On A Day That Called For National Unity, Trump Reverted To Attacks And Division

On a day that called for national unity and empathy, President Trump couldn't help but revert to form.

Yesterday, President Trump traveled to Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas to Owith victims, first responders, and government officials involved in the shooting events that took place in those two cities just over twelve hours apart. Instead of being a uniting force in a nation still shocked by the back-to-back mass shooting events, one of which was clearly motivated by hatred and white supremacy, though, the President returned to his traditional themes of division and attack:

EL PASO — President Trump visited Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso on Wednesday on a day intended as a show of compassion to cities scarred by a weekend of violence, but which quickly devolved into an occasion for anger-fueled broadsides against Democrats and the news media.

Mr. Trump’s schedule was meant to follow the traditional model of apolitical presidential visits with victims, law enforcement officials and hospital workers after calamities like the mass shootings that resulted in 31 deaths in Dayton and El Paso and that created a new sense of national crisis over assault weapons and the rise of white supremacist ideology.

That plan went awry even before Mr. Trump, who has acknowledged his discomfort with showing empathy in public, departed Washington. On Tuesday night, he tweeted that Beto O’Rourke, the former Democratic congressman from El Paso, should “be quiet.” As he prepared to leave the White House on Wednesday morning, he went after former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who said in a speech that day that Mr. Trump had “fanned the flames of white supremacy.”

Both Mr. O’Rourke and Mr. Biden are running for president and have been particularly harsh in their criticism of Mr. Trump after the two shootings, and Mr. Trump rose to the bait.

The result was the latest example of Mr. Trump’s penchant for inflaming divisions at moments when other presidents have tried to soothe them, and further proof of his staff’s inability to persuade him to follow the norms of presidential behavior.

Mr. Trump himself finished the day claiming success. “We had an amazing day,” he told reporters in El Paso. Of his earlier stop in Dayton, he said, “The love, the respect for the office of the presidency — I wish you could have been in there to see it.”

Yet shortly after, in response to questions about his Democratic critics, he again assailed them. “They shouldn’t be politicking today,” Mr. Trump said, referring to Mr. Biden and Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, who accompanied Mr. Trump to a hospital in Dayton. And en route home to Washington, he tweeted still more attacks on Democrats, calling their charges that he is a racist “truly disgusting.”

He was particularly upset by excerpts from a news conference in Ohio featuring Mr. Brown and Nan Whaley, the Democratic mayor of Dayton, that he had seen while flying from Dayton to El Paso. Both officials took a mostly respectful tone toward the president and said he had been received graciously. But Mr. Brown also said that some people at the hospital had privately said they do not support Mr. Trump, and he charged that the president had used racist and divisive language.

Mr. Trump reacted with fury. As his plane soared toward a restive El Paso, he shouted at aides that no one was defending him, according to a person briefed on what took place.


Mr. Trump was greeted in both Dayton and El Paso by protests of unusual size for a presidential visit at a time of collective grief.
In Republican-leaning Dayton, small groups of demonstrators waved signs that read “Dump Trump” and “Do Something!” His supporters, who insist that his language is not to blame for the actions of deranged individuals, and that calls for him to embrace gun control do not address the root causes of gun violence, turned out in smaller numbers.
The reception was especially bitter in El Paso, a border city that Mr. Trump has repeatedly criticized and where many people blame his anti-immigrant messaging and talk of a cross-border “invasion” for inspiring the gunman who killed 22 people at a Walmart here.

Protesters staged a daylong demonstration in a park near the University Medical Center of El Paso, and when Mr. Trump arrived at a nearby police emergency operations center, a group greeted him with a large white bedsheet that had the words “Racist, go home” written on it. At a memorial site in a parking lot near the Walmart, where mourners had erected small white crosses and left hundreds of flowers, balloons and candles, the appearance of a woman in a red “Make America Great Again” hat provoked shouting and profanity, prompting state troopers to intervene and urge calm.

Even as the president denied that he had “fanned the flames of white supremacy,” as Mr. Biden had asserted, Mr. Trump repeated his past claim of equivalence between extremists on the left and right.

“I am concerned about the rise of any group of hate,” the president told reporters before leaving the White House. “Any group of hate, I am — whether it’s white supremacy, whether it’s any other kind of supremacy, whether it’s antifa, whether it’s any group of hate, I am very concerned about it.”

That response had echoes of Mr. Trump’s characterization of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017 that left a counterprotester dead. After initially condemning white supremacy, the president later said that violence had been committed “on many sides.”

In recent days, Mr. Trump’s aides have also sought to draw attention t other acts of violence committed by people who have expressed leftist political views. They include the 2017 shooting of a Republican representative, Steve Scalise, at a softball practice by a man with a history of anti-Republican diatribes. But many current and former law enforcement officials are increasingly concerned that white nationalist violence is growing into a major domestic terrorist threat.

In his comments to reporters on Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump repeated his previous attacks on undocumented immigrants and called Mr. Biden, his leading Democratic presidential rival, “a pretty incompetent guy” who has “truly lost his fastball.”

The fact that the President has so much trouble showing empathy isn’t really a surprise, of course. As I’ve said with respect to his other character attributes, Trump’s rather obvious lack of public empathy is something that has been part of his public persona that has existed long before he made the transition from “celebrity” to politician beginning in the early 2000s when he first flirted with the idea of running for President as the nominee of the Reform Party. In a sense, Trump’s lack of empathy is just an outgrowth of some of his other personality attributes, but as President in a country that has become used to having Presidents who are able to unite the nation in a time of tragedy, it is particularly apparent.

Other Presidents have set the example for this over the course of the past forty years or so. example. President Reagan demonstrated it at various points in his Presidency, such as in the wake of the terror attack in Lebanon that killed more than 200 marines, the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland, and, of course, the Challenger Disaster. President Clinton demonstrated it in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing. President George W. Bush, of course, demonstrated it in the wake of the September 11th attacks. And, President Obama demonstrated it in the wake of the mass shooting attacks that plagued the nation while he was President, most notably after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the shooting at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina which included the moment when he led the crowd gathered to remember the victims of that tragedy in a rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ that several people have replayed in recent days as a means of comparing that response to the manner in which Trump has acted in the wake of similar tragedies during his Presidency.

Yesterday’s divisive outbursts by the President were also a demonstration of another aspect of the President’s (lack of) character, namely the extent to which he is completely self-centered even when he’s supposed to be acknowledging the suffering of others. The reason he attacked Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and Dayton Mayor Nan Walker while flying from Dayton to El Pase, for example, appears to be because he didn’t feel as if they didn’t give him sufficient credit for being there and meeting with people. Similarly, his attacks on people like Beto O’Rourke and others in advance of his arrival in Texas was motivated by the fact that it was clear that many people in the city didn’t want him there. (In fact, it is being reported that none of the people still hospitalized from that attack agreed to have the President come to visit them.) This is a man who sits in front of the television for hours every day and steams whenever he sees negative coverage and then inevitably goes after his critics with rage tweets or comments to the media. In other words, it’s all about him and the supposed unity of the nation in a time of tragedy is, in his mind, a secondary concern.

This isn’t the Presidency we deserve, but at least until January 20th, 2021, it’s the Presidency we have.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Politicians, Presidency, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. CSK says:

    I’m actually amazed that he didn’t cancel this trip, given that he had to have at least suspected there would be protests. This a man who’s too chicken to throw the first pitch at the baseball season opener for fear he’ll be booed.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    Corrupt, stupid, pathological liar, racist and misogynist Donald Trump was unable to rise above? Again? Shock. Amazement.

  3. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


    This a man who’s too chicken to throw the first pitch at the baseball season opener for fear he’ll be booed.

    I’ve always assumed it was because he knows he can’t reach the plate with the pitch. 60′ 6″ is soooooo far away when you a morbidly obese old man with tiny hands.

  4. grumpy realist says:

    What can one say? Narcs gonna narc.

  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Nothing yesterday was surprising…not the claims of being a “rock-star”…not the cheesy propaganda video…nothing.
    But what really got to me was Sharrod Brown and the Mayor saying how well Trump was actually received…and then Trump and his minions attacking them both for mis-representing how well he was received.
    The man is mentally ill.
    I just hope we don’t have another catastrophe like 9/11…this President is wholly incapable of handling it.

  6. mattbernius says:

    This isn’t the Presidency we deserve, but at least until January 20th, 2021, it’s the Presidency we have.

    This feels dangerously close to the liberal version of “Hopes and prayers” — “We’re better than this.”

    The reality is this is the president we deserve. Regardless of whether or not 2016 was a perfect political storm or not that led to an anomaly of an election, what’s clear is that the guardrails (and norms) didn’t hold. And there’s so far been little real interest in strengthening those guardrails for the future.

    So long as we’re not willing to take necessary structural actions, then, while it sucks we entirely will deserve it if Trump is reelected in 2020 (we’ll especially deserve it if his percentage of the popular vote drops and yet still eeks out an electoral college victory — there are models where he looses MI and PA and still wins the electoral college by a single vote: https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/451970-trumps-2020-electoral-college-math-searching-for-10-votes).

  7. Scott F. says:

    As the NYT article notes, “Trump rose to the bait” when criticized by O’Rourke and Biden.

    All Democratic candidates take note: Trump will ALWAYS take the bait. And he rarely, if ever, handles it well. Keep goading him and he’ll keep spewing invective. I suspect we haven’t seen the bottom of the ugliness he’s capable of when he is criticized. He’s going to go too far. Not too far for himself, and not too far for his base, but for the persuadables there’s going to be a line. It shouldn’t be that hard to get Trump to cross it.

  8. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: seriously? I saw a korean gymnast woman throw a ceremonial pitch one time with no bounces. I saw a dude in a wheelchair throw a no-bounce pitch. If you’re a grown-ass man with no serious shoulder injuries a 60′ pitch should not be too daunting.

  9. CSK says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Trust me on this: It’s because he’s afraid people in the stands will boo him. That’s why he limits his public appearances to venues his people can control, such as rallies.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    This isn’t the Presidency we deserve, but at least until January 20th, 2021, it’s the Presidency we have.

    I’m never sure how much of the Trump 46% to attribute to ignorance and stupidity on the one hand, and evil on the other. People are very, very slow sometimes. Even now you come across
    moderates who are just seeming to come to grips with the fact that they’re dealing with a failed human. You don’t fly into a failed nation-state looking for state-of-the-art facilities, and you don’t deal with the failed human that is Trump expecting anything but lies and filth.

    I haven’t found anything Trump did remotely surprising, I’ve always known what he was, he’s not subtle, he’s not complex, he’s a stick figure, a sketch of a man. Think Trump = think shark. All instinct and hunger, no real brain at all. If there’s blood in the water a shark will eat its own, incapable of anything but servicing its own needs. It’s not even cunning, it’s a simple eating machine.

    I don’t know if it’s lack of imagination that keeps people from seeing the obvious, or lack of experience of humanity, or maybe a total absence of historical perspective. Or maybe just the mental rigidity of old age.

    But a great deal of it is evil, and a deliberate refusal to see evil which is, in itself, evil. Trump is an evil man by any rational, objective standard. He’s a racist, a hater, a man who assaults women and openly lusts after his own daughter, a cheat, a man who ran a fraudulent charity, a liar, a man devoid of even a scintilla of empathy. Some people are too stupid to see that, but a great many revel in it.

    If you can’t see what this man is by now you’re either a cretin or a creep. There’s no middle ground, no room for Good Germans to pretend not to know.

    A question Trumpaloons should ask themselves: If Trump knew he’d get away with it, would he have sex with his own daughter? If you don’t think he would, explain just what it is in his character or history that would stop him. Spoiler alert: you won’t find anything.

  11. Neil Hudelson says:


    I was playing around with 270towin this morning, just going with my gut on how states would land. The result was interesting and terrifying.

    Of the swingy states, here’s my gut forecast. I’m sure this will be as accurate as any prediction 15 months from the election:

    Wisconsin: Trump
    Iowa: Trump
    Arizona: Trump
    NC: Trump
    FL: Trump
    Nebraska–all Trump
    Texas: Trump
    Minnesota: Dem
    Michigan: Dem
    Pennsylvania: Dem
    New Hampshire: Dem
    Maine: All Dem
    Colorado: Dem
    New Mexico: Dem
    Nevada: Dem

    The result: 269 electoral votes to 269 electoral votes.


    Edit: I’ll post this in the open forum, so as not to veer the comments to a non-germane subject.

  12. Scott F. says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Some people are too stupid to see that, but a great many revel in it.

    You’ve left out an important subset of Trump support – the most despicable subset in my humble opinion: those people smart enough to see that Trump is an evil man, yet who have married themselves to his evil for their own ends. I hope there is a special place in hell for those people.

  13. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


    If you’re a grown-ass man with no serious shoulder injuries a 60′ pitch should not be too daunting.

    Do bone spurs come into play?
    Seriously…I would probably bet a weeks pay the fat fuq can’t reach the plate.
    Taft threw a one-hopper. I’m not sure but I think both Bushes put one in the dirt, too.

  14. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    The reality is this is the president we deserve.


  15. Kathy says:

    When you’re mourning senseless deaths and injuries, what you want to hear is what a great day this clown had, and how well he was received. That’s what’s really important. Never mind how to prevent other instances of mass murder and domestic terrorism from happening again.

    Sure, dozens were killed and many injured, but Donald Fucking Trump had a great day. Rejoice!

  16. Alex Hamilton says:

    @mattbernius Agree with everything you wrote. What structural changes are you thinking? Electoral college, reverse Citizens United, etc?

  17. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I don’t know if it’s lack of imagination that keeps people from seeing the obvious, or lack of experience of humanity, or maybe a total absence of historical perspective. Or maybe just the mental rigidity of old age.

    Much of it is simply that to this day the supposedly liberal MSM refrain from reporting Trump’s obvious debilities. I don’t know if it’s their corporate owners, fear of criticism for alleged bias, that the publishers and editors are economic elites, that they’re so far down the bothsides rabbit hole, or what. But something is badly wrong when our most influential national paper normalizes Trump once again by credulously headlining, “Trump Urges Unity vs. Racism”.

  18. gVOR08 says:

    And speaking of Trump’s debilities, Slate speculates that part of it may just be he’s partially blind and too vain to wear glasses. (With an assumption he can’t or won’t wear contacts.) They point out this might explain “Toledo”. The teleprompter said “Texas and Ohio” and he saw “TblurO”. Poor vision would, however, not explain the racism and corruption.

  19. Kylopod says:

    It isn’t just his inability to feel empathy. It’s his inability to fake it that makes him stand out. His career was formed in a context where that literally wasn’t necessary at all, where being a crass, materialistic asshole was part of his whole image. He was supposed to be the guy who has it all–wealth, fame, women–and who rubs it in everyone’s faces. The idea was that it may have repelled some people, but that was only because they were envious, and in any case they couldn’t look away. Even pretending to be a fine, upstanding citizen was not only irrelevant to him, it was counterproductive.

    I can’t emphasize the point more: what makes Trump unique isn’t his narcissism, it’s his inability to hide it.

  20. Kylopod says:

    @Neil Hudelson: I came up with what I think was the same map a while back. Basically, you take the 2016 map and give the Dems MI, PA, and ME-2.

    The problem with the map is that last part–ME-2. It went for Trump by more than 10 points in 2016 (a greater margin than Iowa, but similar). If Dems win it back, they’re probably winning elsewhere. NE-2 (the district Obama won in 2008) has a greater chance of flipping to the Dems, but given where it’s situated, I’d also bet that a win there implies they’re winning elsewhere.

    Before the 2016 election, I was fiddling around with 270towin and I hit upon a map that also led to a tie. Basically, I took the 2012 map and then gave Trump the five following states: FL, OH, IA, NH, and NV. In the real world, of course, Trump won the first three but narrowly lost the last two, and also narrowly won WI, MI, and PA. But my scenario wasn’t that far off. Of course I wouldn’t bet on that map now, as NV seems to be trending blue by now.

  21. michael reynolds says:


    I can’t emphasize the point more: what makes Trump unique isn’t his narcissism, it’s his inability to hide it.

    Yep, and I think your explanation makes sense. He’s a pig reveling in and profiting from being a pig. I don’t think that’s strategic, I think he was a type that fit a particular media niche. No doubt that’s why some people imagined he’d grow into the job, they assumed it was an act. Not an act, that’s who he is.

  22. Kathy says:


    When the cast of a play takes a bow after the play is over, people tend to applaud the characters they liked harder when they come on stage. It’s not uncommon for the villain to receive loud applause, as loud or louder than the protagonist gets.

    there are reasons for this, but no one in their right mind would pick the villain for high office.

  23. Barry says:

    @Teve: “If you’re a grown-ass man with no serious shoulder injuries a 60′ pitch should not be too daunting.”

    This is a guy who cheats at golf and is seriously obese (I speak from experience here). I doubt that he’s had any exercise in decades.

    He could probably hurl the ball in a random direction, but placing it within the catcher’s reach would require an hour of practice, which is beyond him.

  24. michael reynolds says:

    @Kylopod: @Neil Hudelson:
    I think we take NC. They gave Trump just under 50% in 2016 and they’ve tried to shed their past racist associations (cough, Jesse Helms, cough). Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, the rest of Research Triangle, Greensboro and Charlotte are blue. North Carolinians prefer genteel racism over the overt racism of their neighbors to the south. NC may be the next Virginia.

    We may also get a nice surprise in AZ. And I don’t think WI and FL are at all impossible.

    I’d like to see a map correlating universities to votes. I suspect if you drew a circle with a radius of say 5 miles around every major university, you’d see red outside the circle and blue inside with a 90%+ correlation. Sort of like dropping some penicillin onto a petri dish of syphilis.

  25. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: The thing is, villains are usually cool: Darth Vader, the Joker, Lex Luthor, Freddy Krueger, Hannibal Lecter, Hans Gruber. We love to hate ’em. And when it’s merely fiction, we get the cathartic privilege of enjoying watching them.

    Trump is more reminiscent of the kind of pathetic, laughable villains you see in children’s cartoon’s and the like, such as Snidely Whiplash or Gargamel; I’ve already compared him with Gilderoy Lockhart from the Harry Potter series.

  26. Teve says:

    @Barry: Is snorted Adderall a performance enhancing drug? 😛

  27. Teve says:

    This is a guy who cheats at golf and is seriously obese (I speak from experience here).

    Based on how I look in a mirror now, at 6′ 195 lbs, and how I looked at my heaviest, ~240 lbs, I’m guessing Trump is about 285. Do you think it’s higher or lower?

  28. Kylopod says:

    @michael reynolds: I try to work out both best-case and worst-case scenarios. The important thing is to understand the relationships between the states: for instance, the Dems are not taking Texas while losing Arizona, and most likely they’re not taking Iowa while losing Wisconsin. Any of those states could plausibly be won or lost, but some permutations are likelier than others. That’s what I was trying to do here: I’m not saying the map that Neil and I came up with is necessarily going to happen, just that it’s relatively plausible, if Dems improve on the 2016 results but only marginally. And this isn’t just mental masturbation (though that’s part of it), it points to the fact that Wisconsin still looks likely to be the most important state in 2020. Dems may be able to win elsewhere to make up for a loss there (AZ and NC have roughly the same number of EVs), but it’s probably not a good sign if they can’t get it locked down.

  29. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


    Do you think it’s higher or lower?

    Higher…remember, he’s 6’3″. I’m betting 300+…easy.

  30. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: he’s really 6’1″, best anybody can tell. link

    ETA: I know you’ll be shocked to hear that the president might have lied about something. 🙂

  31. Barry says:

    @Teve: Something like that. His doctor’s statement about his weight would have put him equal to me, and I’m 5’9″ (and fat). He looks at least as fat as me. Given a few more inches of height, he’s got to be pushing 300.

  32. michael reynolds says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    At my fattest, in the aftermath of our preemie first born with no sleep for about six months and a diet consisting entirely of cookies, I was 270.* I’m 6’2″. Trump looks fatter than I did. I’ve never come close to that giant ass he’s carrying around.**

    *216 at present.
    ** No, not Jared.

  33. CSK says:

    Trump is considering commuting the prison sentence of his buddy Rod Blagojevich.

  34. michael reynolds says:

    I do think 269 is a reasonable worst case scenario.

    If I lean pretty hard into optimism my number is 333. (NC, WI, FL and AZ.) .

  35. Pete S says:

    @CSK: @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I think you can both be right about this. Of course he is afraid of being booed in public. But he could probably sign an executive order for some dubious national security reason to force the Orioles or Nationals to play a home game in front of an empty stadium, as Baltimore actually did a few years ago after the protests which followed Freddie Gray’s death. Then he could bring in a couple of hundred people to cheer him.

    I really don’t think he could put the ball anywhere near the catcher at his age and shape. I am 20 years younger than him, in similar shape, and if I tried to throw a baseball 60 feet without practice and some warm up my arm would fall off. This undermines one of his earliest success stories at beating the system and bending the laws in his favour, where he played competitive baseball while having the bone spur deferment from serving in Vietnam. I also don’t think his ego could handle the comparisons to the younger Bush, who he seems to hate. Bush came out and threw a strike at the first game after 9/11.

    In all seriousness Trump’s reaction yesterday seemed even weirder than normal. Brown made some pretty positive and appreciative comments about Trump’s visit and Trump still ripped him. It was almost like he didn’t read or understand what had been said about him and he just reacted to insults he thought he was going to face.

  36. charon says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    McSally (R) was a perfectly reasonable candidate who lost to the (D) in 2018 off-year election. AZ was already pretty close in 2016, I think AZ looks pretty bluish going into 2020.

  37. mattbernius says:

    @Alex Hamilton:
    Definitely the Electoral College is something that needs to be addressed. I think a lot needs to be done on the Congressional and State levels too — including addressing the topic of Gerrymandering by both parties and changing the cap on House membership. We also need to work on topics like felony disenfranchisement.

    There also needs to be work undertaken to undo the rise of the Imperial Presidency and rework necessary checks and balances (so we don’t rely on norms as much).

    That’s before we get to really thorny social issues…

    But the broader point is that Trump isn’t the problem, rather his ascension is symptomatic of the broader structural problems — which include the failure of guardrails to check his (or any other President’s) excesses.

  38. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Are we counting the weight of the hair spray? Or no?

  39. Andrew says:

    This was to be expected. The man-child sees nothing wrong with white nationalism.
    If anyone thought his comments in his speech a few days ago were words he himself wanted to say…that is on you.

    The man sows devision. And unless you give Trump something he wants, he has zero reason to empathize. As if he was capable of empathy. Which he is not.
    Money, Votes, Power, Porn Stars, Illegal Immigrant models. These are a few of his favorite things.

  40. Jim Brown 32 says:

    I don’t believe there are any parallels that can be drawn from 2016. That race was the the most unpopular candidate ever versus the 2nd most unpopular candidate. Someone had to lose. That dynamic doesn’t exist anymore. The democratic candidate will not be the 2nd most unpopular candidate ever and I’d say Trump is pretty popular amongst Republicans.

    The wild card are under the radar first-time and first-time long time voter who are going to come out to vote for or against Trump. I predict high turnout of black votes to vote against Trump. But is that going to be enough to overcome white male identity voters who are personally invested in seeing their white hope not humiliated with being a one termer?

  41. Kathy says:

    We may draw some consolation in that Dennison succeeded in irritating himself.

    Consider this quote from the link:

    But according to one person familiar with the President’s reaction, the President lashed out at his staff for keeping the cameras away from him, complaining that he wasn’t receiving enough credit. Aides had feared a moment like the one that is now going viral — where the President appears to focus on himself in front of those still recovering from a tragedy.

    Am I the only one surprised El Cheeto has actually competent people still working for him?

    I feel a smidgen of pity for them. As the old saw has it, “you can’t polish s**t.”

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Am I the only one surprised El Cheeto has actually competent people still working for him?

    What ever gives you the idea they are competent? I mean, they work for him. Surely if they were competent they could find a job where they might actually accomplish something useful. You know, like being Steve King’s press secretary, or defending Proud Boy members against assault charges, or dumping carcinogens in the drinking water of a majority black city, or shooting a black man because you thought you smelled pot in his car, or put children in cages….

    I feel a smidgen of pity for them. As the old saw has it, “you can’t polish s**t.”

    I don’t, they chose this shit. If they don’t like it they can quit and go out and get a real job.

    And for the record? One can polish shit, so long as it’s a coprolite. 😉

  43. Kathy says:


    What ever gives you the idea they are competent?

    I get it, but at least they know to keep him out of sight when he’s about to make an ass out of himself (more of an ass, that is).

    Granted, in these days of portable video gear kept in one’s purse at all times, that’s harder to do. And granted the Clown of Orange will find a way to get his full jackassery in view, or someone will leak it.

    In other words, if Sisyphus lived today, the gods would make him do PR for Dennison.

  44. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I do think 269 is a reasonable worst case scenario.
    If I lean pretty hard into optimism my number is 333. (NC, WI, FL and AZ.) .

    Funny… I thought you were talking about Trump’s weight, until you mentioned states. : ))

  45. Kylopod says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Now that made me laugh.

    Now there’s an idea: convince him that his EV total will be based on his weight. Look like Fat Bastard by Election Day, we’re talkin’ Reagan-level landslide. How hard can that be? He won’t need to campaign at all (or want to, most likely).