With America now in a full-blown recession, President Trump has shifted his campaign strategy to exploiting latent feelings of hate and fear that he apparently believes can propel him to a second four-year term in the White House.
Skyrocketing unemployment and dramatic stock market losses resulting from coronavirus shutdowns have blasted to smithereens Trump's strategy of claiming to be responsible for the greatest economy in the history of the universe. So now, it's a return to his tried and true mantra of turning people against one another -- precisely at a time when America cries out for a healer at the helm, not a divider.
His ranting-and-raving speech in Tulsa, OK, Saturday night contained the makings of what can be expected from Trump and his political supporters until the November 3 general election.
Today, 122,000 Americans have lost their lives to covid-19, about 2,000 deaths since Saturday night. What did Trump have to say about that?
First, he said he had told his administration to test fewer people so fewer infections would be found. When he ran into a buzzsaw of criticism for that comment, he later claimed he was just joking, one of his typical fallback excuses. Like the time when he suggested people should ingest disinfectants to ward off the coronavirus, for example. When #cloroxDon hit Twitterdom with a vengeance, he backtracked and said was just being funny.
Apparently feeling sorry for himself, Trump said that when things go wrong, critics "always blame a president." However, he added, "Other than all of the horrible, horrible deaths, people are going to say 'Man, this guy is doing a good job."
But the Biden campaign did not let that one get away. They put out a statement lambasting Trump, saying that "as the American people suffer through rising coronavirus cases and fight to get back to work and get our economy back on track, Donald Trump made one of the most damning admissions in presidential history: that he ordered federal officials to slow down testing just to artificially suppress numbers and conceal his atrocious mismanagement of the worst public health crisis in generations."
"It wasn't a joke: it was a confession," the Biden statement said. “Donald Trump just announced to the entire country that he cares more about saving his job than he does about saving lives or building our economy back. And that is unforgiveable.”
But Trump's "testing" joke, stupid as it was, was nothing compared to the rest of his rhetoric meant to stoke fear and division among the races as he called racial justice demonstrators "thugs" and attacked efforts to take down Confederate statues as an assault on "our heritage."
“If you want to save your heritage, you want to save that beautiful heritage of ours, we have a great heritage, we’re a great country,” he said.
As Slate reported:
Trump encouraged the crowd to boo reporters in the arena, calling them “the most dishonest people anywhere on earth.” He denounced athletes who knelt for the national anthem. He claimed that anarchists were really Democrats: “Democrat, all Democrat. Everything I tell you is Democrat.” He insulted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (“She doesn’t have a clue”) and threatened D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. “They ripped down a statue … with our radical left mayor watching on television,” Trump fumed. “That’s going to be very expensive for D.C. They’re always looking for money” from the federal government, he said, ominously. “So it’s not going to be good for Mayor Bowser.”
Trump directed slurs and insinuations at several ethnic groups. He called the coronavirus “Kung Flu.” He railed against undocumented immigrants and vowed to abolish DACA. He pitted black Americans against Latin Americans, claiming that former Vice President Joe Biden had “hollowed out our middle class, including our black middle class, with open borders.” He compared murders in Baltimore and Detroit to Guatemala and El Salvador. He speculated that some of the people who had caused trouble in Minneapolis during the George Floyd protests “aren’t even from our nation.” He described a hypothetical home invader this way: “It’s one o’clock in the morning, and a very tough—I’ve used the word on occasion,hombre—a very tough hombre is breaking into the window of a young woman whose husband is away.”
So this is what we can expect from Trump over the next four months, and perhaps worse. It will not be pretty, but if we all do our job on November 3, it will then be over and this tyrant will be kicked to the curb where he belongs.