As predicted, President Trump, hours after a rather conciliatory speech at Fort Myer—where it was more about Charlottesville than Afghanistan—was back at his accusatory best, blaming the media for the violence in Virginia last week.
But before resuming his mendacious ways, lying between lines, Trump allowed his speech to be preceded by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson; Alveda King, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece; and the evangelist Franklin Graham, the eldest son of the Rev. Billy Graham.
Already, questions are being raised about Carson’s appearance at the rally, which might be in violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits him from acting in an official capacity at such an event. If the event was paid for by Trump’s campaign team, then Carson should not have been there and introduced as HUD Secretary.
King led the singing of “How Great Thou Art,” and the irony of this performance isn’t missed on a leader who views himself as the embodiment of this hymn.
Overarching an event that had the makings of a re-election campaign in 2020 was Trump’s pandering to the crowd, and that only spurred the mounting tension that flared up between Trump supporters and protesters after the rally at the Phoenix Convention Center, when the police unleashed tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowd.
Many of his supporters at the rally were hoping that Trump would announce his pardon of Sheriff Joseph Arpaio, who is awaiting sentencing for violating a court order to stop arresting people on the grounds of suspicion they were illegal immigrants. But the president stopped short of this action, merely stating that he was a “good man.”
To parse Trump’s speech is to encounter, again, a litany of lies that has been his forte from day one. One of the most outrageous comments was once again related to the media and Charlottesville, when he said the media had “a hard time” with his statement two days before the rally in Charlottesville. He claimed to have strongly denounced the Klan and Nazis, which was as far-fetched as his notion that reporters are bolstering hate groups.
The real Trump is back, and we can expect more of his misinformation, rambling and rants in the days ahead.