* August 14 OpEd *
Tell me why you support Donald Trump. Tell me why we should vote for him again in 2020. What’s your pitch?
Is it the economy, the tax cuts? Because I know lots of teachers with second jobs, and I’ve heard many a pastor say money is the root of all evil.
Is it his support of farmers? Because his ill-advised tariffs are destroying farmers. According to a July 25 Bloomberg report, “American farm income dropped 16% last year to $63 billion, about half the level it was as recently as 2013.”
Is it the most popular GOP talking points? Because Democrats don’t want open borders, there is no such thing as aborting a baby in the ninth month, and we don’t want your guns.
So, what’s left? Socialism?
President Trump has approved $16 billion in aid to farmers (on top of $12 billion last year) to let their crops rot in the silos because he’s hell-bent on a trade war. Twenty-eight billion in free government money. Hmmm, I believe there’s a name for that.
On August 3, a 21 year-old white gunman—not an immigrant, not MS-13—drove ten hours to El Paso (which is more than 80% Hispanic), murdered 22 and left more than two dozen wounded. In his manifesto he was obsessed with the “Hispanic invasion” and “open borders.”
Where have we heard that language before?
Back in July 2015, at a rally in Phoenix, then-candidate Trump said, “Mexico — I respect the country — they’re taking our jobs, they’re taking our manufacturing, they’re taking our money, they’re taking everything, and they’re killing us at the border. Don’t worry, we’ll take our country back.” Words he has hammered home hundreds of times in the last four years, warning of an “invasion” at his rallies and on Twitter.
Must be a coincidence.
As our country spent the first weekend of August inundated by reports of yet another mass shooting, the president reportedly played golf and dropped by a wedding at his private club. On Sunday, following another mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, it was reported that he again played golf.
What he did not do was his job, which was to talk to his citizens, to address the fears of a panicked, grieving nation.
It is notable that he has never, not once, attended a funeral after a tragedy like this, given a eulogy, or attended a vigil where he could express his support and empathy for a community in pain. How do you explain that?
The president has developed a routine for dropping by the sites of mass shootings. He swoops in for a few hours, shakes hands, holds a photo op with hospital staff and first responders where he smiles and gives his famous thumbs up, and then he’s out of there.
You know who’s not at the hospital or the police station? The families of the the dead. How does the president not spend even one day with the families of victims? How does he leave without listening to them, without comforting them, without asking what he can do to help?
We all know how wrung out, how gutted and raw we feel on the days of and surrounding a death. But as the president traveled from Dayton to El Paso on August 7, he was busy watching TV coverage of himself. And tweeting.
“Watching Sleepy Joe Biden making a speech. Sooo Boring! The LameStream Media will die in the ratings and clicks with this guy.”
“Watching Fake News CNN is better than watching Shepard Smith.”
“I don’t know who Joaquin Castro is other than the lesser brother of a failed presidential candidate (1%) who makes a fool of himself every time he opens his mouth.”
“I saw failed Presidential Candidate (0%) Sherrod Brown & Mayor Whaley totally misrepresenting what took place inside of the hospital. Their news conference after I left for El Paso was a fraud.”
Back in Washington DC, his final tweet of the night ended, “…how did that work out for the Haters and Losers. Not well!”
This, on the day he traveled to two cities reeling from death and violence. There is something desperately wrong. Hence the question: Why do you support this man? And why should the rest of us vote for him in 2020?
What’s your pitch?