On the one hand, this isn't much. Yet I think it's one of the more bizarre, and subtly-notable things I've seen in any presidential election. And that in a year which alone has produced oh-so many of them. This is the video of Donald Trump getting into a snit fit -- sorry, having a tantrump -- over a baby.
You likely have read about this, but if you haven't seen the video, it's worth watching. Only two minutes long, but worth every second.
A friend says he doesn't think it's as bad as as been written, but I disagree. I think it's dismal. And problematic in ways that might not be flamboyant, but important.
Trump starts by saying that it's fine to have the crying baby there, don't worry, explaining how much he loves crying babies, just loves them. Loves crying babies. And then only a minute later he 180-degrees reverses himself. Says to get the baby out of there. That he doesn't actually like crying babies. And then tops it by snarking with a look of scathing ridicule, "I can't believe that she really believed that I really like crying babies."
Just utterly bizarre.
It's one thing, and bad enough to say he doesn't like having the baby there and wants it removed. Politicians, after all, are supposed to love love love babies. The cliche of politicians is that they're supposed to go out of their ways to kiss babies. Not kick them out. And once again attacking yet another mother -- mere days after being reviled and having his campaign going off into a tailspin of damage control for attacking a grieving Gold Star mother -- this time, for not having the baby there, but for the mother being so stupid to not grasp what he. the imperious Donald Trump, had been really saying.
But it's something else entirely, and for me the almost as big thing, that there on camera, he changes his point within 60 second and chastises not just a mother, but anyone for, hahaha, cue smirk, Actually Believing What He Said.
This is all just stunning stuff.
By itself, no, it's not the worst thing in the world. It's stupid, and tone deaf for any politician, but not damning. But what is damning is that because it comes on the heels of his disaster smearing Ghazala Khan, the mother of a heroic Bronze Star winner who died in the Iraq War, Donald Trump ridiculing another mother, and one with a baby, a BABY!, doubles-down on the cold, clueless, nasty perception he created for himself. And then reinforces it by saying, in essence, "You shouldn't believe what I say." When the campaign is desperately (and ham-fistedly) trying to explain away his debacle with the Gold Star mother, here is Donald Trump days later when it's all so fresh in everyone's minds confirming every awful thing you imagined about him. Confirming and nailing it down so you'll remember. Even if you forget The Baby Incident -- which is not likely -- it just makes clear in people's minds that the attack on Ghazala Khan wasn't an one time mess.
And its awful, too, because unlike most such campaign problems, people don't even have to watch the video to know how idiotic and confirming the video is. Just reading the words or simply hearing that "Donald Trump attacked a baby." Or "Donald Trump got into a debate with a baby." Or "Donald Trump threw out a baby." Or any other similar image you want to create is bad enough. And just want you want for your campaign days after smearing a grieving mother of a war hero.
This is just bizarre.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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