Ever since he rode down the escalator at Trump Tower in 2015, Donald Trump has been faced time and again with opportunities to prove that he is indeed presidential. Time and again, he has blown them eight ways to Sunday. We got another example of this during his response to this week’s horrific wave of bomb threats.
A number of Trump’s staunchest critics, including liberal megadonor George Soros, former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, 2016 Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton, and actor Robert De Niro, were targeted with pipe bombs, though most of them were intercepted before they reached their targets. One of Trump’s favorite Twitter targets, CNN, had its New York City studios evacuated after a pipe bomb was discovered there. A second bomb intended for CNN was intercepted at the post office.
Early Friday morning, police arrested Cesar Sayoc, a fire-eating Trump supporter and career criminal, and charged him with a litany of federal crimes related to the bombs. So once again, Trump had a chance to rise to the dignity of his office. And once again, he blew it.
The arrest came just hours before Trump was scheduled to hold a MAGA rally in my hometown of Charlotte. After that rally, Trump sat down for an exclusive interview with WSOC-TV in Charlotte. When reporter Joe Bruno asked Trump whether he would tone down his often incendiary rhetoric in the wake of this week’s events, Trump seemed to suggest that this was business as usual.
We think this is horrible what took place, but that happens.
Lest you think this is snark, watch Trump say it here. He also addressed claims that he should bear moral responsibility for Sayoc’s bomb rampage, musing that by that logic, Bernie Sanders bears responsibility for the gunman who gravely injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise before the 2017 congressional baseball game.
It’s not often that I find myself saying this, but I really hope I heard Trump wrong. An unhinged maniac from one party gets the bright idea to send pipe bombs to prominent members of the opposing party, and the president of the United States’ response is “that happens”? An unhinged maniac from one party decides to shoot up the other party’s practice for the congressional baseball game, and the president’s response is “that happens”?
No, Mr. Trump. This is not normal for this country, nor should it ever be normal for this country. And if you think we should accept it as normal, we have yet more reason to question your fitness for office.
Then again, we should have seen this coming. Earlier on Friday, Trump took to Twitter to wail about how the coverage of the bomb scare was harming Republican chances.
Let’s see. Midtown Manhattan was thrown into chaos due to the first bomb sent to CNN, and the families of the bombs’ targets were running scared–and Trump sees fit to wag his finger at the media for not talking about his own party’s campaign?
It got even worse later that day, as we saw on NBC Nightly News. Watch here.
While speaking to an assembly of young black Republicans in the White House, Trump harrumphed that he faced more attacks than anyone. Gee, Mr. Trump, we didn’t know that you were the target of domestic terrorism–unless you consider the criticism you face to be the same thing as a pipe bomb.
Later, while on the way to the airport for the flight to Charlotte, Trump was asked whether he would call the Obamas or Clintons. Trump said that “we’ll probably pass” on that. Imagine if former Republican presidents were sent pipe bombs or white powder, and a Democratic president ruled out calling them. We would rightly be questioning whether that president could take off his partisan blinders long enough to be presidential.
So if you’re wondering how a president can even think an appropriate response to this kind of thuggery is “that happens,” here’s your answer. It’s yet more proof that nothing Trump does will ever be worth it. This man has proven beyond all doubt that he cannot lead.
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