The crazy face of Trump’s GOP

Cecil Whig - - OPINION - Dana Milbank

— Roger Stone, long­time con­fi­dant and in­for­mal ad­viser to Don­ald Trump, re­moved his all-ac­cess con­ven­tion cre­den­tials and as­cended the stage at Cit­i­zens for Trump’s Amer­ica First Unity Rally on Mon­day af­ter­noon.

Stone, wear­ing a yel­low linen suit, white sad­dle shoes and sus­penders, ex­plained that he was late be­cause “I had some meet­ings that I had to con­clude over at the Westin with mem­bers of the Trump staff.”

And what did this boast­ful Trump con­sigliere, fresh from his meet­ing with Trump aides, wish to im­part on this first day of the GOP con­ven­tion?

He wished to re­visit the Vince Fos­ter mur­der con­spir­acy. “They told us that he died in Fort Marcy Park and his body was found 50 yards down a muddy trail,” Stone said of the Clin­ton fam­ily friend and aide who killed him­self 23 years ago. “But there was no mud or dirt on his shoes. ... There was car­pet fiber all over his body be­cause they rolled him in a car­pet. Hil­lary Clin­ton or­dered a guy named Sul­li­van and a guy named Kennedy, her hood­lums, her thugs, [to] move his body.”

Wel­come to the Don­ald Trump Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion.

Stone chose this mo­ment, when the party presents it­self to the na­tion, to team up with Alex Jones — the con­spir­acy the­o­rist and ra­dio host — as “co-hosts” of the rally for a cou­ple thou­sand Trump sup­port­ers. Like the Trump cam­paign it­self, the con­ven­tion has el­e­vated those who bring the crazy.

Many Repub­li­can of­fi­cials are avoid­ing Cleve­land this week en­tirely. Oth­ers are tac­itly sup­port­ing the Trump ticket, swal­low­ing their reser­va­tions; a last-ditch re­bel­lion on the floor Mon­day af­ter­noon by anti-Trump del­e­gates was eas­ily put down.

This vac­uum gives voice to Trump’s proud­est and loud­est sup­port­ers, those who, be­fore Trump, resided on the fringes. It has le­git­imized peo­ple like Jones.

Jones is fa­mous for as­sert­ing, among other things, that the U.S. gov­ern­ment was be­hind the 9/11 at­tacks and the Ok­la­homa City bomb­ing. Trump, who has often ap­peared on Jones’ show, told its host in De­cem­ber that “your rep­u­ta­tion is amaz­ing.”

Jones, in black way­far­ers and blue blazer, limped onto the stage at the Cit­i­zens for Trump rally to huge cheers. “Don­ald Trump is surg­ing in ev­ery ma­jor poll across the coun­try,” he ex­ulted.Three men in the crowd, Trump sup­port­ers all, sounded notes on kudu horns in cel­e­bra­tion.

He said that “Hil­lary is a for­eign agent of the com­mu­nist Chi­nese, the Saudi Ara­bi­ans and oth­ers.” Notic­ing a dis­rup­tion in the crowd, he de­nounced these “an­tifree­dom scum who need to get their ass to North Korea.”

He then called the “ag­i­ta­tor” to the stage to con­front him, a man who “wants to shut down our free speech.” It turned out to be co­me­dian Eric An­dre.

An­dre, af­ter of­fer­ing Jones his ho­tel room key be­cause “I want you to have sex with my wife” and ask­ing Jones why “my pee-pee comes out yel­low,” men­tioned the Jones 9/11 the­ory: “Air­plane fuel can’t melt steel. The bomb’s in Tower 7!” “I ex­posed all that,” Jones boasted. Jones’ ill-ad­vised stage in­vite to the co­me­dian added to the freak-show at­mos­phere on the bank of the Cuya­hoga River. Po­lice on the perime­ter and in a boat could wit­ness a few par­tic­i­pants openly car­ry­ing hand­guns, the dron­ing of the kudu horns, the guy car­ry­ing an eight-foot wooden cross, the woman who botched the words to “The Star-Span­gled Ban­ner,” and the pri­mary chal­lenger to John McCain who said, “We don’t need frail, fear­ful, old peo­ple rep­re­sent­ing us.”

Dozens of at­ten­dees wore “Hil­lary for Prison” T-shirts. One sign that said “Lati­nos for Trump” fea­tured a bumper sticker declar­ing “9/11 was an in­side job.” The flip side had the mes­sage “Hil­lary for Prison” (the first “i” was dot­ted with a Jewish star and Mus­lim cres­cent).

One of the em­cees, Ken Crow, ref­er­enced the time he said im­mi­gra­tion was like breed­ing “Sec­re­tariat to a don­key” and was scolded by MSNBC’s Rachel Mad­dow.

“You mean Mr. Mad­dow?!” some­body in the crowd shouted.

Crow also men­tioned that Fox’s Ger­aldo Rivera was in the crowd, and the few cheers were over­whelmed by boos and a shout of “Build the wall!”

Then there was Stone, who pro­nounced him­self “Ital­ian from the waist down” and praised his “friend Alex Jones.”

Trump has “co­jones,” Stone said. And Clin­ton? “A short-tem­pered, foul-mouthed, greedy, bipo­lar, men­tally un­bal­anced crim­i­nal.” “She’s a rep­tile!” some­body added. “A liar!” “Lizard!” This is the face of Trump’s GOP. “Repub­li­cans who do not choose to join our cause: You will be re­placed,” Stone said. “Good rid­dance. This is not about unity.”

Trump’s buddy flashed a Nixon-style dou­ble-vic­tory sign. The kudu horns sounded.

Dana Milbank is a syn­di­cated colum­nist. Con­tact him at danamil­bank@wash­post. com.

CLEVE­LAND

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