Much of the El Paso shooter’s online diatribe tracks closely with language President Trump has used since he launched his first campaign in 2015. Many observers submit that if you delete the blatant references to killing, Trump’s and the shooter’s rhetoric are virtually indistinguishable. Donald made a “unifying” address to the country days after the dual mass murders in El Paso and Dayton. “Hostage video” has become a tedious cliché for describing a politician or celebrity making a scripted televised statement he clearly does not want to make and doesn’t believe. But there is still no better metaphor to describe Teleprompter Trump in his appearance Monday. His communication lackeys placed a galactically cynical collection of words on a screen reader to make the president look human. It didn’t work. (scroll down for full article)
— RECENT HEADLINES –
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“Trump Pulls Mueller-Bashing Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) as DNI Pick After Even GOP Doubts” (8/2/2019)
“21-Yr.-Old White Supremacist Drives 10 Hrs. to Massacre 22, Injure 26 at El Paso Walmart” (8/3/2019)
“24-Yr.-Old White Gunman Murders 9, Injures 27 in Dayton, OH, Nightclub District at 1:05 a.m.; Police Kill Shooter Within 30 Seconds After 1st Shots; No Apparent Racial, Political Motive” (8/4/2019)
“Trump Speaks to Nation on Back-to-Back Shootings, Gives Teleprompted Speech Denouncing ‘hatred,’ ‘racism,’ Belied Only by Lifetime of Promoting Hate, Racism; No Mention of Gun Issues” (8/5/2019)
“Handful of GOP Legislators Supporting Some Gun Control in Wake of Dual Mass Shootings” (8/6/2019)
“NRA Chief Warns Trump to Stand Down After President Mentions Background Checks” (8/6/2019)
“U.S.-China Economic Tensions Grow Dangerous as Even Trump Aides Fear His Judgment” (8/7/2019)
“Trump Visits El Paso, Dayton in Aftermath of Shootings; Pres. Faces Massive Protests Due to Belief That His Consistently Racist, Hate-Filled Rhetoric, Statements Have Contributed to Violence” (8/7/2019)
“Trump Says He Sees ‘no political appetite’ for Banning Assault Rifles” (8/7/2019)
“On Solemn Day of El Paso, Dayton AF1 Mourning Visits to Survivors, Families, Trump Launches Daylong Ad Hominem Attacks on Foes, Makes Himself Victim; Trump Visit Was Protested, Unwelcomed by Many, Especially in El Paso, a City He Has Bashed in Past; Most Survivors Refused to Meet w/ Pres.” (8/7/2019)
“ICE Does Massive Miss. Raid on Day of Mourning; Families Separated; Country Outraged” (8/7/2019)
“After Worst U.S. Anti-Latino Attack (El Paso), Trump Offers No Reassurances to Latinos” (8/8/2019)
On August 3, 2019 — according to information known at this time — a 21-year-old Caucasian male drove approximately 10 hours from his parents’ home in Allen, Texas, to the border city of El Paso. Lost and hungry, he entered a Walmart store to eat. He returned to his car, suited up for battle, and started firing his AK-style semiautomatic WASR-10 rifle as he walked from the parking lot back into the building. The shooter killed 22 people and injured 26. It was the worst anti-Latino attack in U.S. history.
After surrendering, the gunman told police he wanted to shoot “as many Mexicans as possible.” Indeed, 27 minutes before the carnage started, he posted a 2,300-word rant on a notorious white supremacist website, opening with these words:
“In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto. This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.”
Let’s see. Where have I heard that word invasion recently?
“That’s an invasion. I don’t care what they say. Turn back now, because you’re not getting in.”
(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; campaign rally; Chattanooga, Tenn.; 11/4/2018.) (referring to Central American migrants walking north toward U.S. southern border)
“Humanitarian Crisis at our Southern Border. I just got back and it is a far worse situation than almost anyone would understand, an invasion! I have been there numerous times – The Democrats, Cryin’ Chuck and Nancy don’t know how bad and dangerous it is for our ENTIRE COUNTRY….”
(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; Twitter post; 1/11/2019.)
“[That’s] an invasion.”
(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; campaign rally; Panama City, Fla.; 5/9/19.) (referring to Central American migrants walking north toward U.S. southern border)
“The Wall is under construction and moving along quickly, despite all of the Radical Liberal Democrat lawsuits. What are they thinking as our Country is invaded by so many people (illegals) and things (Drugs) that we do not want. Make America Great Again”
(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; Twitter post; 6/2/2019.)
“Since January, Mr. Trump’s reelection campaign has posted more than 2,000 ads on Facebook that include the word ‘invasion’ — part of a barrage of advertising focused on immigration, a dominant theme of his reelection messaging. A review of Mr. Trump’s tweets also found repeated references to an ‘invasion,’ while his 2016 campaign advertising heavily featured dark warnings about immigrants breaching America’s borders.”
(Kaplan, Thomas; “How the Trump Campaign Used Facebook Ads to Amplify His ‘Invasion’ Claim”; The New York Times; 8/5/2019.)
It has been widely reported that much of the shooter’s online diatribe tracks closely with language President Trump has used since he launched his first campaign in 2015. Many observers submit that if you delete the blatant references to killing, Trump’s and the El Paso murderer’s rhetoric are virtually indistinguishable.
“My Rhetoric Brings People Together”
“When a reporter asked if his rhetoric divides Americans, Trump responded, ‘I don’t think my rhetoric does at all. My rhetoric is very — it brings people together,’ Trump said before deflecting to say the United States is doing better than China.
“And the president is right, in a way. His explicitly racist rhetoric — dating from his campaign-launch speech demonizing Mexican immigrants to telling four Democratic congresswomen of color to ‘go back’ to their countries to demonizing Baltimore and undercutting the humanity of the people who live there — has brought people together by expanding the political and cultural space for overt, public white nationalism. It has united crowds in chanting ‘Send her back!’ at his rallies. And it has given a public and powerful platform to the ideas a white nationalist expressed before killing nearly two dozen people in El Paso. Of course, Trump on Wednesday morning seems to be asserting his rhetoric is broadly unifying, a claim laughable for more reasons than could be enumerated here.”
(Wade, Peter; “Trump Says His ‘Rhetoric Brings People Together’”; RollingStone.com; 8/7/2019.)
There are so many things to unpack here, as the pundits like to say. Let’s address this article’s headline: “Dog Bites Man: Gun Violence Won’t Change Under Trump’s GOP.”
President Trump made a “unifying” address to the country, days after the weekend dual mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. “Hostage video” has become a tedious cliché for describing a politician or celebrity making a scripted-by-aides televised statement he clearly does not want to make and doesn’t believe. But there is still no better metaphor to describe Teleprompter Trump in this appearance.
On Monday, the president denounced “hatred,” “racism,” and “white supremacy.” By Wednesday, he said, “I don’t like it … “white supremacy” or “any other kind of supremacy.” This was another false equivalency, essentially watering down his criticism of white supremacists, which hearkens back to his Charlottesville statement that there were “very fine people, on both sides,” including the neo-Nazi side.
A few hours before the Monday address, Trump stated — or tweeted, or something — his possible, maybe, lukewarm support for bipartisan legislation to produce “strong background checks.” But later in the day, by the time of his 10-minute national speech, background checks were lost among “mentally ill monsters,” “violent video games,” and application of the death penalty in a “quick and decisive” way.
You can just picture what happened. When Trump mentioned “strong background checks” off the cuff, he was saying what he thought he needed to say in the moment, with zero regard for veracity. Business as usual. But his posse of aides, right-wing congressional allies, and NRA execs stepped in and said, “Whoa, Big Boy. Take it easy, there. Go with ‘mentally ill monsters’ and ‘violent video games,’ but lose the background checks.”
Donald did them one better: “Mental illness and hatred [and video games] pulls the trigger — not the gun.”
And Trump’s posse said, “Good boy. Now go back to Mar-a-Lago and surprise another bride at her reception.”
Just to make absolutely sure the president knows who’s boss, the NRA chief executive buzzed Donald Tuesday, the day after his bring-us-together feel-good sentiments from the White House. Wayne LaPierre warned Trump: “That’s a nice presidency you got there. It’d be a shame if anything happened to it.”
But Donald is smarter than Wayne. Donald knows there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that he will ever endorse background checks when and if the rubber ever actually meets the road. Donald knows which side of his Wonder “Classic White” bread is buttered. Donald knows how to raise false hopes by lying in the moment, only to be exposed later that he never meant a word of it. But by then, the moment has passed. Finally, Donald knows the importance of avoiding excessive, tedious metaphorical clichés, unlike this writer.
“Dog Bites Man: Gun Violence Won’t Change Under Trump’s GOP.”
Speaking of Hate
The word hypocrisy has made quite a showing after Donald’s comforting address to bring the country together:
“‘In one voice, our nation must condemn bigotry, hatred and white supremacy,’ Trump said in a nationally televised address from the Diplomatic Room of the White House. ‘These sinister ideologies must be defeated.’ Trump was delivering his first in-depth remarks on the pair of shootings that left 30 dead and dozens more wounded in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. He denounced the shootings as ‘barbaric slaughters’ and condemned the El Paso shooter as ‘consumed with racist hate.’”
(Fabian, Jordan & Samuels, Brett; “Trump on El Paso Shooting: We Must Condemn White Supremacy”; The Hill; 8/5/2019.)
[TRUMP]: “But let’s hold off on the actual condemning until after election 2020. ‘Consumed with racist hate’ is kind of my thing, one of my Greatest Hits. And I can’t use ‘invasion’ anymore!? What’ll I play at rallies? Lynyrd Skynyrd can’t perform their jazz improvisational works at a concert. If the fans don’t hear ‘Free Bird’ and ‘Sweet Home Alabama,’ they leave.”
(— writer’s embellishment)
We can pretty much leave this one at ‘nuff said. Trump didn’t bring the country together with his colossal hypocrisy — he exacerbated the already enormous North American continental divide. (To continue the seismology metaphor), unless you’ve been living under a tectonic plate, you know the phony critical attack on “these sinister ideologies” of “bigotry, hatred, and white supremacy” is a galactically cynical collection of words placed on a teleprompter to make the president look human.
It didn’t work.
Day of Mourning
“On a day when President Trump vowed to tone down his rhetoric and help the country heal following two mass slayings, he did the opposite — lacing his visits Wednesday to El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, with a flurry of attacks on local leaders and memorializing his trips with grinning thumbs-up photos. … [T]he day provided a fresh testament to Trump’s limitations in striking notes of unity and empathy.
“When Trump swooped into the grieving border city of El Paso … some of the city’s elected leaders and thousands of its citizens declared the president unwelcome. In his only public remarks during the trip, Trump lashed out at Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, both Democrats, over their characterization of his visit with hospital patients in Dayton. ‘We had an amazing day,’ Trump said in El Paso as he concluded his visit. ‘As you know, we left Ohio. The love, the respect for the office of the presidency.’”
(Parker, Rucker, Johnson, & Sonmez; “Trump Attacks Local Leaders as He Visits Two Cities Grieving From Mass Shootings”; The Washington Post; 8/8/2019.)
Throughout the day of mourning, the president impressed upon the nation how “my rhetoric brings people together” and that the Dayton hospital patients and employees love the president. After leaving El Paso, he tweeted, “The love, respect & enthusiasm [for me] were there for all to see.” He also attacked the following people and news outlets via Twitter, reporter Q&A’s, back-stabbing aide leaks, and carrier pigeon: Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D-Ohio), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), Joe Biden (D-Del.), Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), Julián Castro (D-Texas), CNN, NBC, MSNBC, Shepard Smith (FNN), and a few others I probably missed.
The largely white supremacist chat/forum website 8chan has been shut down after the El Paso shooter posted his 2,300-word rant explaining his intentions to kill “as many Mexicans as possible” and his reasons for doing same. This is not 8chan’s first involvement with the glorification of racist hate and its murderous participants.
The internet service provider and web security firm that enabled 8chan to operate fired the site as a customer. Replacement providers will be difficult to find, simply as a matter of technological capacity.
Right-wing “free speech” advocates immediately yelled “First Amendment!” But set aside the fact that the ISP and security firm are private companies — even though they would have to bake a cake for a gay wedding, if they sold wedding cakes.
The primary fallacy here is that not all speech is protected by the Constitution. As every seventh-grader learned in social studies class, you can’t (legally) yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater if it’s not on fire. And the theater cannot knowingly allow a patron in to see Toy Story 4 who plans to yell “Fire!” once the lights go down.
The Constitution does not protect speech that intends to incite physical harm; ergo it does not protect the 8chans of the world. There might be a gray area in deciding what content incites harm. But 8chan is not in that area.
One More Thing
Something else that burns my a**? Trump and Trump Republicans have taken away decent citizens’ ability to say, “Our hearts go out to [name your crisis survivors].” “Thoughts and prayers”? A now totally meaningless sentiment, thanks to Republicans’ consistent disgusting self-preserving substitution of empty words for meaningful action to solve a deadly crisis.
Thoughts and prayers won’t do it. There’s only one way — well, two ways — to end this national nightmare: 1) Pay attention to what Trump is doing; and 2) Vote. ■
Trump Corruption Chronicles — We Must Never Forget