When the duly elected president of the United States first said something remotely human during an address in which he co-opted the widow of Navy Seal William Ryan Owens for political gain, many in the media pointed to this as the “moment” Trump “became president.”
When Donald Trump greenlighted the launching of 59 Tomahawk missiles at an airfield in Syria, the media positively fawned over the move and again Trump was said by many in the media to have acted “presidential” and Brian Williams even lost his mind over the “beautiful” missile barrage.
The news media needs something, apparently, to legitimize this bumbling idiot. It’s almost understandable. Almost.
But when a Washington Post columnist I generally admire writes a whole column about how excellent Trump’s recent speech at the Holocaust Museum was, and especially when that columnist happens to be Dana Milbank, who is Jewish, I once again am struck with the moral equivalent of vertigo.
One can read Milbank’s article, complete with qualifiers about teleprompters and speech writers (all normal things for normal presidents) here.
Now, to borrow from the late Johnny Standley, “Now, now, just think for a moment, think.” Everything this so-called president did and said during his campaign was ripe fascist tripe aimed at anti-Semites, racists, White Nationalists and the usual coterie of mercenary, money-grubbing hustlers. Since his election, upon which he doubled down on all his most disturbing campaign promises, Trump has learned you don’t get to be a dictator even if you are elected president, at least not in this country.
Then the series of legal and legislative failures began to drop like groceries through the bottom of a wet grocery bag.
Even an idiot begins to learn to quit trying to dump the joint eventually. So now come all the reversals of plans too moronic to have a prayer of seeing the light of day. Good.
Oh, that word “idiot.” Do you feel, gentle reader, it is perhaps a little much? Then perhaps you haven’t read a transcript of (or simply watched or listened to) Mr. Trump’s recent AP interview, which sounded very much like a conversation one might overhear during a visit with a demented relative. Not a word that came out of his mouth made sense in any dimension. And this is not exactly news, because he talks that way all the time.
But idiot or not, Trump still has neo-Nazi Satan-worshipper and lover of chaos Steve Bannon sleeping on the couch in the Oval Office — just in case, one must assume.
So yes, Trump said — or read — all the right words during his address at the Holocaust Museum, and that is, indeed, as Milbank and a few others have said, a fine thing. Even if it required a speech writer (something this president should have with him at all times), a teleprompter (a modern marvel and necessity for any gaffe-prone politician) and probably some sort of medication as well.
And maybe, yes, maybe once upon a time Adolph Hitler or Joseph Mengele even said something sensible and appropriate somewhere, if only by accident or, more probably, by sinister design.
My question, I guess, is do presidents (especially those who have already proven themselves, by any standard, to be incompetent), get an “attaboy” for saying something that’s actually right and appropriate? It’s like rewarding the schoolyard bully for not punching anyone in the face on a given day.
Does that make sense? Praising the bully for acting civilized for a moment, I mean? And the fact that Trump, during this magnanimous statement, never once actually mentioned Jews; that’s rather problematic.
“At least he didn’t announce a pogrom!” says the media, hopefully. Right. Unless one counts perhaps Syria.
“I pledge…to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good,” Trump stated at one point in his Remembrance Day address — and yet he still has Steve Bannon on the payroll in some unspecified capacity. Put Bannon out at the curb for collection with the rest of the White House trash and I will personally call the Pope to report a miracle like unto Saul on the road to Damascus (which, interestingly, is still located in what’s left of Syria).
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted on Friday that Trump’s statement was “puzzling and troubling” because it refers to “depravity and horror” inflicted on “innocent people” by the Nazis and fails to mention that the victims were Jews. This statement, which strikes me as on point, was immediately condemned by World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder as playing politics with the memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
Really? The WJC statement via Lauder was received with a good deal of negativity by members and Jewish non-members alike, and with good reason. A well-spoken yet half-assed recognition of “evil” without mentioning who the primary victims of this particular and incomprehensible evil were comes across as disingenuous at best.
“But what about the gay people, the Romany people, the physically and mentally impaired people, who also were killed?”
A fair question, but one fairly easily answered: The Holocaust was a direct attempt by the Third Reich to rid the world of Jews. The rest were easy to drag in while “cleansing” the “master race” and grabbing more lebensraum for der vaterland. Besides, some of the gay victims were also Jewish. At any rate, once the program, er, pogrom, was underway, it became far more bureaucratically easy and effective to just take away anyone who wasn’t quite “right.”
It was about Jews. The Holocaust was intended to rid the world of Jews. All Jews. And it made a pretty significant dent in their number. Significant enough to at least mention the fact during the president’s address.
But hey, he didn’t kill anybody, right? He read the teleprompter pretty well, and his speech writer, whoever it might have been, was to blame for no mention of Jews — at the Holocaust Museum. Right? Because Mr. Trump actually rarely knows exactly what he is saying anyway.
But this is none of my business. After all, I am not Jewish. I am not Black, either. I am not even gay. So after they’ve come for all of them and then they come for me, well, it won’t matter then whether it’s my business or not.
So yeah, give him major “presidential” props for not ordering in some incredibly delicious chocolate cake to nosh on while talking on this occasion.
Our boy Donald; he’s growing up.