The Daily 202: Trump’s penchant for revisionist history on display during Arizona rally
THE GRAND IDEA: President Trump’s tough rally in Phoenix last night was a gigantic rewrite of history.
– These are the three biggest titles of his speech of 76 minutes:
Trump threatened to close down the federal government if Congress does not fund a border wall by the end of next month. “If we have to close our government, we are building this wall,” he said.
Let’s have our wall!
He predicted that the North American Free Trade Agreement “probably” would end “at some point.” “Personally, I do not think we can reach an agreement,” he said, regarding ongoing efforts to renegotiate the terms.
And he hinted that he would forgive former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio at the right time. “I would not do it tonight because I do not want to cause controversy, but Sheriff Joe should feel good,” Trump said.
– The broader picture is that the president is in denial. His tendency to blur mistakes and convey value by making history in more favorable terms for himself was in sharp evidence. Just as the media showed signs of beginning to progress, Trump spent more than 16 minutes re-litigating his horror response in Charlottesville.
He defended the initial comment that read the day Heather Heyer died and 19 others were injured when a car was submerged in a group of people protesting against the white supremacists. Trump reads the first statement, but omitted in particular his statement that there is hatred and intolerance “from various sides.” This is what generated the initial controversy.
“The words were perfect,” Trump said. “I spoke strongly …”
He complained that he had not obtained enough credit for the second White House statement two days later. “I hit them with neo-Nazis, I hit them all,” Trump said.
He then completely ignored his press conference the following day, in which he again insisted that “both sides” were responsible for the violence. “You had a group on one side that was wrong, and they had a group on the other side that was also very violent, and nobody wants to say,” Trump said at the Trump Tower.
As he was telling the story at the Phoenix Convention Center last night, Trump complained that the press had deliberately ignored his convictions. “I only do this to show you how dishonest these people are,” he said. “They said that” it was not accurate enough. ”
Trump then turned to another page in his standard playbook. Essentially, it boils down to: I know what you are, but what am I? “The only ones who give a platform to these hate groups are the media and the false news,” Trump said. (Steve Bannon was proud last summer that Breitbart is “the platform for the alt-law.” After being expelled as White House strategy chief last Friday, Bannon back on the site).
The president relied last night on bartering “us” against the “he” he used so effectively during the campaign. Often, “they” are the press. Trump described the journalists as “sick people.” “I really do not think they like our country,” he said, allowing them to carry a serious (and obviously false) charge against fellow citizens. Fox News is the exception, the president said, highlighting Sean Hannity for praise.
The media are “the source of the division,” he said. “It’s time to expose the media … for its role in creating divisions in the country.”
– Somewhat incongruously, Trump attacked CNN for firing a pro-Trump analyst who tweeted a Nazi motto after Charlottesville. “They have fired Jeffrey Lord, poor Jeffrey,” said the analyst’s president. “I guess I was a little fed up, and I was arguing a bit too much!”
In fact, the cable network has fired Lord for having “Tweeter Heil!” In a debate with a liberal activist. “The phrase, which means” hail victory, “is banned in Germany because of its association with Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party,” says Andrew de Grandpre.