In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 24 hours, Donald Trump has delivered the perfect case study of how morally bankrupt America’s right wing has become.
After weeks of wallowing in self-satisfied umbrage over black athletes “disrespecting the troops” by kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality (not the troops or the flag), conservatives shrugged their shoulders when they learned that their super patriotic president had yet to call the families of four green berets killed in action two weeks ago. In fact, Mr. “I love America Ooo-Rah!” not only hadn’t called the families, he hadn’t made a single public comment about the loss until the press started nagging him about it. Considering how much the right professes to love the troops, going by the level of rage at directed at kneeling black men, this should have at least drawn a wagged finger or two. Curiously, Trump’s base couldn’t care less about this. But it gets worse.
After attempting to deflect attention from his failure to contact the families of the fallen by claiming both Obama and Bush 43 hadn’t done it, either (a claim he immediately backtracked on as it was clearly untrue), Trump finally got around to calling at least the widow Sgt. La David Johnson. During what is both the easiest and most difficult of presidential duties, easy because there’s no political calculus weighing you down, difficult because as president, the burden of responsibility is crushing, Trump managed to say possibly the worst thing imaginable to a grieving widow: “He knew what he signed up for.” And apparently he said it more than once.
Early Wednesday morning, Trump lashed out at the reports of his failure to act like decent human being by essentially confirming the story:
Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017
How is that a confirmation? Trump has several really obvious tells when he lying. One of them is when he claims to have proof. A normal person simply releases the evidence, demands an apology and goes about their business. Trump dangles “proof” for weeks, hoping someone else will produce some or hoping to intimidate his opponent into backing down. Two times he did this that come immediately to mind involve the James Comey “tapes” and the “proof” he had that Trump Tower was “wired.” Both of which turned out to be lies. At the very least, Trump hopes he can muddy the waters for a few weeks until the public loses interest and then one of his people will admit there’s no proof. By then, no one will care.
Actually, that’s only half true. As of this morning, none of Trump’s base cares anyway. Even a little. The same people that were ready to storm the field and lynch them some uppity black folk for disrespecting the troops are suddenly very blasé about respect for the troops. Eh, they can take it or leave it. No big deal.
They are, however, very angry at Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson from Florida, who overheard the conversation between Trump and Sgt. Johnson widow on speakerphone. She was the one who reported the borderline sociopathic statement so course she’s the guilty party here:
— Rainmaker 💧 (@GmoneyRainmaker) October 18, 2017
That’s just a tiny taste of the abuse that’s going to be hurled at Rep. Wilson as this story plays out. Faced with a situation in which Trump disrespected the troops in a way infinitely worse than a kneeling black man, conservatives will do what they always do: Ignore it completely and find someone to attack because “North” on their moral compass is whichever direction is the most convenient at that moment.
In a week or two, they’ll go right back to howling about football players kneeling, having completely erased this incident from their minds. Life is much easier when you don’t have to remember the bad things your side does.
It’s been 5 years since the right took a single out of context line from Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi testimony (“What difference does it make?) and turned it into “evidence” that she didn’t care about the lives of Americans. It will take them less than 5 days to make Donald Trump’s cruel and callous dismissal of Sgt. Johnson’s sacrifice to disappear down the right wing memory hole.
When you have no moral center, outrage is nothing more than a weapon and empathy is a waste of time.
There are 19 days left to the the 2017 elections.
There are 383 days left to the 2018 elections.
– This article kills fascists
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I’m a stay at home dad, father to a special needs son and a special daughter, a donor baby daddy, a militantly pragmatic liberal, the president of the PTA, a hardcore geek and nerd and I’m going to change the world. Or at least my corner of it.