“That’s a nice family you’ve got there. It’d be a shame if anything happened to it.” It’s the kind of backhanded threat we all recognize as being a threat. It’s the kind of line that we’re only accustomed to hearing coming out of the mouths of cartoonish mafia bosses in the movies. But this morning, in what represents a new low even for him, the President of the United States said nearly those words against a United States Congressman.
This past week, Congressman Elijah Cummings’ house was robbed in Baltimore. This coincided with Donald Trump’s week-long racist tweets about Cummings and Baltimore. Here’s what Trump tweeted this morning about the break-in: “Really bad news! The Baltimore house of Elijah Cummings was robbed. Too bad!”
No really, he said that. If these words were coming from someone else, we might conclude that the person actually meant it. Any reasonable decent human being would be disturbed that their political rival’s house was broken into in the middle of the night, no matter how much they disliked their rival. But we all know Trump well enough to know that’s not the case here, and that he was instead saying “Too bad!” with gleeful sarcasm. Trump is saying he thinks it’s great that Cummings was placed in danger.
In fact Michael Cohen tried to warn us during his televised congressional testimony that Donald Trump likes to speak in these kinds of easily decoded code words. Trump would signal to Cohen to commit whatever crimes necessary to make a scandal go away, by telling him that the scandal didn’t exist. Now we’re all seeing Trump use a variation of the “That’s a nice family you’ve got there” trope that we all know from the movies. Trump just went full mafia on Cummings. Now it’s time for America to go full impeachment on Trump.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report