Trumps Holds Very Civil Tea And No-Sympathy Rally In South Carolina
Media talking heads from across the political spectrum are currently lamenting the shocking loss of civility from folks who oppose a creepily authoritarian regime that holds children for ransom. CNN's David Gergen compared these terrible days when terrible women are asked to leave restaurants to the calm and relaxed demonstrations of the 1960s.
So, this was apparently "civil in tone."
And so was this.
But this is too much.
Oh, I see! "Civility" is defined here as protestors remaining submissive while the oppressive power structure does whatever it wants (like enjoying farm-to-table fine dining). Got it. This is civility President Donald J. Trump can get behind. He started off the week extending classic civility to Rep. Maxine Waters.
He then took his overflowing cup of civility to my home state of South Carolina for a campaign rally in support of loyalist Henry McMaster, who is in a tight primary runoff for governor against the only slightly less awful John Warren. Due to weather, his plane was delayed in landing, so Trump took the time to tweet some civil comments about Senator Mark Warner.
While waiting for Trump, his civil supporters enthusiastically greeted the press, which tends to serve as Trump's unofficial warm-up act. Gallagher would recognize this as par for the course.
Trump eventually took the stage and made clear what the true stakes of today's runoff were:
"If a horrible thing happened and we weren't lucky enough to have Henry win … they will say Donald Trump suffered a major, major defeat in the great state of South Carolina. It was a humiliating defeat for Donald Trump."
"So please, get your asses out tomorrow and vote," he said.
But enough petty politics! What does the president think of the late-night talk show lineup?
"Johnny Carson was talented. This guy on CBS has no talent," he said, referring to [Stephen] Colbert. Trump said that [Jimmy] Kimmel fawned over him when he appeared on Kimmel's show and that he recently had to tell [Jimmy] Fallon to "be a man" and not apologize for messing up Trump's hair during a 2016 appearance.
Trump naturally did return to really petty politics: He again knocked around John McCain, who is dying from brain cancer, for his health care vote. He mocked former governor and soon-to-be former House Rep. Mark Sanford for his recent primary loss and, in a stunning display of hypocrisy, his extramarital affairs. He blasted US ally Germany, perhaps forgetting or likely not knowing at all that BMW is one of the state's biggest employers. He even criticized the venue -- "a small high school gymnasium," which had totally been good enough for a Drama Club production of "Godspell."
Then in a moment from a David Lynch movie, Trump read from a Guardian interview with David Lynch, where the Mulholland Drive director expressed his positive views of the current president -- probably while rolling around in the money saved after filing the standard Rich White Guy deduction in Trump's "reformed" tax code.
Then things got weird. After complimenting Kim Jong-un and referring to the "fake news" media as an "enemy of the people," he spoke at length about how his devoted followers are superior to their fellow citizens.
"They call 'em the 'elites.' You know what you are? You're the 'super elites.' I'm changing titles. Look, everybody here makes money, works hard, pays taxes. Does a great job. You're smarter, you're better, you're more loyal. We have the greatest base in the history of politics. We do!"
Uh... OK, your supporters are the "super elites." That's your crazy divisive opinion. Fine. But... really, these guys?
Hey, looks can be deceiving. Trump said farewell to his
master race "super elites" and left the stage as "You Can't Always Get What You Want" played, which the Rolling Stones keep asking him not to do. I don't know why Trump is so fond of the song. Is he just actively trolling the "libs" who didn't want any of this? Or maybe he's just subtweeting his entire presidency.
"She was practiced in the art of deception. Well, I could tell by her bloodstained hands."
Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.