Trump went to Phoenix in August where a cool day is when it’s not over 100F and delivered a stream-of-conscious rant about everything from the economy to how to wrap a bear for mailing (okay, I made up the part about the bear but it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility).
Josh Marshall summed it up.
There were a lot of random weird asides through the speech, some of which I flagged in real time. One example: In the course of defending himself on Charlottesville he gave a shout-out to CNN Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord who was recently fired for using a Nazi slogan in a Twitter fight. He had kinder and lengthier words for Lord than he did for Heather Heyer. He had kinder words for Kim Jung Un. Everyone said “you won’t bring [quarterly economic growth] up to 1%.” What?
Aside from the rambling weirdness, the big things are these. President Trump spent something like forty-five minutes in a wide-ranging primal scream about Charlottesville, ranting at the press, giving what might generously be called a deeply misleading and dishonest summary of what he actually said. It all amounted to one big attack on the press for supposedly lying about him.
There were some other points that were momentary and perhaps easy to miss but quite important.
1. Trump essentially promised he would pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a major sop to the anti-immigrant, white nationalist base.
2. Trump suggested he would probably end up withdrawing from NAFTA because negotiations will fail. That statement will have major repercussions.
3. Trump threatened to shut down the government to force Congress’s hand on getting his border wall.
4. While grandiosely not mentioning the names of Jeff Flake or John McCain, he nonetheless went after them and made his opposition to both quite clear. Presidents don’t generally attack members of their own party going into a midterm elections.
In other words, just another Trump speech full of sound and fury and Nuremberg-like exhortations to the minions.
By the way, Trump pardoning former Sheriff Joe Arpaio would be as much a slap in the face to the Latino community as a President George Wallace pardoning Bull Connor would have been to the African-Americans in Birmingham.