Why is Trump calling Pelosi an MS-13 lover?
WASHINGTON » By now, we know that President Trump is a lying demagogue. Since this is not said often enough, he has been allowed to routinize lying and enshrine the vilest forms of divisiveness as a normal part of our politics.
The media learned during Joe McCarthy’s heyday that “We report the lies, you decide” is not a responsible approach to journalism. Trump’s egregiousness requires everyone to take a refresher course in the lesson of McCarthyism.
But just calling out deceit is insufficient. It is essential as well to understand why Trump tells particular lies at particular moments. This is a precondition to turning back the smears and the falsehoods.
Trump’s address Tuesday at a Nashville rally was a lollapalooza of deception. PolitiFact raised doubts about 15 of his statements and flatly rated 10 of them as “mostly false,” “false,” or “pants on fire.”
“They don’t want the wall, they want open borders,” Trump said of Democrats. “They’re more interested in taking care of criminals than they are in taking care of you.”
He referred to the House Democratic leader as “the MS13 lover Nancy Pelosi,” linking her to the brutal gang. He even pumped up the crowd to shout out the term.
In fact, “open borders” are supported by no one but a handful of libertarians. The “taking care of criminals” line and the slandering of Pelosi have become so common they are barely noticed. Republicans on the ballot this fall should be asked if they see Pelosi as an “MS-13 lover,” and if not, whether they will denounce Trump for saying such a thing. I am not holding my breath.
Trump signaled clearly that the whole point of his screed was about the midterm elections. Immigration, he said, is “a good issue for us, not for them.”
Why immigration? It’s not the central concern of most voters. A Gallup survey in May found that 10 percent of Americans listed it as the most important problem facing the country. And in a recent CBS News poll, 59 percent of Americans were against building Trump’s wall.
But, Trump and the Republicans aren’t focused on the majority of Americans. They are petrified that their loyalists aren’t very motivated about voting in November.
Another May Gallup study found that just 26 percent of Americans strongly approved of Trump’s job performance, compared with 41 percent who strongly disapproved. Only George W. Bush in 2006 (think: the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina) and Richard Nixon in 1974 (think Watergate scandal) exceeded Trump’s level of strong disapproval. The midterm elections in those years were disastrous for the GOP.
Trump and his party want to screech loudly to get their side back into the game, and attacking immigration is the signature Trump talking point. Voters who listed immigration as a motivating factor in 2016 backed him over Hillary Clinton by nearly 2-1.
Republican House candidates are, according to a USA Today study published Tuesday, “blanketing the airwaves with TV ads embracing a hard line on immigration.” Health care was the topic most invoked in Democratic spots. Republicans seem to know that wedge issues are more useful to them than their record.
Polarization defines Trump’s survival strategy and it means that demagoguery — toward immigrants, toward crime, toward Robert Mueller’s probe, toward dissenting NFL players — is what his presidency is all about.
What thus needs exposing is that he depends upon the kinds of lies that will tear our country to pieces.
Republicans on the ballot this fall should be asked whether they see Nancy Pelosi as an “MS-13lover,” and if not, whether they’ll denounce Trump for saying it.