Why tell the truth when a lie can serve as well? For example, Donald Trump claimed that attendance at his Monday night El Paso rally swelled to 10,000 attendees, thanks, in part, to a special relaxation of the rules, compliments of the fire marshal. “The arena holds 8,000,” Trump said, “and thank you fire department, they got in about ten [thousand].”
The truth is the El Paso venue could lawfully accommodate 6,500 persons, and that’s the number they allowed in, no more. It is the avowed policy of all fire departments across America to never, under any circumstances and for any reason, allow any event to exceed its human attendance capacity. The El Paso Fire Department even put out a statement confirming this today. The notion that they were willing to make a two thousand person exception for Donald Trump is yet more evidence of how staggeringly delusional this “president” can be, and how utterly indifferent he is to the laws and rules governing the safety of human life.
This indifference was underscored further when, at this same rally, BBC cameraman Ron Skeans was assaulted by one of Trump’s supporters. According to BBC Washington correspondent Gary O’Donoghue, the assault occurred because Trump had “repeatedly goaded” the crowd and verbally attacked the media beforehand. The suspect, who appeared to be wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, got on to the reporters’ platform, giving the BBC cameraman a “very hard shove.”
It’s important to remember that the cameraman was filming Trump. He wasn’t commentating, he wasn’t aiming his camera at possible protestors, he wasn’t wearing politically provocative gear. He was merely doing his job and recording his attacker’s presumed hero on film.
Donald Trump, of course, doesn’t care. If he did he would make it a point to issue a warning that physical attacks on news reporting personnel is not to be condoned, and will in fact be prosecuted. He doesn’t say this, and he never will, because Trump wants everyone who opposes him, or even appear to oppose him, to live in fear. That is why he will continue to issue what amounts to be a Republican fatwa against any and all persons he perceives as a threat. We have been lucky so far that no one has died as a direct result of this “president’s” irresponsibility, but it’s only a matter of time before our luck runs out.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.