In the space of a week, Donald Trump and Mike Pence have given us a Master Class in cluelessness (Trump) and servility (Pence).
Pence was at his smarmy best when he dutifully defended Trump’s lunatic assertion that murderous “Middle Easterners” were part of that scary Caravan making its way to the border from Guatemala. Talking Points Memo named Pence their “Duke of the Week” for that one.
Every lackey willingly floating in President Trump’s orbit is handed their fair share of flak for their regular defense of Trump’s latest fallacious musings.
But Vice President and Trump hype man Mike Pence is the aide most often recruited to step in it. And this week, he dove in deep, defending Trump’s unfounded — and racist — claims that “Middle Easterners” were part of the caravan of Central American migrants heading to the U.S., spouting false statistics and then being forced to shove his tail between his leg and publicly walk back the comments.
Ever since Fox News began its non-stop coverage of the group of immigrants traveling toward the U.S., Trump and his flunkies in Congress and on TV have seized on the issue to get Republican voters worked up ahead of the midterms. Trump blamed the Democrats for “open borders” and tweeted threats to Mexico and Guatemala, signaling he’d cut U.S. aide to the countries if they didn’t block the group from approaching the U.S.-Mexico border. According to multiple on-the-ground reports, the migrants were escaping violence and poverty in Honduras and hoped to seek asylum in the U.S.
Pence insisted that during the last fiscal year, authorities had apprehended “more than 10 terrorists or suspected terrorists per day at our Southern border. from countries that are referred to in as ‘other than Mexico.” With a straight face, he insisted that “countries other than Mexico” meant from the Middle East. It also turned out that those apprehended were attempting to enter the country illegally at all ports of entry, not just the southern one.
So he’s a liar like Trump. (And don’t get me started about his attempt to use the term “Rabbi” to describe the Christian he trotted out to offer a prayer for the real Jews killed in Pittsburgh.)
Eventually, of course, our demented President had to admit he had “no proof” that there were people of Middle Eastern decent tagging along with the caravan. (“There’s no proof of anything but they could very well be,” Trump said, after he let Pence and others spend more than 24 hours defending his bizarre assertions).
Sure, and I could “very well” be a Martian…
Lest his “base” (in both senses of the word) miss the point of his attacks on those brown people trying to escape poverty and violence, Trump has promised to issue an Executive Order ending automatic citizenship for children of immigrants born on American soil. That’s ludicrous, of course–such a change would require a Constitutional amendment. The evidence suggests his base is too ignorant of the American Constitution to know that.
Of course, it’s entirely possible Trump doesn’t know it either–he’s given no hint of familiarity with the law or the Constitution.
Trump’s ignorance of law, facts, science, geography and the way the world works is more than equalled, however, by his inability to understand even the most basic obligations of the office he accidentally holds. I can’t say it any more plainly than Vox, in an article titled “Trump Has Passed Every Chance to Unite the Country during the Pipe Bomb Crisis.”
Once again, he has proven to be completely incapable of providing sober, mature, responsible leadership in a time of crisis.
After initially calling for “unity” in scripted remarks on Friday, the president turned his appearance at the White House’s Young Black Leadership Summit into a campaign rally.
He did his usual thing: He slammed Democrats, bashed the “fake news” media, and lambasted so-called “globalists.” Never mind that most of the bomber’s targets were top Democratic politicians, including former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and that one was CNN, one of Trump’s favorite targets for the “fake news” label.
Trump is a terrifyingly un-self-aware person; he is absolutely unable to take responsibility for anything. In a conversation with reporters, he refused to accept any blame for his rhetoric.
“Not at all, no. There is no blame. There is no anything,” he told reporters.
Asked if he would commit to toning down his rhetoric for a few days, he responded, “Well, I think I’ve been toned down. I could really tone it up. Because as you know, the media has been incredibly unfair to me and to the Republican Party.”
And when he was asked if he would call any of the targeted individuals–especially former Presidents Obama and Clinton–he said “probably not.”
In other words, he doesn’t even want to do the bare minimum a president is expected to do here: speak with the people targeted by a terrifying bomb threat and tell them he’s happy they’re safe.
Trump wasn’t interested in making a phone call–after all, that doesn’t generate media exposure. But he was insistent on going to Pittsburgh, a trip that would be covered by the media he pretends to despise, despite requests from the mayor and the community that he stay away and refrain from distracting from the funerals.
Like I say–a Master Class.