As soon as William Barr indicated that Donald Trump had been exonerated in the probe into suspected collusion between his campaign and Moscow, we suggested the president would begin to push the limits even further in terms of what is and isn’t acceptable from the executive in a democracy.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but we were correct.
So far this week, Trump has, among other things, accused the FBI of “treason“, suggested in no uncertain terms that he intends to launch a “witch hunt” of his own into those responsible for the special counsel probe, compelled his campaign communications director to advise television producers on which lawmakers are acceptable when it comes to on-air appearances and demanded the resignation of House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff.
Hours after Trump called for Schiff’s resignation, all nine committee Republicans signed a letter in support of the president’s demands, prompting an impassioned rejoinder from Adam who is, for lack of a better description, wholly incredulous at the predicament America now finds itself in.
Meanwhile, Barr is stonewalling Congress on demands that he produce the full, unredacted Mueller report, which is apparently some 300 pages long.
Well, if you had any doubts about whether an emboldened Trump intends to keep pushing the envelope, you can put them to rest because at his first post-Mueller rally – held on Thursday evening at Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan – the president said this about Adam Schiff:
And it got worse – much, much worse. Here is what demagoguery looks like:
At one point, Trump promised to hold “all of the former officials” involved in the investigation accountable, to which a rabid crowd of MAGA hat-clad white people chanted “Lock them up!”
On the border, Trump is going to close the “damn” thing – it’s just that simple, apparently.
The president doubled down on the “us versus them” narrative, telling the crowd how much “better” they are than everyone else and how he’s more “elite” than “some little schlepper”.
He also plugged Fox News, eliciting cheers from the crowd when he proclaimed that Jeanine Pirro is back after being suspended for an egregious Islamophobic rant aimed at Ilhan Omar.
To be clear, there is nothing “great, great” about the people Trump mentioned there. They are purveyors of what amounts to state-sponsored propaganda that everywhere and always plays to voters’ worst instincts and ingrained prejudices.
The bottom line: Trump was feelin’ himself to the absolute MAGA-max on Thursday evening. Here’s your “mood”:
As ever, you don’t know whether to laugh, cry or be scared to death.