The official White House twitter account has already posted a campaign-style video of Donald Trump’s Bible-toting photo opportunity last night:
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 2, 2020
To create this moment, his staff ordered police and DC National Guard soldiers to violently displace peaceful protesters gathered on a public street across from Lafayette Square, memorized in footage sure to go down in the annals of authoritarianism.
But the video Trump cares about is the one the White House created, which amounts to a campaign ad financed by the taxpayers. I’m sure we’ll see versions of this and similar recordings recycled by Trump campaign on social media and in digital and television ads endlessly between now and November. The hope? That Scott Walker’s style of fawning reception will overwhelm the public mind, just as Trump’s troops “dominated the battlespace” a mile from my apartment:
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) June 2, 2020
Yes, it takes “guts” to walk a couple of blocks surrounded by lethally armed security guards and screened from afar by a phalanx of police and soldiers with shields and rubber bullets.
I’m sure his fans rejoiced at the images of protesters being shoved to the ground and smothered with tear gas; after all, the cruelty is the point. But I can’t believe anyone not in the cult of Trump saw anything other than a man growing smaller with every step across that park. What would have demonstrated REAL strength? Going up to the protesters and listening to them, as Obama or Biden or even George W. Bush might have done. If Trump showed anything last night, it’s how weak he truly is.
Empty suit photo based on Magritte’s “The Pilgrim”