He Is Crazy
tags: conspiracy theories,Donald Trump,Protest
Steve Hochstadt is a writer and an emeritus professor of history at Illinois College.
He is crazy and he thinks we are, too.
I had been working on something serious for the past few days, but I just saw this story today.
Trump tweeted the following this morning: “Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”
The President of the United States, two weeks after the killing of George Floyd provoked daily protest demonstrations across the country, as he has seen his popularity ratings tumble while he dismissed protesters as thugs, offers that comment on the question of police behavior toward dissenters.
It needs a bit of explanation. He saw a story on the One America News Network, @OANN, a far-right, purely pro-Trump network. Wikipedia says it is “prominent for promoting falsehoods and conspiracy theories,” and offers a host of examples. OANN describes itself as one of the “greatest supporters” of Trump, which means he will pay attention to whatever they say. OANN has been granted a permanent seat in the White House press room, and their White House correspondent was one of most called-upon reporters by press secretary Sean Spicer.
OANN reported that “shoved Buffalo protester an antifa provocateur.” The report also raised the possibility that he had some kind of scanner, when the video shows he is holding his cell phone. Trump then repeated this slur in his tweet, adding more certainty about the “scanning.” The narrator of the OANN segment, Kristian Rouz, used to work for Sputnik, a Kremlin-controlled news outlet.
Meanwhile, Martin Gugino is in the hospital recovering from his head wound, which has been evaluated in the hospital as serious. His history as a peaceful activist is well-known in Buffalo.
Trump is crazy. He has just suffered through nearly universal condemnation for repeatedly suggesting that Joe Scarborough might have murdered his staffer. Even Fox's Brit Hume called that “crap.” Today, FOX News reported that conservative newscasters have criticized Trump for today’s tweet.
It’s crazy to believe a story concocted by a Russian disinformation specialist that is contradicted by all the evidence that has been reported so far. It’s crazy to commit yourself publically to a ridiculous story that will inevitably anger most Americans, even those who disapprove of the protests. It’s crazy to keep taking the most incendiary possible actions in the face of near universal condemnation as part of your reelection strategy.
And it’s crazy to think that Americans are so gullible, so willing to believe all of his lies, that this tweet was a good idea.
Trump’s judgment is severely impaired. Many have argued that it never was very good, and that the immense wealth his father gave him allowed him to skate out of bad situations he had created for himself. Many would argue that Trump has made monumentally bad political decisions over the past three years about nearly every major issue that we care about.
But whatever your belief about the beginning of Trump’s derangement, there is no doubt that he is now stupidly flailing in every direction, demonstrating the most extreme forms of his deeply flawed personality. After reading about the incident with Martin Gugino, who would imagine that the President would make it his business to promote the tale of an ANTIFA set-up, complete with imaginary technology?
Trump has only a limited range of political weapons. He will be President for the next 7 months. Things will get worse for him, as he burrows ever deeper into his perverted Id. That means things will get worse for us, too.
June 9, 2020
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