Wisconsin Governor, Portland Mayor Beg Trump To Stay Away, Stop Making Sh*t Worse
Donald Trump is unloved.
He wants to go to Kenosha, Wisconsin, largely because there is an election coming up and going to Kenosha is a better look than not going to Kenosha, even with a pandemic happening. Trump has been trying to make it look as though he is capable of the human emotion known as "empathy" in a bid to improve his standing with the coveted "suburban white woman" demographic.
However, no one wants Trump to go to Kenosha, least of all Democratic Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers. In a letter addressed to the White House, Governor Evers begged Trump to reconsider his plans to visit the city, saying he will only make things worse.
"I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing," Evers wrote. "I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together."
He added he is also concerned that an in-person visit from the president "will require a massive re-direction" of resources to support his visit "at a time when it is critical that we continue to remain focused on keeping the people of Kenosha safe and supporting the community's response." [...]
"Kenosha and communities across Wisconsin are enduring extraordinary grief, grappling with a Black man being shot seven times and the loss of two additional lives Tuesday night at the hands of an out-of-state armed militant," Evers wrote in the letter to Trump.
"It is our job as elected officials to lead by example and to be a calming presence for the people we know are hurting, mourning, and trying to cope with trauma," he continued. "Now is not the time for divisiveness. Now is not the time for elected officials to ignore armed militants and out-of-state agitators who want to contribute to our anguish."
Trump's deputy press secretary Judd Deere responded to the letter by saying that Trump couldn't wait to come and was "humbled" by all of the "individuals from Kenosha" who can't wait to see him.
In a statement to Business Insider, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said Trump "looks forward to visiting on Tuesday and helping this great city heal and rebuild."
"The White House has been humbled by the outreach of individuals from Kenosha who have welcomed the President's visit and are longing for leadership to support local law enforcement and businesses that have been vandalized," Deere said in the statement.
All of these individuals are, of course, named "George Glass."
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Is it possible for Governor Evers to refuse to fund Trump's visit in any way? Because if so, he should do that.
Trump is also being excoriated by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who blamed him for the violence in his city and the shooting death of a member of the right-wing extremist group Patriot Prayer this past weekend.
Speaking at a news conference, Mayor Ted Wheeler asked, "Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence?"
"It's you who have created the hate and the division. It's you who have not found a way to say the names of Black people killed by police officers even as people in law enforcement have. And it's you who claimed that White supremacists are good people," he continued. "Your campaign of fear is as anti-democratic as anything you've done to create hate and vitriol in our beautiful country." [...]
Addressing Trump personally, Wheeler lamented that "for four years we've had to live with you and your racist attacks on Black people."
"We learned early about your sexist attitudes toward women. We've had to endure clips of you mocking a disabled man. We've had to listen to your anti-democratic attacks on journalists. We've read your tweets slamming private citizens to the point of receiving death threats, and we've listened to your attacks on immigrants," he said.
"We've listened to you label Mexicans 'rapists.' We've heard you say that John McCain wasn't a hero because he was a prisoner of war. And now, you're attacking Democratic mayors and the very institutions of Democracy that have served this nation well since its founding."
The fact is, this shit wasn't happening regularly before Trump. It wasn't. It would not be happening now if he were not President. Partly because he is so terrible and partly because him being president in and of itself is so goddamn bizarre and such a violation of previously existing social norms that people don't feel quite as tethered to reality, or themselves feel pressure to adhere to previously existing social norms.
The hope among Trump's supporters was that we would all eventually adjust to this new reality. That Trump's behavior would be normalized, and that their own behavior, by proxy, would also become normalized. That they would be able to freely express their racist and sexist opinions on social media without anyone calling them racist or sexist. As we all know from having attended middle school, there is immense power in being able to be terrible to people while remaining socially "popular."
We did not adjust. We are just angry, and so are they because they didn't get what they wanted, either. We are angry at them for saddling us with Trump and we are angry at Trump for revealing that these people exist in far greater numbers than we had previously assumed and emboldening them to be worse. Trump's election revealed that many of the polite fictions that had kept the country intact were, in fact, bullshit.
The term "American Exceptionalism" used to refer to the idea that the United States was the exception, for a variety of reasons, to Marx's rules of history — that there were certain factors that made it unlikely that revolution would ever happen in the United States, "thanks to its natural resources, industrial capacity, and absence of rigid class distinctions." The basic rule, really, was that you can only push people so far, you can only make them so miserable until they rise up against their oppressor. Revolutions are not pleasant and they don't happen unless things are so bad that a revolution is a pleasant alternative.
This was, of course, a long time ago. and other factors have since replaced those — entertainment, escapism, belief in magical bootstraps, the feeling that things will never get so bad that they can't be fixed. But Trump has brought chaos, he's taken away people's hope for change, and while we may not have a full-on revolution, he has certainly pushed a lot of people beyond their capacity.
It's not going well.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse