It took less than twelve hours for Donald Trump to take to Twitter with an opinion on the massacre in Orlando. While most of us were still trying to digest what happened, the presumptive Republican nominee spent the day tweeting his thoughts in a stream of careless consciousness.
I personally think limiting your reaction to a tragedy to 140 characters is inappropriate, but I also recognize that communication in 2016 hinges on immediacy. Unfortunately, Donald Trump is a perfect example of our fast-food society and the fracturing of semantic competence.
The measure of his words following the deaths of 49 Americans tells us a lot about how he’d handle a crisis as president.
The first tweet seems innocuous. Trump recognizes the victims and characterizes the “incident” as “horrific.” Reasonable reactions to what happened at the Pulse nightclub.
However, the question that Trump asks next reveals how he’ll manipulate this “incident” over the course of the next few hours. His rhetorical device implies that we’re the opposite of “tough, smart, & vigilant.” America must be weak, dumb, and complacent to terrorism. This couldn’t possibly have been an inexplicable act committed by a person of no conscience or regard for human life.
Instead, we’ve failed as a country. Someone needs to be blamed. Not the perpetrator of the crime, mind you, but someone else. Trump has his scapegoat at the ready, but before he can point a finger, he needs to pat himself on the back.
A couple of times.
An hour later, Trump is at it again. In a moment of faux modesty, he claims to renounce recognition for being “right.” Of course, the question then becomes: Why mention it?
Remember. He’s not reacting in real time on television. He’s not in the middle of a press conference. If people are congratulating Trump for being “right” about anything, the only person that knows this is Trump. He doesn’t have to tell us. He wants to tell us.
He repeats his calls for “toughness & vigilance.” Trump exclaims, “We must be smart!” without any indication of how our limited capacity for intelligence led to this massacre.
But Trump was “right.” He will save us. Trump will save us from our stupid selves.
About twenty minutes pass before Donald can’t take it anymore. He’s already managed to stroke his own ego and put the focus on himself. Now he needs to politicize the event through populist scapegoating. He takes aim at the president.
Always an authority on language, Trump suggests that if the president doesn’t characterize the incident using the words, “radical Islamic terrorism,” he should lose his job.
Because that’s entirely reasonable.
Trump really does think he’s on a reality show. He might as well just have pointed at the screen and said, “You’re fired.”
This is classic Trump. Now we’re getting into the psychology of a master manipulator.
The tweet above was actually copy/pasted from another account belonging to a man named Sebastian Gorka. The idea that the killer shouted “Allah hu Akbar” has no basis in fact. No media outlet, law enforcement official, or witness to the event has substantiated this claim.
In a moment flagrant plagiarism, Donald has stoked the fears and prejudices of his followers and connected unconnected events. The man arrested in Los Angeles had no ties to Islam, and the perpetrator in Orlando’s relationship to ISIS is speculative.
These facts are of little importance to Trump. He’s building a case of circumstantial evidence against “radical Islamic terrorism.” How can he be right if this tragedy is anything but connected to Islam?
So logically, he pollutes his followers’ minds by disseminating and encouraging the spread of misinformation for political gain.
In case you needed to be reminded that this is an election cycle, and that Trump is in a race against Hillary Clinton, Donald is more than happy to refresh your memory.
Less than 24 hours after 49 people were slaughtered.
While 53 more people lay wounded in the hospital.
While the victims’ family members still don’t know whether or not their loved ones are dead or alive, or in the hospital.
Trump decides this is the perfect time to quote a supporter’s plea for a Trump presidency.
“I called it.”
Never mind that the killer in Orlando was born in America, and forget that his parents moved here from Afghanistan 30 years ago. Even though a ban on Muslim immigration wouldn’t have stopped this mass shooting from happening, or any mass shooting for that matter, Donald “called it,” by proposing a ban on Muslim immigrants.
Again, getting the credit or “congrats,” and turning tragedy into an opportunity for personal gain is what’s important to Donald Trump.
Just to make sure he doesn’t squander political capital from this “horrific incident,” he employs one last ominous threat to the masses: “What has happened in Orlando is just the beginning,” he states.
Trump’s right. This is about leadership.
Donald Trump isn’t just temperamentally unfit to be president, he lacks the leadership skills and moral compass to handle a national crisis. The fact that a large portion of the country continues to flirt with his possible presence in the Oval Office is appalling.
Forget partisanship, forget politics.
This is a question of simple judgment.
Anyone that reacts to the mass murder of 49 Americans with bravado and self-congratulations should be automatically rejected by the citizenry. A hyperbolic call for the president to resign unless he says what Donald wants him to say is an exercise in neurosis. Pushing fear and hatred, dividing the country by religion isn’t borderline psychotic. It’s a sign of psychopathic behavior without any regard for the safety and well-being of the 3 million innocent Muslims in America today.
Not to mention his total disregard for the effects of this tragedy on the LGBTQ community targeted by the attacker. Considering all of the conjecture and speculation Trump accepted as truth, his reluctance to immediately extend his sympathy to LGBTQ Americans is flat out insulting.
Leaders lead through unity, not division.
Donald instead leads through the devices of a dictator with all the attention span of a common squirrel. Nothing in his stream of tweets can convince anyone that he’s capable of the coherent, consistent governance that the presidency requires.
He has no filter.
No instinct for decorum.
He’s impulsive and ignorant of the context of his surroundings.
He’s like a toddler that really wants a cookie at exactly the same time grandma is revealing her cancer diagnosis.
His leadership style reminds me of that time George Costanza smelled smoke.
Should America find itself in crisis and under a Trump presidency, I just pray we don’t get in his way.