It is a great shame for Mr Trump’s current credibility that he has insisted on making some of his more bizarre past threats and boasts in front of the TV cameras. Certainly in the wake of the recent letter bomb scares, and realizing, perhaps belatedly, that this time one of his registered Republican supporters had gone so far that it was likely to endanger the Republican cause in the mid-terms, the letter bombs simply had to be condemned. And to give him his due, at long last Mr Trump was very clear. “No nation can succeed that tolerates violence, or the threat of violence, as a method of political intimidation, coercion or control”. The nation heard him say it and I guess many of us, as part of the global audience, would echo his words. “And so say all of us” was my personal reaction.
Unfortunately for Mr Trump, anyone with the wit to use the internet search engines can access a treasure trove of Mr Trump’s calls for violence against his critics. These threats were aimed at those who questioned his policies, those like journalists and news-casters who recorded and publicised his intemperate rants and even included whole nations whose policies did not favour his individual interpretation of acceptable military action. In his 2016 campaign he is on record for saying he considered that there was a place for torture of terrorists which included targeting the families of terrorists. He went on to praise the President of the Philippines for instigating killing drug addicts and drug sellers.
On the local scene, one video shows Mr Trump encouraging his supporters to “knock the crap” out of protestors and hecklers at his political events, and I would imagine many in the community will recall his recent diatribe congratulating a political candidate for “body slamming” a reporter. He not only promised to pay the legal bills for anyone who physically attacked a protestor at any one of his rallies, but on another occasion said he would like to punch a protestor in the face.
I guess many will remember back to when Mr Trump was clearly reluctant to condemn the violence at that extraordinary alt right demonstration, and prevaricated for some days until forced to acknowledge that the KKK supporters may have gone too far.
Fortunately now Mr Trump has clarified how he wishes everyone to assess his expressed attitudes. Here it is again, and it is a quote, not fake news.
“No nation can succeed that tolerates violence, or the threat of violence as a method of political intimidation, coercion or control”. Well the evidence is as clear as the newsreels can make it. Mr Trump has shown over the last two years that he personally tolerates violence, he threatens violence and supports the threat of violence as a means of establishing control even at his election appearances. He now says in effect that if the nation as a whole adopts what he has been advocating, not once but many times, the nation will not succeed. And he presumably wants the US voting public to take this piece of wisdom into consideration when they fill out those voting forms. Golly, we live in interesting times.