After having been mostly invisible during the 24 hours since 31 people were murdered in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, along with dozens more wounded – Donald Trump has emerged from the cocoon of his Golf resort in New Jersey, to comment on the on the mass shootings.
Trump did intermittently tweet during that space of time, issuing some hollow notes about “God Bless Dayton” and “God Bless El Paso”, but these were less than consequential, not only because for Trump to invoke the Almighty is close to sacrilege, given the demonstrable fact that Trump has but one god – himself, but also because he could not discipline himself to stay on message, interspersing the God blesses with tweets congratulating MMA champion Colby Covington – a known Trump enthusiast.
Here is the tweet which followed his sparse reaction to the shootings a mere 14 minutes later:
Trump has now issued another tweet that appears to indicate the product of his calculations vis a vis, what for him will generate the most political benefit from this tragedy.
He is placing the blame, not on his irresponsible and incendiary rhetoric, but instead – not surprisingly, on the national news media. Trump says, “The Media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our Country. Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years. News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced and unbiased, or these terrible problems will only get worse!”
So the clear reading of this is that the reason young white men are writing manifestos about their hatred of immigrants and people with differing political views than theirs, is not because Trump and the right wing radio and internet has continuously unleashed a barrage of vitriol towards immigrants, Democrats and other political opponents – but rather, it is because the legitimate news outlets are simply reporting facts about what Trump says and does.
It’s hard not to conclude that Trump is messaging something very sinister with this tweet. It appears to be an extortionist threat – either stop reporting essential facts about me or there will be more violence not less.
It’s not that much of a stretch when you look at the atmosphere Trump has precipitated both before and after election to the presidency.
In May, at a rally in Panama City, Florida, there was an ominous moment that now, after the killings in El Paso, takes on profound significance. Trump asked the crowd in the rally, “But how do you stop these people? You can’t.” “Shoot them!” yelled a supporter in the crowd. In response, Trump turned “shoot them” as a set up for a punchline, “That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with this stuff.” The clear implication being that, if you were anywhere else but in the safe haven for racism of a Trump rally, in a locality such as the Florida Panhandle, someone would call you out on such an ugly statement.
Interestingly and in direct contradiction to Trump, the FBI have now attributed the motive behind the shooting in El Paso, not to what Trump classifies as “Fake News” or biased reporting, but hate. They have declared it officially as a hate crime.
Their assessment, it has been reported, is based on their reading of the shooter’s “Manifesto” and other communications they have reviewed.
One statement in the manifesto is particularly stark, in which the gunman attributes his shooting spree as, “in response to [the] His[panic invasion of Texas.” Trump has also used the term invasion on many occasions, most notably in the May rally.
The El Paso shooter, identified as Patrick Crusius also has referred to one of Trump’s other favorite go to expressions, “fake news”. Crusius, it has been discovered, created a Twitter account in 2016. The majority of the content traffic there, was right wing propaganda on various topics, chief among them, immigration and Crusius’ avid enthusiasm for Donald Trump and Trump’s proposed wall. In addition to the Twitter account, authorities have been reviewing similar material on an account the Crusius maintained on the far right message board 8 chan.
While Trump’s defenders, including White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney deny the obvious – that Trump’s belligerent bigotry inspires violence, Trump proceeds along lines that are familiar to mental health professionals.
Sociopaths invariably, when confronted with the undeniable consequences of their conduct, deny them and point the finger elsewhere – hence Trump’s claim that not he, but “the media”, is culpable for stimulating young men such as Crusius to murderous rage.
Most recently, Trump has disingenuously floated some comments about white nationalism. Trump seems obvious to his own culpability when he asserts that, “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.”
We have been condemning Trump’s role in propagating racism, bigotry and white supremacy and he refused to put a stop to his behavior. You can count on the fact that when the dust settles, Trump will revert back to form.
He’ll once again resume ratcheting up the white angst and anger by demonizing immigrants and minorities. It’s as certain as the Sun rising in the East.