Friday, June 5, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He praised himself on George Floyd's behalf, then trashed him on Twitter.

Monthly unemployment numbers were released today, and the overall rate—13.3%—was better than analysts expected, though still at levels unseen since World War Two. In large part, this was due to an acknowledged error that ignored furloughed workers, meaning the actual rate is above 16%. 

Nevertheless, Trump seized on the opportunity to give a rambling Rose Garden speech about the "rocket ship" economy, in which every sixth American is out of work. Trump meandered between boasts about the economy, attacking Democrats, and defending his response to the protests against police violence. (By a huge margin, Americans think Trump has made the situation worse.) 

Eventually, Trump said this:

Call in the National Guard, call me. We’ll have so many people, more people than you have to dominate the streets. You can’t let what’s happening happen. It’s called dominate the streets. You can’t let that happen in New York, where they’re breaking into stores and all of the things. And by the way, hurting many small businesses, you can’t let it happen. 
Equal justice under the law must mean that every American receives equal treatment in every encounter with law enforcement, regardless of race, color, gender, or creed, they have to receive fair treatment from law enforcement. They have to receive it. We all saw what happened last week. We can’t let that happen. Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying, “This is a great thing that’s happening for our country.” This is a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody.

There are two ways to interpret this. One is that Trump was saying that George Floyd, who is dead, was having "a good day" because the economy had not collapsed as much as expected.

The other is that Trump thinks Floyd would say that Trump's call to "dominate the streets" by sending military troops to suppress demonstrations on Floyd's behalf was a "great thing."

When a black reporter, PBS's Yamiche Alcindor, asked about the unemployment rate for African-Americans (which was higher this month), Trump put a finger to his lips and shushed her.

Later, Trump retweeted a video clip attacking Floyd's character and saying he was unworthy of his "martyr" status.

So what?

  • Even by Trump's standards, this is pretty cold.