Donald Trump’s deadly endgame

On Monday at the U.N., Donald Trump used a bilateral meeting with the President of Poland to publicly air his grievances in front of the cameras. In the course of this media availability, he attacked both the Bidens and the press in an unprecedented fashion: “Joe Biden and his son are corrupt, all right? But the fake news doesn’t wanna report it because they’re Democrats. If that ever happened … if a Republican ever did what Joe Biden did … if a Republican ever said what Joe Biden said, they’d be getting the electric chair by right now. Look at the double standard – you people ought to be ashamed of yourselves.”

At some point during his rant, Donald Trump told a reporter to “be quiet,” so that he could tell his own version of the Ukraine story which makes the scandal over withheld security funds completely about Joe and Hunter Biden. And for good measure, he also cast aspersions on Hunter Biden’s activities in China, probably in an attempt to pave the way for another made-up scandal, in case the Ukraine scandal will be laid to rest in the future.

Through all of this, Trump remained completely opaque on what exactly it was that Joe Biden had allegedly said that was so bad that an unbiased audience would call for his execution. But he doesn’t need to be clear and provide facts when he is speaking to his base, because his followers have moved well beyond the point where facts matter. Those who live in the bubble of Trumpism don’t question what their chosen leader is saying – they simply swallow whatever he decides to feed them and take their marching orders from him. And in the time-honored style of mafia bosses, Trump never explicitly gives those marching orders – nevertheless, they are quite clear and easy to understand.

Since Trump took office and started his war on the free press right out of the gate, there have been numerous reports of threats and attacks – verbal or physical – on representatives of the media. Now, the FBI has arrested an Army soldier who apparently understood what was expected of him by the current leadership. Pfc. Jarrett William Smith allegedly told an undercover agent that he wanted to build a “large vehicle bomb” to attack a major news outlet. According to the charging documents, he also talked about the possibility of killing members of the group Antifa and targeting Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke.

Just like Donald Trump reportedly never explicitly told President Zelensky in the “beautiful” phone conversation at the center of the whistleblower scandal that the $250 million in security aid would be blocked unless the Ukrainian government assisted him in digging up dirt on his political opponent, he never explicitly told his supporters to use violence against representatives of the media. But if the Commander-in-Chief repeatedly denounces a certain group as the enemy of the people – what is a good soldier to do?

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