It’s become a cliché to stare in mute horror at Donald Trump’s endless stream of Twitter vomit, wondering what chthonic god finds pleasure in watching us writhe as Trump brings out the very worst in his followers and new levels of willful ignorance from Republicans determined to see no evil, no matter how in their face that evil is.
It’s not as if the last few weeks haven’t been particularly lunatic, but Trump hit a home run in the shitbird derby Tuesday morning with his amplification of the truly bugfuck conspiracy theory that Martin Gugino of Buffalo, New York, a 75-year-old man now famous for being shoved to the ground by cops and left in serious condition, was—wait for it—an antifa supersoldier.
Trump’s life right now is an endless slough of despond, a polling wasteland where decent numbers are as rare as Jared displaying a human emotion. This was the kind of off-the-wall tweet that says more about his trouble than it does about anything else.
You can’t be too careful with those Soros-funded antifa supersoldiers using imaginary science-fiction-style technology to “black out the equipment” of the cops and conspiring to make Trump look bad with their physics-defying ability to fall “harder than they were pushed”—particularly when they’re disguised as elderly Catholic social justice advocates.
Trump sees himself as the center of the media universe, the sun to which all eyes turn. This week, it’s the American people in the spotlight, a massive national movement speaking out for justice in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd.
Trump has no power to stop the sweeping social movement that is finally calling into question the epidemic of black men being killed by police. “Black Lives Matter” is a more compelling message, and the protests—unforgivably, in his mind—are more compelling television than Trump can overcome with his usual look at meeeeeee shenanigans.
As excited as Trump was by the edge-case argument to “defund the police,” cooler heads in the Democratic Party—inducing James Clyburn of South Carolina and Joe Biden himself—put the brakes on. In a rare moment of campaign sanity, the grownups realized “defund” was political poison. They’ve shifted to reform in record time, and Trump is very unhappy to have his shiny new toy taken from his wee paws.
Trump keeps looking for a silver bullet against Biden—after all, he bet his presidency on a moronic smear campaign led by Rudy Giuliani and a claque of mobbed-up Ukrainian henchmen—and his eager embrace of “law and order” has devolved from “don’t defund the police” to “Is this old dude the cops roughed up part of an imaginary terrorist ring?” in record time.
The Gugino example he chose was so abundantly a case of police behaving with zero accountability, concern, or humanity in the face of peaceful protests—even irritating old crusaders like Gugino—that it gives Trump a chance to pull his favorite shit-test on his followers: Are you gonna believe me or your lying eyes and all that video shot from multiple angles?
For some reason, I think Trump liked this one more than the hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures and videos of cops swinging batons into protesters’ heads and torsos, rubber bullets and flashbangs hitting civilian protesters, black couples dragged from their cars and tased, and cops puncturing car tires out of spite. (What the fuck is that about?)
Of course, Trump and his fellow travelers traffic in lurid conspiracy twaddle like the ridiculous antifa tales they use to frighten Jared with after midnight, even though the storyline has the disadvantage of being almost entirely fictional. After all the arrests in D.C., somehow Bill Barr can’t find one of those pesky antifa “domestic terrorists” he keeps talking about.
Even Slow Donald knows the questions about dispatching an army of Bureau of Prisons toughs, Border Patrol agents, Secret Servicemen, and who knows who else to bust heads in an American city are going to get uncomfortable.
He’d much rather focus on what happened in Buffalo than on the outrage of Barr’s hodgepodge army attacking citizens in a public park to clear the way for the president’s limp-dick photo-op. Why not pile more layers on the bullshit pyramid? Why not add antifa to Soros, the Bilderbergers, and the gray aliens?
The slow dawning that even if overtly racist police violence didn’t exist at scale, the fact that it exists at all demands a powerful response from society, law enforcement, and government is anathema to Trump. It’s offends a small but meaningful segment of his base who are utterly devoted to the Thin Blue Line Cop Cult.
Like many Trump strategies, his idea of capitalizing on the death of George Floyd, militarizing our streets, and becoming the law-and-order candidate ended in a sort of political wet fart: totally unsatisfactory, messy, and embarrassing for all involved.