When a Donald Trump moment has entered legend, and then a National Review writer frowns a bit before deciding to defend him because they’d rather have lower taxes than a country where immigrants weren’t constantly fearing for their lives, it usually pays to look back and see what Trump actually said.
On Wednesday, National Review editor Rich Lowry published a mindblowingly stupid defense of the infamous moment in May when Trump laughed along with a man who shouted “shoot them” as a solution to dealing with immigrants. The moment has come back into focus after the El Paso shooting, for obvious reasons. Here is Lowry’s argument that Trump has no blame in this, in its entirety.
I went back and watched that part of the rally (about 101:30 in this video). What no one notes is that immediately prior to that moment, Trump was talking about a migrant caravan heading north, and he said of border patrol agents, “Don’t forget, we don’t let them and we can’t let them use weapons. Other countries do. We can’t. I would never do that.”
Then, shortly afterward, the guy yells, and Trump smiles and shakes his head and says, “That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement.” Clearly, this is not meant as an endorsement of the statement, but a good-natured way to acknowledge its outrageousness.
Trump then goes on to continue to plug changing the asylum rules and building the wall as the means of addressing the border crisis.
Ah! It was but a joke!! Simply a “good-natured way to acknowledge” the “outrageousness” of the statement, which is outrageous because...uh...there’s no way Trump would ever call for violence at one of his rallies?
And because he’d never call for violence against migrants specifically?
And because he’d never advocate people taking matters into their own hands if “lawful” measures aren’t working, right?
Apart from the fact that a “good natured way” of dealing with a guy calling for the murder of immigrants is not, in fact, any way reflective of being good natured, the Trump campaign has purchased thousands of Facebook ads saying there’s an “invasion” of migrants at the southern border, something they refuse to back down from. To call something an “invasion” is to imply that the people doing the invading are violating your sovereignty; some people hearing this might even believe that they need to defend that sovereignty.
In order to believe Lowry’s defense of Trump here, you have to completely take this one incident in isolation, and not as one of many pieces of evidence in a complete indictment of his character and what he believes. You have to discard the last four years since the official start of Trump’s political career, which he began by calling Mexican immigrants “rapists and criminals.”
When someone is much more serious and somber about the fake problem of an “invasion” than they are about someone shouting for the death of those “invaders,” that’s an indication that something is deeply off in that person’s conception of right and wrong. When that person is the president of the United States, it becomes actively dangerous.
Either Rich Lowry already knows this and is playing severely dumb, or he’s actually a dumb asshole whose brain has been ruined by his neverending quest to prove the libs wrong.