Donald Trump likes to refer to himself as everyone’s favorite president even though he doesn’t do a whole lot to win the favor of voters he needs, nor does he ever act much like a president at all. All he had to do on Memorial Day weekend was show up at a cemetery and give a short, coherent speech and his approval rating might not have gone up a whole lot, but the media might have given him some points for simply behaving the way a president should. Of course, as predicted, his one opportunity to not screw up the tribute, he did – showing up late and not practicing any basic measures of social distancing at the ceremony. Then he spent the rest of the day ridiculing Democrats and the news media on Twitter.
Yes, these attacks are getting more venomous and demented than they’ve been in the past, but on Monday he took things a step further than usual, by threatening to move the location of the Republican National Convention, slated to take place in August in Charlotte, North Carolina. The reason? He doesn’t know if the venue will seat at full capacity. Despite the rising death toll, Trump is now in full denial mode – preparing to have a regular, heavily attended convention, even if it means putting his own supporters at risk.
Pundits have seen this as a way that he might be trying to chisel away the support of North Carolina’s Democratic governor Roy Cooper who’s up for re-election this year. It would put Cooper in the no-win position of having to decide the convention can be open to full capacity, which would make him unpopular with his own base of voters, or allowing the GOP to find another venue and losing revenue for the state, possibly energizing Republicans to come out and vote against Democrats in November.
There’s one big problem with this bluff – that Trump failed to come up with an alternate venue, and Mike Pence is said to be putting together a list. It’s a pretty poor threat – and probably implies that Trump is secretly hoping they can just hold it at one of his hotels. The other problem is that Charlotte is the only city to actually put in a bid for the convention in the first place. It could be more of a liability for any state governor that offers to host the Republican convention instead. This Memorial Day weekend has provided us a full display of Trump’s greed, vindictiveness, and stupidity in one complete package.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making