“Beautiful evening in Cincinnati, Ohio tonight — with GREAT American Patriots!”, Donald Trump tweeted, after wrapping up his latest MAGA rally.
Headed into the event, some were concerned that things might get ugly, where that means the “Send her back” chants would start and Trump wouldn’t make an effort to tamp town the xenophobia.
So concerned was the The Cincinnati Enquirer that the paper’s editorial board actually published an Op-Ed pleading with the president and his supporters not to embarrass the city.
It was the second time in a month that a local paper felt compelled to take the president to task. On July 27, The Baltimore Sun penned a scathing Op-Ed defending the city amid Trump’s derisive remarks aimed at Elijah Cummings.
By the time it was all over, about all you could say about the Cincinnati event is that it could have been worse, which, when it comes to Trump rallies, is as close to a compliment as you can get.
The proceedings weren’t without the usual demagoguery, though. Trump railed against foes, real and imagined, made fun of a war hero (this time Robert Mueller), derided Democrats, incited a “Lock her up” chant and sparred with protestors who were removed.
He also talked a lot about murder. Specifically, he took aim at Baltimore again and during what will almost surely be a clip that draws criticism from detractors, the president asked the crowd to name a place (any place) where they imagine there’s a lot of killing. When one fan said “Afghanistan”, Trump proceeded to compare Baltimore to a war zone.
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“The homicide rate in Baltimore is significantly higher than Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala”, the president said, in an effort to simultaneously elicit disgust for both migrants and a city that has become his latest obsession.
“I believe it’s higher than — give me a place that you think is pretty bad, give me a place”, the president implored, pointing to the crowd. “This guy says ‘Afghanistan’, I believe it’s higher than Afghanistan”.
Obviously, the President of the United States should not be reveling in the fact that Americans are being murdered in some of the nation’s largest cities. The idea that Trump would glorify inner city violence and joke about people being killed is wildly abhorrent.
“As someone who has covered murder in Baltimore for years, sat with mourning mothers, fathers, siblings, grandmothers and girlfriends, this is quite literally nauseating”, Kevin Rector, an investigative reporter specializing in criminal justice for the Baltimore Sun said.
Trump wasn’t finished with America’s cities – or its states. Next up was California.
“Nearly half of all the homeless people living in the streets of America happen to live in the state of California”, Trump sneered. “What they are doing to our beautiful California is a disgrace”.
It wasn’t clear whether “they” referred to Democrats, homeless people or, more likely, both.
“We know this appeal might sound naive, but we cannot stop expecting the best from ourselves or our president”, The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote prior to Trump’s visit, in the Op-Ed mentioned above.
It did indeed sound naive. And sadly, the Enquirer was let down. By the people, yes. But more damningly, by the President of the United States, a man who brings out the worst in everyone.