On Monday morning Donald Trump hosted a “Made in America” charade at the White House that was intended to celebrate domestic manufacturers, workers, and products. What makes this especially absurd is that Trump himself has his own merchandise made primarily in China and other foreign countries. What’s more, he also buys most of the materials and furnishings for his properties from abroad and hires many foreign workers to staff his resorts and commercial buildings.
Setting aside the hypocrisy of Trump hosting this affair, there were other problems that interfered with its intended goals. Specifically, Trump couldn’t resist spewing the sort of hate speech that is the hallmark of his presidency. So, ignoring the gathered businesses, Trump held an impromptu press conference to exalt himself and double down on his purposefully racist tweets from the day before.
It seemed like Trump had hit rock bottom when he told several congresswomen that they should “go back” where they came from. Never mind that they came from the U.S. by birth or naturalization. What we need to remember is that there is no bottom with Trump. And this was demonstrated today when he addressed the media. His comments were typical of the long-winded, rambling verbal diarrhea that he is famous for.
However, he sunk to new depths of hostility and division that were painful to endure. For most of the time he focused on Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Somali-America who represents Minnesota’s 5th congressional district. She was also one of the four congressional women of color that Trump attacked viciously the day before. But today he went even further (video below):
“I’m watching them. All they do is complain. So all I’m saying is if they wanna leave they can leave. They can leave. I mean, I look at the one, I look at Omar. I don’t know, I never met her. I hear the way she talks about Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda has killed many Americans. She said you can hold your chest out. ‘When I think of America…huh. When I think of Al Qaeda I can hold my chest out.'”
So after repeating his bigoted remarks from yesterday, Trump explicitly asserted that Omar expressed pro-Al Qaeda and anti-American sentiments. That would be profoundly disturbing if it had actually happened. It absolutely did not. So how did Trump come to utter this repugnant lie about an elected member of Congress? It appears he got it from one of his Twitter followers (The Reagan Battalion) who he has retweeted before. This twit posted a video that he falsely claimed showed Omar being supportive of Al Qaeda. It was, in fact, quite the opposite.
In the video Omar is discussing a professor who would gesture with his shoulders whenever he used words like “Al Qaeda” to emphasize the reference. It was his gestures, not hers. And the gestures were not even supportive. But at no time in the full video did she ever say that she holds her chest out when thinking of Al Qaeda. That was an invention totally attributable to Trump’s deranged imagination. Which was further on display as he later told this lie about Omar to the press :
“When she talked about the World Trade Center being knocked down and ‘some people.’ You remember the famous ‘some people’? These are people that in my opinion hate our country. […] These are people that hate our country. They hate our country. They hate it, I think, with a passion.”
This is another example of Trump deliberately misrepresenting what was said. Here Omar was simply criticising people whose reaction to 9/11 was to cast blame on all Muslims. Her reference to “some people” was to draw a distinction between the terrorists and every other peace-loving Muslim who repudiated their vile actions. Trump went on to lie some more about Omar saying that she “hates Israel” and “hates Jews” and repeated the lie that she spoke about “how great Al Qaeda is.”
In the eleven minutes that Trump spent with the media, he exhibited one the signs of his rapidly progressing dementia. He repeats the same things over and over. During this avail he said of the Democratic congresswomen that “If they don’t like it here they can leave” ten times. He also said that “They hate America” six times. It was festival of rancorous bluster that served no purpose other than spreading hatred. But perhaps the most troubling exchange happened when Trump was asked this question:
John Roberts, Fox News: Does it concern you that many people saw that tweet as racist, and that white nationalist groups are finding common cause with you on that point?
Trump: It doesn’t concern me at all because many people agree with me.
So Trump isn’t concerned that white nationalists are embracing him because – well – because there are many white nationalists embracing him. That surely provides him much comfort when he’s trying to decide what racist tropes he’ll disseminate next. At least he knows that he has the support of America’s neo-Nazis and Klan organizations. He must be so proud. And just think…it’s all made in America.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.