The Jury Talks Back

10/21/2018

Trump Celebrates Violence Against a Reporter, and These Two Reactions Are Emblematic

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 9:02 am

You probably know the story by now. At a recent rally, Donald Trump gleefully recounted how Montana Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte body-slammed reporter Ben Jacobs from the Guardian. This is an act that Gianforte pled guilty to and apologized for, but to Trump (who is, I am quite sure, a physical coward) it was something to laugh about and celebrate:

Listen to the mob howl in approval. (More about that below.)

In one of the funnier clips I have seen in a while, Corey Lewandowski, the Trump sycophant whose voice is just beginning to break (congratulations on hitting puberty, Corey!), tries valiantly to do his best imitation of how he thinks an actual decent person acts. Lewandowski mouths platitudes about how we should all reject violence, citing (to take one of many examples) obviously figurative but nevertheless poisonous rhetoric from Eric Holder about kicking people in response to attacks. The problem is, every time Cuomo asks Lewandowski to specifically criticize Trump for his actual celebration of the body-slamming of a reporter, Lewandowski can’t bring himself to do it.

It’s called a non-disparagement clause, Chris. It’s the reason this clown never should have been on your network to begin with. But I do give you props for exposing his behavior, even if you won’t tell the viewers why.

Watching this clip, it seemed to me that Lewandowski’s performance is emblematic of the GOP these days. With very few exceptions (and we’re about to get to one), GOP leaders across the board, and indeed a large Trumpist section of the GOP electorate, behaves as if they too have a non-disparagement agreement with Trump. They want to pose as decent people who have principles and aren’t utter hypocrites. Then you ask them their attitude towards something clearly immoral and disgusting like Trump’s behavior at this rally, and they spin like a top, dismissing it as a joke, or unimportant, or any spin they can possibly reach for.

Anything that allows them not to criticize Trump.

As a counterweight (of sorts) to that, we have Ben Sasse this morning:

I believe the First Amendment is the beating heart of the American experiment. We need to have a president who celebrates the First Amendment and not pretends that beating up a reporter is okay.

I call it a counterweight “of sorts” because even Sasse reflects the view of many of his constituents that the President is just being playful, and hey, what’s the big deal here? But even with his minimizing tone, he’s one of the few people actually willing to speak out against such nonsense.

Sasse can’t make anyone happy. The lefties are unhappy because he is still conservative and votes like a conservative. The Trumpists are unhappy because their only principle is Trump worship, and Sasse won’t come to church. Conservatives like me are happy, but we don’t count because there are 17 of us left in the entire country. You heard me: 17. I counted the other day. We’re meeting for pie this afternoon.

As a side note, I will say that even Sasse won’t address the real elephant in the GOP room. (SWIDT?) While Trump’s conduct is troubling, the real problem is the animals in his audience laughing at his antics. It is people like this who made him the GOP nominee, and it is people like this who are the core problem with this country. These degenerates are the reason politicians are scared to say anything about Trump. The laughing hyenas at the rally are not the people I still respect to this day: people who reluctantly voted for a man they believed to be flawed, but still better than Hillary. No, the moral reprobates yukking it up at Trump’s description of inexcusable violence are the people who actively applaud the worst behavior in our public life — just because they find it entertaining, and because its utter lack of morality doesn’t trouble them a bit.

Sasse, a politician, won’t blame any voters, ever — not even this obviously immoral subset of voters. But I will.

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