The Republican National Qonvention finally wrapped up a bizarre week on Thursday evening with the actual President of the United States accepting his party’s nomination for a second term from the South Lawn of the White House. In a rambling, hour-long
listing of grievances speech, President Trump described a utopian America in which everything is totally fantastic and nobody has any problems whatsoever.
As Dana Milbank explains for The Washington Post:
He declared himself “proud of the extraordinary progress . . . and brimming with confidence in the bright future.” He said he accepted the nomination “full of gratitude and boundless optimism.” He spoke of “new heights of national achievement,” a “new spirit of unity.”
“I say very modestly that I have done more for the African American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln,” he declared. He proclaimed that “the wall will soon be complete” along the Mexican border. Factories are booming! Workers are happy! “This towering American spirit,” he said, has “lifted us to the summit of human endeavor.” He boasted of creating 9 million jobs since the pandemic struck, leaving out the fact that he lost 22 million.
Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. And Trump presented the mother of all fabrications Thursday night on the South Lawn of the White House. With the Truman Balcony as his backdrop and a massive convention stage erected outside the People’s House, he made only passing references to the pandemic that has disrupted our lives.
(Quick aside: Is there a more perfect Trumpian line than this? “I say very modestly that I have done more for the African American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln.”)
It should be no surprise that Trump would ignore his failures while lying about his achievements; putting mustard on a turd and calling it a hot dog is a core tenet of Trumpism. Frank Bruni of The New York Times was equally mystified by Trump’s speech on Thursday evening. But it should not be lost in the disgusting pomp of a political speech from the White House that Trump doesn’t have the slightest idea of what he would do if elected to a second term.
Don’t take our word for it. This is not punditry spin. These are Trump’s actual words from Thursday:
In a new term as President, we will again build the greatest economy in history — quickly returning to full employment, soaring incomes, and RECORD prosperity! We will DEFEND AMERICA against all threats, and protect America against all dangers. We will LEAD AMERICA into new frontiers of ambition and discovery, and we will reach for new heights of national achievement. We will rekindle new faith in our values, new pride in our history, and a new spirit of unity that can ONLY be realized through love for our country.
Neat. So, how, exactly, are we going to do this? As Chris Cillizza points out via CNN, Trump has repeatedly been asked about what a second term would look like. In response, he has repeatedly said…a bunch of words.
Here’s what Trump told The New York Times about a second term:
“But so I think, I think it would be, I think it would be very, very, I think we’d have a very, very solid, we would continue what we’re doing, we’d solidify what we’ve done, and we have other things on our plate that we want to get done.” [Pols emphasis]
Here’s what Trump told Sean Hannity of Fox News about a second term:
“One of the things that will be really great — the word experience is still good, I always say talent is more important than experience, I’ve always said that — but the word experience is a very important word, a very important meaning.
“I never did this before, never slept over in Washington. I was in Washington maybe 17 times and all of a sudden I’m the President of the United States, you know the story, riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with our first lady and I say this is great but I didn’t know very many people in Washington, it wasn’t my thing. I was from Manhattan, from New York, and now I know everybody. And I have great people in the administration. You make some mistakes, like an idiot like Bolton, you don’t have to drop bombs on everybody.”
And here’s Trump’s response on a second term question when asked by Sinclair Broadcasting:
“We’re going to make America great again. We’ve rebuilt the military, we have a ways to go. We’ve done things for the vets like nobody’s ever seen. We can do even more — we did choice, as you know, we did accountability. What we’ve done nobody’s been able to do. But we have more to do…
“…At the end of our first term, it’s going to be great, it would have been phenomenal. We got hit with the plague. At the end of the second term, it’s going to be at a level that nobody will have ever seen a country. We’re doing it, whether it’s trade, whether it’s military — all made in the USA, so important. Made in the USA. … We’ve got to bring back our manufacturing and I brought it back very big, but we have to make our own pharmaceutical products, our own drugs, prescription drugs.”
“We did choice…we did accountability.” We did illumination! We did elbow macaroni!
The point here isn’t to ridicule Donald Trump — he does a perfectly fine job of that all on his own. What is important is to understand that Trump absolutely does not have any sort of vision for what he might even attempt to accomplish with four more years in the White House. Heck, it is written in the bylaws of the Republican Party that they have NO PLATFORM for 2020.
If you think Trump deserves another term as President, then it is perfectly within your rights to cast your vote for Dear Leader this fall. Just understand that you are voting for a President who all but admits that he has no idea what he might do if he is still President in January.
Re-elect Republicans so that they can be…um…re-elected? Sure, let’s go with that.