Tuesday, June 30, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He used racist language to make an empty threat to defend racists.

Two minutes before midnight on June 30, Trump was up and trying to stoke a culture war over monuments to the Confederacy.

This is an empty threat, although Trump may be hoping his shrinking voting base doesn't know it. 

Sen. Warren's amendment to the must-pass defense spending bill was adopted on a voice vote in committee, meaning that committee Republicans either mostly agreed, or wanted to avoid having their names attached to a "no" vote. 

The provision that would require the renaming of military facilities named for Confederate officers may yet be stripped through political horse-trading—although in that case, Trump weighing in only gives Warren more leverage over the actual substance of the bill.

Senior military officials are increasingly open to renaming the ten bases and various smaller facilities bearing the names of Confederate officers. But Trump has spent much of the last few weeks defending Confederate statues and place-names, in an attempt to draw attention away from his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economy.

Trump's other contribution to Civil War history was putting up a brass plaque on one of his golf courses in Virginia commemorating a battle that exists only in his imagination. In the inscription, Trump pats himself on the back for having "preserved" the site of the fake battle.

Why should I care about this?

  • Someone who paid someone else to write a book about negotiation should probably know better than to negotiate this way.
  • Leaders with actual accomplishments don't generally try to start argument to distract from them.
  • America's reckoning with racial issues isn't actually about Donald Trump.