I’ve tried to steer clear of too much Donald Trump nonsense so far, because A) it’s more than a year till the general election, and B) I still think he’s a hairdo, even if he’s a recklessly dangerous hairdo. Get back to me when (God forbid) he wins the nomination.
But this has to be the worst comment he’s made yet, both for its boldfaced lack of care for human life and for it’s shockingly political nature coming from a man who styles himself the politically incorrect candidate.
What I’m referring to is Trump’s reaction to a pair of (white) brothers in Boston who are being held for urinating on and assaulting a (latino) homeless man. Why would they do such a thing?
Police said Scott Leader, 38, told them it was OK to assault the man because he was Hispanic and homeless.
“Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported,” he allegedly told the police.
In the story, reporters Sara DiNatale and Maria Sacchetti reached out to Trump for comment and got this back:
“It would be a shame . . . I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.”
No. That is not the answer you should have. The answer you should have is, “I am disgusted by this wonton and racially motivated violence. I do not condone the actions of these two men, and would hope that all my supporters would understand that this is not the answer to illegal immigration.”
Of course, there have been plenty of breakdowns of Trump’s immigration plan in the last few days (such as this one) which would suggest he actually does sympathize more with the assailants than the victim, and this comment does nothing to dispel those notions. I mean, what? Someone just asked you about a horrifically violent act committed in your name, and you praised their passion? WHAT?
There has, by the way, as yet been no indication the man was in the U.S. illegally, but it wouldn’t matter one iota if he was.
And then there’s the other half, which I feel weirdly mad about almost as much as the crass insensitivity of the comment itself: It’s a comment which, rhetorically speaking, is structured so as not to offend. It’s a classic political strategy. Reporter asks you a question in a manner which suggests you are negative towards a particular group or idea.
“Does this mean you’ll be voting against the Republican bill?”
But instead of saying how bad someone else is, and looking like you’re mudslinging, you instead espouse the virtues of a related idea.
“I’m confident the bipartisan alternate we’re preparing will provide the best possible help to millions of families.”
That’s what Trump did. But it wasn’t some political opponents he was asked to condemn. It was a pair of malicious, racist felons. And he wouldn’t. He used the politically correct rhetorical pattern to talk about how great he and his supporters are.