Trump Plans To Get Re-Elected Over Ilhan Omar's Dead Body
Last week, Donald Trump supporter Patrick W. Carlineo Jr. threatened to kill Rep. Ilhan Omar. It was her second death threat in as many days. The designer knockoff president didn't condemn this nor express any human-resembling concern for Omar. Instead he has continued to smear the Minnesota congresswoman as an anti-semite and basically a terrorist.
Yesterday, Trump tweeted a repulsive Jack Chick-inspired video linking Omar to 9/11, the worst terrorist attack on US soil. We're not sharing the tweet here, but it exists and is awful. There was once a time when even a right-wing talk show hack wouldn't air such twisted propaganda to an audience of millions -- for no other reason than they'd lose their job. Now it's the US president's pinned tweet. It hasn't even been ratioed like someone with a bad take on film classic Heathers.
Members of Congress have a duty to respond to the President’s explicit attack today. @IlhanMN’s life is in danger.… https://t.co/AvSV1Q49em— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1555112366.0
It was just two months ago, during his State of Union address, that Trump said "we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution." This was an obvious lie, just like when any Republican expresses a similar sentiment. They want the left to unilaterally disarm while they continue dropping rhetorical nukes on us. It doesn't matter how intellectually inconsistent they are. As others have noted, Trump himself boasted on 9/11 itself how the collapse of the Twin Towers made his own penis monument the largest in New York. He wasn't a politician at time, to be fair, but he's always been a narcissistic lunatic.
Trump is an accomplished bully and he's especially good at exploiting perceived weakness. Republicans never had any good-faith criticisms of Omar. Some liberals have gently criticized Omar for not stating her point with sufficient clarity at last month's fundraiser for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. We think this misses the point, especially since Barack Obama was eloquent as a motherfucker and the right still demonized him at every opportunity. Omar is an easier target because unlike Obama she's not an imaginary Muslim. We wonder if many Democrats have even watched Omar's full remarks. If not, we suggest taking the less than half an hour required to do so.
Ilhan Omar delivers remarks at the Council of American-Islamic Relations #JusticeDems www.youtube.com
Omar was left twisting in the wind for an excruciating period after Trump's tweet. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were among the first Democrats to defend her.
Ilhan Omar is a leader with strength and courage. She won't back down to Trump's racism and hate, and neither will… https://t.co/9gPSvSQaXE— Bernie Sanders (@Bernie Sanders)1555114071.0
The President is inciting violence against a sitting Congresswoman—and an entire group of Americans based on their… https://t.co/LQXb3v96tp— Elizabeth Warren (@Elizabeth Warren)1555115002.0
Unfortunately, Beto O'Rourke "all lives mattered" Trump's attack with platitudes about how we shouldn't let the so-called president divide us.
We are stronger than this president’s hatred and Islamophobia. Do not let him drive us apart or make us afraid.— Beto O'Rourke (@Beto O'Rourke)1555122926.0
Claiming Trump is somehow not representative of the right or Republicans in general is a failed 2016 strategy. It boggles the mind that Democrats keep trying it, especially since conservatives don't return the favor. When Omar used anti-semitic tropes, the GOP argued that the entire Democratic party was a collection of David Dukes.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally made a public statement early this morning. She didn't mention the victim of Trump's hatred by name.
The memory of 9/11 is sacred ground, and any discussion of it must be done with reverence. The President shouldn’t… https://t.co/VtPE2LGgZK— Nancy Pelosi (@Nancy Pelosi)1555154440.0
This is a very carefully written tweet. It's also printed on what amounts to a white flag. It focuses on what is believed to matter to Americans -- the memory of 9/11 -- and not on Ilhan Omar, the human being against whom the president is raising a lynch mob. Politicians from either political party didn't have trouble saying Sarah Huckabee Sanders's name when she was denied fine dining or when Michelle Wolf made jokes about her in public. It was also frequently pointed out that Sanders is a mother. So is Omar. Lindsey Graham specifically sent a message to Brett Kavanaugh's daughters during his confirmation hearings.
Democrats aren't new to politics. Is it possible that, deep down, they believe the white working class voters they desperately hope to lure away from Trump don't give a damn about Omar or her family? Attempts to humanize her, as Republicans did with Kavanaugh and Sanders, would fall on deaf, racist ears.
Pelosi likely doesn't want to "take the bait" from Trump. Democrats still want to believe in the essential humanity of Trump voters. They aren't all "deplorables." They were "economically anxious." That's why they voted for the incompetent racist. (Well, he's a fully competent racist. He just can't do anything else right.) If we focus on an economic message and avoid "identity politics," we can send Trump packing in 2020. This is willful denial so white liberals can look their conservative relatives in the face. Careful examination of 2016 exit polls shows that Trump dominated not on economic issues but fear and resentment. He successfully scared white people about immigrants, Muslims, and terrorists. Omar is already the first two, and Trump has no problem lying about the third.
Trump knows what it takes to get re-elected, and he doesn't care if it gets a young mother killed.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."