We wrote yesterday that President Trump seemed to be in damage control mode after the “send her back” chants that erupted during a campaign rally in North Carolina on Wednesday.
So much for that.
As the Washington Post reports today, Trump may now be in a different kind of damage control mode with his frothing base:
President Trump stepped back Friday from a day-old claim that he was unhappy with a hostile chant by his supporters, lashing out at the media for its coverage of the episode and calling the crowd at the North Carolina rally “incredible patriots.” [Pols emphasis]
“Those are incredible people. Those are incredible patriots,” Trump said during an event in the Oval Office at which he again attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), the Somali-born lawmaker whom he was criticizing at his rally earlier this week when the chants of “Send her back!” rang out.
“She’s lucky to be where she is, let me tell you,” Trump said. “And the things that she has said are a disgrace to our country.”
Asked about his unhappiness with the rally chant, Trump said, “You know what I’m unhappy with — the fact that a congresswoman can hate our country. I’m unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman can say anti-Semitic things.”
Perhaps Trump is no longer pretending that he was opposed to the “send her back” chant, since video of the event shows a man making no effort to put a stop to it:
As David Brooks writes for the New York Times, there is no reason to dispute that Trump’s vision of America — at least as it pertains to his re-election campaign — is anything other than what we saw in North Carolina this week:
So apparently Donald Trump wants to make this an election about what it means to be American. He’s got his vision of what it means to be American, and he’s challenging the rest of us to come up with a better one.
In Trump’s version, “American” is defined by three propositions. First, to be American is to be xenophobic. The basic narrative he tells is that the good people of the heartland are under assault from aliens, elitists and outsiders. Second, to be American is to be nostalgic. America’s values were better during some golden past. Third, a true American is white. White Protestants created this country; everybody else is here on their sufferance.
When you look at Trump’s American idea you realize that it contradicts the traditional American idea in every particular. In fact, Trump’s national story is much closer to the Russian national story than it is toward our own. It’s an alien ideology he’s trying to plant on our soil.
Trump’s vision is radically anti-American.
There are now just 473 days until the next election.