Donald Trump unleashed a fascistic diatribe against socialism last night as his supporters howled threats aimed at four Democratic congresswomen during a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina.
Supporters chanted “send her back!” as Trump attacked Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who he said “smeared US service members involved in Blackhawk Down,” “minimized the September 11 attacks” and lent support to Al Qaeda.
Referring to Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley, Trump denounced “left-wing extremists who reject everything our nation stands for.” Trump attacked the representatives as “socialists” who “hate our country” and “want to demolish our constitution, weaken our military and eliminate the values that built this magnificent country.” The attack was a thinly veiled appeal to violence.
The president repeated his assertion that all who criticize the government “are welcome to leave. If they don’t love America, tell ‘em to leave it,” he said.
Trump attacked Ocasio-Cortez in blatantly racist terms. Referring to her only as “Cortez,” Trump laughed, “I don’t have time to go with three different names, it takes too much time” to roars of applause from the crowd. Aside from their first name, people of Hispanic descent traditionally use two surnames, the family name of both their father and mother.
Trump also attacked anti-Trump demonstrators, asserting that they are “sick, bad people.” Referring to “Antifa” protestors like those who clashed with neo-Nazi gangs in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, Trump said “these are bad people. They don’t get the bad press.”
Though Trump refused to criticize the fascist mob that killed 32-year-old anti-Trump protestor Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, he said anti-Nazi protesters are “very evil, hitting people over the head with sticks, bats even. They always show up in the masks. They go home to mom and dad. They always attack people who can’t defend themselves, but they’re not attacking this group,” Trump added, insinuating that the crowd would physically attack protesters.
As Trump denounced socialism and opponents of his administration, he praised the Democratic Party, explaining that only some Democrats are “anti-worker, anti-family, anti-job, and anti-America.”
In fact, the first words out of his mouth when he took the stage included praise for those Democrats who voted against impeachment. He explicitly said his denunciations excluded “all those Democrats who voted for us today.”
Trump was referring to the majority of House Democrats who voted against an impeachment resolution introduced by Texas Democrat Al Green. “They’re fine,” he said in reference to the 137 Democrats who voted to table the measure. “You know, if you lose to them, it’s ok, it’s different, it’s called normal political back and forth.”
The impeachment vote took place as the Democratic Party appealed to Trump even as the latter delivered his rant in North Carolina. Journalist Scott Wong tweeted that Pelosi said at an afternoon press conference, “She is not calling Trump a racist, she is calling Trump’s words racist.”
Democrats rushed to announce their willingness to work with Trump on addressing the debt ceiling, which expires in September. Politico wrote yesterday, “The toxic relationship between Trump and the opposition continues to hit new lows, but that's not stopping Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her party from working with him to avert fiscal calamity and maybe even land his signature trade deal later this fall.”
In the eyes of the Democratic Party, working with Trump to expand military spending and curb the deficit overrides the concerns stemming from his fascist appeals.
Politico made clear that Democrats’ wish to work with Trump out of fear that budget cuts would slash “defense programs by billions of dollars—a scenario that Democrats are loath to let happen.”
California Democrat Ro Khanna, a Bernie Sanders supporter, said, “We will respond forcefully but not let that obstruct governance.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal added, “Everybody knows we have to do a budget, we have to raise the debt ceiling. What makes it really difficult is not so much the tweets but the unpredictability and irrationality of the White House and his inability to keep it in.”
As Trump praised Democrats for their cooperation, the Pentagon announced the deployment of an additional 2,100 soldiers to the US-Mexico border yesterday. The deployment, which will include 1,100 active-duty soldiers and 1,000 members of the Texas National Guard, brings the total deployed at the border to 6,600.
A military official noted that the soldiers will guard the concentration camps, providing “operational, logistical and administrative support.”
In his North Carolina speech, Trump denounced “extremist” claims that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents are “Nazis” who are guarding “concentration camps.”Trump asserted that the detainees are so desperate and impoverished that they are happy to be detained: “They have water, they have air conditioning, they have things they’ve never seen.”
Trump praised ICE, saying they raid “nests” where immigrants live. He referred to gang members as “savage beasts,” adding, “I don’t think they’re human beings.”
The political crisis is accelerating the breakdown of whatever remains of “democratic” forms of rule within the halls of power.
Minutes after Democrats voted against impeachment, they voted to hold Trump’s Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of congress for refusing subpoenas demanding they appear to explain the decision to require a citizenship question on the 2020 census.
An unprecedented number of Trump administration officials have refused congressional subpoenas, effectively barring congress’s oversight power. If Barr and Ross refuse to cooperate with impending court proceedings, Congress would have the power to arrest the officials and to detain them on Capitol Hill.
In addition, Missouri Democrat Emanuel Cleaver stormed off the House speaker’s chair during congressional debate Tuesday night over whether Pelosi’s reference to Trump’s recent tweets as “racist” violated parliamentary procedure.
When fellow Democrats urged Cleaver to violate a quasi-formal tradition barring representatives from “insulting” the president, Cleaver threw down the gavel to the sound of audible gasps from the house floor. Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer then took up the gavel and ruled that Pelosi was, in fact, out of order. Hoyer later explained that his decision was based on a 200-year-old rule that derives from the 18th century British principle that attacking the executive is an act of “criminal sedition.”