It’s getting to be that time of year again, when some of the faithless turn hopeful, when some of those desperate to be rid of Trump are begging for affirmation, when some cling to their beliefs that someday American could be normal again.
And so we hear from the supplicants:
Won’t the devastating, empathy-free consoler-in-chief tour — a debacle, as anonymous White House aides are putting it — finally lead to the inflection point so many have been hoping for? Hasn’t Trump’s racist, hateful rhetoric finally caught up with him? Wasn’t the video of Trump’s El Paso hospital visit, in which he entertained staffers and first responders with tales of the size of an earlier El Paso rally and how “Crazy Beto’s” counter-rally crowds were much smaller, a watershed?
Didn’t the refusal of the El Paso hospital shooting victims to allow Trump to visit them show, at long last, that even Trump can’t insult an entire ethnic group with complete impunity? Weren’t Trump’s post-visit comments that the reception he received at the hospitals was “amazing” so self-involved that even Narcissus tweeted he was closing shop?
The easy, and probably correct, answer for all these questions is, are you kidding me? If history teaches us anything, it’s that there are no turning points with Trump. It’s possible he’ll take a brief hit in the polls, but, even if it does happen, it won’t last for very long. As many as 40-some percent of Americans are true believers, and there seems to be no way to change that.
Trumpism is a disease, and a bad week, when there have been so many bad weeks, is hardly the cure. Trump said he just got another “beautiful” letter from the murderous Kim Jong-un, who has been busily tossing missiles into the sky and mud onto Trump’s face. And yet Trump brags about it, and Republicans say not a word.
Cory Gardner, who pushes hard for tougher sanctions on North Korea, must cringe when he hears Trump say that. You can view 9News’s Kyle Clark interviewing a reluctant Gardner — who usually won’t sit for interviews with anyone who won’t toss softballs to him — and watch Gardner dispute Trump on his invasion language, on his speech saying four congresswomen of color should go back where they came from (like, say, Queens), on a few more Trump outrages. None of this seems to change Gardner’s early endorsement of Trump for re-election because, I guess, so-called “socialism” is worse than clear-cut racism. Meanwhile, Gardner, in pure Gardnerese, says he’s studying the red-flag bills. Is it fair to say that Gardner is a slow student?
But Gardner’s re-election campaign will make all this tougher. Giffords, the gun-control group founded by former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, announced a nearly $750,000 ad campaign Friday in Kentucky and Colorado. The ads target Mitch McConnell and Gardner for not supporting a House-passed background check bill.
And yet, we have seen some slight movement on guns from Trump in the wake of El Paso and Dayton. Of course we’ve seen such movement before, only to see it freeze in its tracks after the NRA objects.
Trump is now talking about some modest federal gun legislation. He claims he favors improving the background check system and that the NRA will come around. Scandal-ridden Wayne LaPierre disputes that point. Trump says Republicans in Congress would back a bill. Republicans in Congress don’t seem thrilled. Trump appears to be favoring a federal red-flag law. If he chooses, and if he doesn’t back down from threats by the NRA, he can almost certainly force enough Republicans in Congress to vote for whatever he puts forward. And Trumpists across the land will praise his boldness — the very same people who would have called Obama or any Democrat a gun-grabber for backing the same laws.
Democrats, meanwhile, will insist on at least a vote on banning assault-style weapons and lowering magazine limits in order to agree to pass whatever legislation Trump approves.
My guess, however, is that Trump does eventually back down on any and all gun legislation. I hope I’m wrong, but the safe bet is always that Trump won’t risk offending his base.
Meanwhile, even as some would accuse Trump of enabling the twisted anti-Hispanic thinking of the El Paso shooter, he’s got the anti-immigrant team back to work. The huge ICE raid in Mississippi, rounding up 680 poultry processing plant workers, is strong evidence of that. It was, for many of the workers’ kids, the first day of school. The schools did their best, with short notice, to try to get someone responsible to take care of those who had no parent at home. And ICE did release several hundred of those it arrested the next day, particularly those with children.
But what moved the nation, or much of it anyway, were the horrifying pictures of more desperate, crying children traumatized by the separation from their parents. Many of these kids did not return to school Thursday, fearing the authorities, even as schools tried to put out the word that all kids were entitled to attend school. The New York Times reports that dozens of children, including toddlers, were “bewildered” when they left school to be taken to makeshift shelters. It’s still not clear where these children are now and who is caring for them. I’d bet that Gardner is begging ICE not to bring such a wholesale raid to Colorado.
And what also moved many activists is that none of the employers, who could face civil penalties for hiring undocumented workers, were charged with anything. Maybe that’s because Trump himself has been a serial employer of undocumented workers. Employers could face charges at a later point, ICE spokespeople said. But in nearly all raids, the only penalty employers face is having to find new employees.
If you watch the viral videos following the raids, if you look closely, you’ll see Trump’s answer to what you can do with your inflection points.
Correction: An earlier version of this column said that one of the Mississippi employers raided by ICE was a Koch brothers-owned facility. Koch Foods is not affiliated with Koch Industries or Charles and David Koch.