Within hours of the horrific massacre in Orlando, Florida, Donald Trump was congratulating himself and seeking political advantage from the suffering of others. He spent the next few days lambasting President Obama for not saying ‘radical Islamic terrorism,” a right-wing mantra that is at best a trivial distraction that has no effect whatsoever on counter-terrorism activities. [See The Reverse Beetlejuice Doctrine]
Yesterday Donald Trump escalated his grandstanding by repeating an ignorant trope about how different the outcome would have been if the patrons of the Pulse nightclub had themselves been armed. Every expert on public safety has repudiated that notion as being either ineffective or increasing the risk. But in this specific circumstance it would be so ridiculous that even the NRA distanced itself from Trump’s remarks. The NRA’s executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, told CBS’s Face the Nation that “I don’t think we should have firearms where people are drinking.” And Chris Cox, chief lobbyist for the NRA, said that “no one thinks that people should go into a nightclub drinking and carrying firearms.” Well, not on one. Some states are passing laws explicitly permitting it.
Still, for most sane folks the prospect of arming patrons of a crowded establishment where alcohol is being served is inviting tragedy even without any terrorists showing up. It would lead to common arguments having deadly results, as well as increasing the odds of lethal accidents. Trump’s phony machismo is just further evidence of how shallow he thinks through issues that can have profoundly disturbing consequences.
As a result of his quick-draw mouthing off, and the NRA’s equally quick disapproval, Trump tried to walk back his statement in a tweet (of course) falsely asserting that “When I said that if, within the Orlando club, you had some people with guns, I was obviously talking about additional guards or employees.” The dishonesty of that lame qualification is easily observed by revisiting his original comment:
“If we had people, where the bullets were going in the opposite direction, right smack between the eyes of this maniac — if some of those wonderful people had guns strapped right here, right to their waist or to their ankle, and this son of a bitch comes out and starts shooting, and one of the people in the room happened to have it, and goes boom — boom — you know what? That would have been a beautiful, beautiful sight, folks. That would have been a beautiful, beautiful sight. So don’t let them take your guns away.”
What’s obvious about that statement is that Trump was referring to the bar’s patrons. The security guard in the club was, in fact, armed. Trump was talking specifically about “those wonderful people” and then he warned his rally audience, who were not security professionals, to resist letting anyone “take your guns away.” Never mind that no one is trying to take guns away from responsible, law-abiding citizens. Trump was clearly recommending that everyone, including bar patrons, strap on loaded weapons and prepare for a night out Wild West style. And it’s not the first time he has pitched this idiocy.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
This whole affair is textbook Trump: Exploit the fear and bigotry of your followers by saying something stupid and indefensible. Then refuse to apologize, or even acknowledge the asinine nature of your statement, and lie about what you allegedly meant. It’s the strategy of an egocentric authoritarian who knows he can get away with anything because his glassy-eyed disciples won’t hold him to account and the media is too obsessed with ratings to do its job. Hopefully that situation will correct itself as the election season proceeds.