President Donald J. Trump is in full election mode – as evidenced by his behavior at his political rallies that reprise the 2016 no-holds-barred presidential contest.
Trump’s virulent verbal attacks on his critics, especially the Democratic candidates for president, and the media, are red meat for his ardent supporters.
And when he lashes out at someone in the crowd who he assumes is an enemy, the reaction is predictably nasty.
So it was last Thursday night during a rally in Manchester, N.H., when Trump fat-shamed a man he thought was a protester.
“That guy’s got a serious weight problem,” sneered the president. “Go home. Start exercising. Get him out of here please. Got a bigger problem than I do. Got a bigger problem than all of us. Now he goes home and his mom says, ‘What the hell have you just done.’”
The Trumpsters roared their approval at the public shaming of the man and turned a blind eye to the irony of their hero claiming, “Our movement is built on love.”
But there’s just one problem with what occurred at the rally in Manchester: It was a supporter, not a protester, who suffered Trump’s wrath.
According to CNN, the president was briefed on his mistake after the event and called the man and left a message.
But the true character of the occupant of the White House was revealed by this tweet from CNN White House reporter Kaitlan Collins:
“Trump did not apologize, a White House official tells me. He phoned the supporter, left him a message thanking him for his support, but did not use the words ‘sorry’ or ‘apologize.’”
Here’s why the president wasn’t moved to say he was sorry: He knows his disciples will remain faithful, through thick and thin.
Chris Cillizza, CNN editor-at-large, offered this insight into the Trump phenomenon:
“1) We have a President who thinks fat-shaming someone in front of thousands of people is a totally acceptable thing to do
“2) The crowd laughed and applauded when Trump made the comment about the man’s weight
“3) Trump only decided to reach out to the man when informed he was a supporter
“4) The White House went out of its way to make clear that Trump did not apologize to the man
“Boy oh boy. What a commentary on this moment in time in American politics and culture.
“Trump mainstreamed bullying as a political tactic during the 2016 primary campaign, so no one should be surprised that, as President, he talks like this. But it does serve as yet another reminder that the biggest difference between Trump and those who have held the office before him is that he absolutely rejects the idea of the presidency as a beacon of moral leadership.
“His reaction to the white nationalist march in Charlottesville, Va., proved that. His mocking of a disabled reporter on the campaign trail in 2016 proved it. His comments about immigrants from ‘----hole countries’ proved it. His insistence that Mexico was sending rapists and criminals to the United States proved it. His decision to call Baltimore “rat-infested” proved it. And on and on it goes.
“What Trump has done is not only ignore the idea that a president of the United States should take the high road but also made a mockery of the very idea. He champions his low-roaded mindset every chance he gets, wearing it as a badge of honor to his supporters.
“To Trump, and those who laugh and jeer right along with him, his willingness to break with standards of accepted behavior speaks to how radical a change he is to a staid and broken political system and culture. What it really is though is just rude. And bullying. Putting someone else down to make yourself feel better isn’t presidential. It isn’t polite. And it shouldn’t be acceptable – regardless of your partisan views.”
We have bemoaned the coarsening of politics in this country that began during the 2016 election when Trump went after the other Republican presidential candidates in the primary with a vengeance. He then attacked the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, with guns blazing.
Yes, he won the presidency, but the cost to the nation in terms of the diminishing of American values has been enormous.
But it isn’t only Trump who has suffered our wrath.
In 2017, we harshly criticized fading comedian Kathy Griffith for her “disgusting attack” on the president.
Griffith had posed with a fake bloody mask designed to look like the head of President Trump.