Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Losing It

From Peter Baker in the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — In theory, President Trump summoned television cameras to the heat-baked Rose Garden early Tuesday evening to announce new measures against China to punish it for its oppression of Hong Kong. But that did not last long.

What followed instead was an hour of presidential stream of consciousness as Mr. Trump drifted seemingly at random from one topic to another, often in the same run-on sentence. Even for a president who rarely sticks to the script and wanders from thought to thought, it was one of the most rambling performances of his presidency.

He weighed in on China and the coronavirus and the Paris climate change accord and crumbling highways. And then China again and military spending and then China again and then the coronavirus again. And the economy and energy taxes and trade with Europe and illegal immigration and his friendship with Mexico’s president. And the coronavirus again and then immigration again and crime in Chicago and the death penalty and back to climate change and education and historical statues. And more.

“We could go on for days,” he said at one point, and it sounded plausible.

At times, it was hard to understand what he meant. He seemed to suggest that his presumptive Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., would get rid of windows if elected and later said that Mr. Biden would “abolish the suburbs.” He complained that Mr. Biden had “gone so far right.” (He meant left.)

Even for those who follow Mr. Trump regularly and understand his shorthand, it became challenging to follow his train of thought.

For instance, in discussing cooperation agreements with Central American countries to stop illegal immigration, he had this to say: “We have great agreements where when Biden and Obama used to bring killers out, they would say don’t bring them back to our country, we don’t want them. Well, we have to, we don’t want them. They wouldn’t take them. Now with us, they take them. Someday, I’ll tell you why. Someday, I’ll tell you why. But they take them and they take them very gladly. They used to bring them out and they wouldn’t even let the airplanes land if they brought them back by airplanes. They wouldn’t let the buses into their country. They said we don’t want them. Said no, but they entered our country illegally and they’re murderers, they’re killers in some cases.”

But wait, there’s more.

Mr. Trump added to his long record of racially inflammatory comments during an interview with CBS News, in which he brushed off a question about Black people killed by police officers, saying that white people are killed in greater numbers.

Mr. Trump reacted angrily when asked about the issue, which has led to nationwide protests calling for major law enforcement changes.

“Why are African-Americans still dying at the hands of law enforcement in this country?” the interviewer, Catherine Herridge of CBS News, asked the president.

“What a terrible question to ask,” Mr. Trump responded. “So are white people. More white people, by the way.”

Statistics show that while more white Americans are killed by the police over all, people of color are killed at higher rates. A federal study that examined lethal force used by the police from 2009 to 2012 found that a majority of victims were white, but the victims were disproportionately Black. Black people had a fatality rate at the hands of police officers that was 2.8 times as high as that of white people.

If this was a movie, at this point a couple of well-muscled guys in white jackets would slowly approach him, talk soothingly, and then gently but strongly take him by the arms and escort him off the stage.

One bark on “Losing It

  1. I don’t have the tweet handy but Maggie Haberman (who I think of more as stenographer than reporter) said that Trump even some surprised by some of the information in his own notes.

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