“President Nelson Muntz,” Liam Donovan calls him.
This is what I get for jumping on the A$AP Rocky story last night and calling it the ultimate “What if Obama did it?” item.
It took literally 15 hours for a better one to come along:
Really bad news! The Baltimore house of Elijah Cummings was robbed. Too bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2019
Another Twitter pal read that and foresaw his debate zingers with Biden next year: “I like people whose kids didn’t die of brain cancer.”
There’ll be three forms of spin about the Cummings tweet today:
1. “Trump was expressing sincere concern!” We might hear this from POTUS himself, with a wink.
2. “Democrats were nasty on occasions X, Y, and Z and therefore petty cruelty from the president is warranted.” An old standby.
3. “He’s making a point, however snidely, about crime in Baltimore, which was the essence of his dispute with Cummings.” Yes and no. He is making that point but the core of the dispute with Cummings is that his committee wants to subpoena communications to and from Jared and Ivanka. Trump doesn’t care about Baltimore’s crime rate except as a political cudgel, and even then he’d be happy not to mention it if Cummings and other Baltimore pols were allies. That’s why it’s unthinkable that he’d ever dog a Republican congressman from the midwest about poverty and opioid addiction. Those guys will vote however he likes so they bear no blame for the condition of their districts. There’s no problem that can’t be overlooked if you’re sufficiently pro-Trump.
Ken White offers a different theory for why the tweet will be defended: “His supporters like him when he’s awful, because they think anyone they disagree with deserves it.” If the Cummings tweet is just a commentary on Baltimore and crime, a similar mocking tweet about someone breaking into Pelosi’s house or Ilhan Omar’s house or James Comey’s house, etc, should be greeted more coolly by Trump’s own party. But it wouldn’t be. In each case, some past political sin committed by the victim would be located and used as a fig leaf to disguise the tweet’s true appeal, which is gratuitous cruelty at the expense of a political enemy. If Trump stands for anything it’s the idea that one shouldn’t apologize for one’s basest impulses, particularly the impulse to punish one’s opponents. On the contrary. He’s been indulging his impulses for 70 years and look where it’s gotten him.
Then again, at this point his own enemies are going to attack him no matter what he does or doesn’t do so maybe he figures, “Why not let it all hang out?” Here’s your exit quotation from last night’s CNN, which has apparently shifted from the business of reporting news to reporting when there isn’t news.
— Nikki Schwab (@NikkiSchwab) August 2, 2019
Update: Nikki Haley has been keeping her head down since leaving office as UN ambassador, not wanting to antagonize Trumpers ahead of a likely presidential run in 2024 by criticizing you-know-who. That changed today for some reason.