up stories. They have no sources in many cases. They say a source says there is no such thing. But they don’t report the facts. Just like they don’t want to report that I spoke out forcefully against hatred, bigotry and violence and strongly condemned the neo-nazis, the white supremacists and the KKK. I openly called for unity, healing and love and they know it because they were all there.”
What followed was a solid half-hour of Trump re-litigating his actions around Charlottesville. He re-read his statements from Saturday, but conveniently left out the part where he condemned the actions “on many sides,” which of course was the key controversial phrase that was the source of the most criticism, the phrase that so many, including members of his own party, criticized for giving cover to the same white supremacists and neo-Nazis he claimed he was condemning.
“I did this three times. We have to come together as Americans with love for the nation and true affection. Really and I say this so strongly, true affection for each other. I didn’t say true affection for you and you. I said for each other, all of us. All of us. All of us. Don’t report it. They don’t — they just let it go. Above all else, we must remember this truth, no matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are all Americans first. We love our country. We love our god. We love our flag. Then I went on. This is my first statement. And they said, remember, they said well, he wasn’t specific enough. Why wasn’t he more specific? So in my second statement, I got really specific.”
If anyone bet that he would completely skip over his third statement, on Tuesday, when he melted down in the lobby of Trump Tower and seemed to contradict everything he had said in his second statement on Monday, congratulations. Please keep an eye out for our Prize Patrol to deliver your winnings in the form of a giant novelty check.
After that there was some more ranting about the “dishonest” media, the “failing New York Times,” the terribleness of CNN for firing commentator Jeffrey Lord — who was let go after he tweeted the words “Sieg Heil” at the president of Media Matters.
Think about that. Literally in the middle of telling us how not racist he is, Trump had a spasm of empathy and regret for a guy who got fired for tweeting a Nazi slogan. Amazing.
(Yes, I know Lord meant it as a joke, but it’s really hard to tell the difference between the ironic Nazis and the real Nazis these days.)
There was more, so much more, a firehose of crazy turned on full blast and aimed directly at all of us staring open-mouthed at our TV screens. At this point, President Trump’s rallies are not really political rallies; they are therapy sessions for a human-shaped nullity with a bottomless supply of invective, neediness, pettiness, and enough personal grievances to keep every building in the Southwest air-conditioned until Judgement Day.
At least we’re not used to it yet. We never should be.