The three surest ways to get Americans shouting at each other are: A controversial call in a playoff game watched by millions; bringing up sensitive political issues at the Thanksgiving dinner table after everyone spent the day traveling, drinking, or both; or President Trump hitting Twitter on a Sunday morning.
No doubt you saw Trump’s latest tweetstorm, in which he said it is “interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run.” He suggested they “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” and only then “come back and show us how it is done.” Trump concluded with a helpful (?) reminder that “these places need your help badly,” therefore those progressive Democrats “can’t leave fast enough.”
The reactions from the folks Barack Obama once dismissed as the “professional left” were as rapid as they were rabid — and utterly predictable. Trump’s thrust, presumably aimed at Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, was basically: “Before you change America into something it wasn’t meant to be, go fix your old sh*thole countries into something better they could be.”
On the Right, however, the reactions are all over the place, with even some Trump supporters arguing that this time, the President has gone too far.
ASIDE: Trump has had enough genuinely conservative policy and personnel wins that it’s safe to lump the NeverTrumpers in with the Left, and it has been for some time. So if you’re looking for what David French or Ann Navarro or Bill Kristol had to say about Trump’s latest, you’ll have to go elsewhere.
The most forceful reaction might have been from Powerline’s John Hinderaker, who described Trump’s tweets as a “blunder of epic proportions.” Quickly responding to the tweetstorm, the longtime Trump supporter wrote:
The Democrats have been self-destructing, with the progressives denouncing Nancy Pelosi and other members of the party’s leadership as racists. That conflict has dominated the news, and I am sure Trump is right that Nancy Pelosi would be happy to work out travel arrangements to get rid of the Squad. But now she won’t have to. Trump’s attack on the Squad was so foolish that I would assume it to be a case of drunk-tweeting, except that the President doesn’t drink.
RedState’s “Bonchie” was a bit more dramatic, arguing that “As Democrats Fight A Civil War, Trump Strips Naked And Runs Onto The Battlefield.” Quite the distraction, eh? Bonchie regrets that while the “economy is booming and President Trump is enjoying one of the more positive stretches of his tenure,” that Trump would tweet something “so self-destructive that it makes me want to beat my head against a wall.” Worse yet, Bonchie believes Trump wasted an opportunity to let the Democrats keep on “collapsing in on themselves.”
Adriana Cohen followed a similar vein in yesterday’s Boston Herald:
Trump shouldn’t have tweeted that inartful missive, because instead of letting the Democratic Party continue its infighting — especially between Ocasio-Cortez and Speaker Nancy Pelosi that’s been destabilizing the DNC — he succeeded in unifying Democrats against him again.
The president also subjected himself to renewed accusations of xenophobia, white nationalism and other character assassinations that could’ve been avoided should he just let Dems go at it among themselves — without inserting himself in their intraparty battles.
And over at Instapundit, PJMedia’s own Ed Driscoll wrote that he agrees with Bonchie, but also wondered aloud whether there is “some 3-D chess going on here?”
But the Instapundit himself, Glenn Reynolds, inserted himself into Ed’s post (as we sometimes-but-not-often do at Instapundit) and argued that this “is barely even 2D chess.” He went on:
Trump is pointing out that these “it” girls are ungrateful asses who don’t like America. By not naming them, he’s forcing their defenders, and his critics, to admit that they’re ungrateful asses who don’t like America before they can even talk about the issue. This isn’t hard. But if you want more, there’s this way of putting it: All the Democrats have to do is not be crazy, and Trump’s making it impossible for them to do that.
And don’t miss this from RedState’s Mike Ford:
Trump is saying and doing exactly what I sent him to Washington to do, which is to push back on leftist propaganda and do so in plain language. Not only is he doing that, but he’s giving us on the right the courage to also push back. We don’t have to be afraid of being labeled as racists. We now have the courage of our convictions to merely snort in derision and get on with the job of making America great again.
Going back to Powerline, Steven Hayward conceded that while it might have been best to leave the Dems to their own infighting, “Trump’s animal instincts come into play here.” He believes that “Trump has now forced Pelosi and every other Democrat to come to [Omar/Tlaib/AOC’s] defense, elevating their profile further and cementing them as the authoritative face of the Democratic Party.” He wondered, rhetorically, “What’s the downside of that?”
Coincidentally, Axios released poll numbers yesterday showing that “AOC defining Dems in swing states.” If last week’s Dem political cycle was dominated by Pelosi versus her Progressive wing, this week it will be dominated by Pelosi having to make nice, while still getting blasted on her left flank.
Trump’s tweets have always been tailored to generate a gut response. The trick — and I admit it took me months longer than it should have to take this to heart — is to allow yourself a brief cooling down period, consider his target audience and their gut response. Instead of luxuriating in an outraged #Resist or a chest-thumping #MAGA insta-reaction, ask yourself what was the purpose of Trump’s tweet, and did he achieve it. Do that, and you’ll find that while Trump takes a lot of flak for his tweets, it’s almost always because he’s directly over his target.
The man practically tweeted himself into the most powerful position in the world, and his seemingly ill-measured tweets deserve a more measured response than he got today from some of his supporters.