Trump Goes Off Script In Worst Possible Way

by James M. Wallla-1470263827-snap-photo

How long, O Lord, must we suffer outbursts of dangerous rhetoric from Donald J. Trump? The latest example, this time in Wilmington, North Carolina, is reported in the New York Times:

The Republican nominee, reports the Times, “appeared to raise the possibility that gun rights supporters could take matters into their own hands if Hillary Clinton is elected president and appoints judges who favor stricter gun control measures to the bench.”

The candidate then “warned that it would be ‘a horrible day’ if Mrs. Clinton were elected and got to appoint a tie-breaking Supreme Court justice.”

“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Mr. Trump said, as the crowd began to boo. He quickly added: “Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know

Kayleigh McEnany, a surrogate for Trump, spoke with CNN with her “spin”, saying her candidate was referencing the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Here is her “spin” and the clip of Trump’s threat:

During the reign of England’s King Henry II, in December 1170, Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered.  

A United Kingdom Learning site records that history this way:

When Becket asked the pope to excommunicate the Archbishop of York who had taken sides with the king [Henry II], it was a very serious request and a very serious punishment for someone who could claim that he was only being loyal to the king.

Henry was furious when he found out what Becket had done. He is said to have shouted out “will no-one rid me of this troublesome priest?”

Four knights heard what Henry had shouted and took it to mean that the king wanted Becket dead. They rode to Canterbury to carry out the deed.

The knights were Reginald FitzUrse, William de Tracey, Hugh de Morville and Richard le Breton. On December 29th 1170, they killed Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. After killing him, one of the knights said “Let us away. He will rise no more.”

History never repeats itself in precise ways. But history sends echoes through the centuries to remind us of consequences that flow from men of power speaking irresponsibly, carelessly and foolishly.

History records that King Henry II walked on his bare feet to Canterbury to repent of his role in the murder of Thomas Becket. The death of Becket, and its consequences, are captured in the movie, Becket. 

Donald Trump shows no sign of repenting of his statement, that some commentators have said was a thinly-veiled call for assassination.

That is probably not the case. It was most likely not intended as an actual threat. but merely the exaggerations of a bully who thinks he is being subtle in front of his gang. 

Trump is not walking in bare feet anywhere, unless he is relaxing in a spa in one of his hotels. Instead Trump left it to his campaign spokesman, Jason Miller, to provide the campaign explanation to this latest outburst.

Miller tried to “spin” Trump’s outrageous language by saying the candidate was referring to the “power of unification”.

Miller claimed Trump was speaking of “Second Amendment people”, who “have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power. And this year, they will be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump.”

The response to Trump’s outburst has been overwhelmingly negative. The Times looked for some of them.

The implied threat against Clinton prompted a reaction from a Secret Service spokesman, who refused to identify himself, who said the agency was “aware of the comments”. He did not elaborate.

The Times also reported:

Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, wrote on Twitter that Mr. Trump “makes death threats because he’s a pathetic coward who can’t handle the fact that he’s losing to a girl.”

Mr. Trump’s campaign events have grown increasingly vitriolic, with angry chants and jeers directed at Mrs. Clinton. People at his rallies have, with greater frequency, loudly called for violence against Mrs. Clinton — catcalls that Mr. Trump has generally let pass.

We have to assume that Trump will go off-script on many occasions, leaving surrogates to clean up behind him.

His staff has tried to clean up his act. But performers like Trump don’t change under command. He operates the way a comedian riffs when performing before a rowdy nightclub audience, responding to the emotional and value level of his audience.

Good judgment is not in his makeup. A crying baby serves him as a foil like a character in a silent movie. He tolerates the crying, saying he loves babies. Within minutes he orders his minions to boot the baby out of the hall.

This is a man who craves adulation and affection and whose communication skills are sadly limited to that of a schoolyard bully.

Trump will continue to belittle his betters with whatever language he dregs up from decades of business battles, many of which he lost.

Each time he dips into his pool of irrational thoughts and blurts them out to others, exposes him as untrained, uninformed and utterly incapable of holding any government position where he has any power over human lives. 

Some Republican officials have been reported in search of a way to usher Trump out of the nomination. They nominated him; they now desperately need a way to de-nominate him.

Polling shows him headed downward in states he needs to win in November. But do these polls accurately reflect the passions of his angry followers?

If the polls are wrong, and Trump actually wins in November, then we are headed for the sort of national calamities Ghostbuster Bill Murray described as those of “biblical proportions”. 

Trump has promoted his name brand in business and on reality television. He rode his brand through the Republican primaries. Now, facing the actual task of running the nation, he may be preparing to leave the stage.

Why else would he be talking of the general election being “rigged” against him. Could this be his strategy for a brand-saving exit?

On Tuesday, Rep. Paul Ryan won his Republican primary race to retain his Wisconsin congressional seat. Ryan had earlier “reluctantly” agreed to be House Speaker.

Is it possible Ryan will now “reluctantly” step in to save his party and save the nation from the embarrassment of more Trumpian outbursts?

The clock is running.


About wallwritings

From 1972 through 1999, James M. Wall was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, lllinois. He was a Contributing Editor of the Century from 1999 until July, 2017. He has written this blog, wall, since it was launched April 27, 2008. If you would like to receive Wall Writings alerts when new postings are added to this site, send a note, saying, Please Add Me, to Biography: Journalism was Jim's undergraduate college major at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has earned two MA degrees, one from Emory, and one from the University of Chicago, both in religion. He is an ordained United Methodist clergy person. He served for two years in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF reserve. While serving on active duty with the Alaskan Command, he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He has worked as a sports writer for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, was editor of the United Methodist magazine, Christian Advocate for ten years, and editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine for 27 years. James M Wall died March 22, 2021 at age 92. His family appreciates all of his readers, even those who may have disagreed with his well-informed writings.
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5 Responses to Trump Goes Off Script In Worst Possible Way

  1. Jack Graham says:

    Lets get real here. Among other things, the Second Amendment preserves the practical capacity of the people of the United States to make an armed revolution against the government of the United States. And why not? Have you never heard of Lexington and Concord? If you think the lesson of Lexington and Concord is outdated, impeccable forensic evidence reveals that on 9/11 the twin towers and building #7 at the World Trade Center came down from professionally engineered controlled demolition, and the government of the United States tried to cover up obvious signs of conspiracy, the same as the Warren Commission tried to cover up obvious signs of conspiracy behind the death of John F. Kennedy, The government of the United States generated a war in Vietnam after the death of Kennedy, and a war in Iraq after 9/11. We have a government so dangerous and disloyal to the American people that it is urgently necessary to retain the practical possibility of armed revolution. And the Democratic Party has given us a candidate for President more corrupt than anybody put up for President in our lifetimes, worse even than LBJ. And this candidate is determined to disarm the people of the United States, and thereby to take away the capacity of the American people to make an armed revolution against their government. Party-line Democrats know how corrupt Hillary Clinton is, but they frankly do not care. Trump is right, — it is far more important to preserve the capacity of the American people to make an armed revolution than to elect Hillary Clinton, and allow her, as she intends and as desired by the Council on Foreign Relations, to impose a North American Union on Mexico, the United States, and Canada. — John Remington Graham of the Minnesota Bar (#3664X)

  2. Robert says:

    “Is it possible Ryan will now “reluctantly” step in to save his party and save the nation…”

    Or save the world from Hillary.

  3. Jim, what can Rep. Ryan be expected to do? Ask Mr. Trump to withdraw his candidacy? Very unlikely. Like other GOP leaders, say he will not vote for Mr. Trump? Also highly unlikely.
    Since Mr. Trump seems to be abandoning the GOP as we have known it, why not have GOP leaders abandon him? Well, that is happening, so you are asking Rep. Ryan to do it too? Ryan is a standard bearer for sure, perhaps a unifying center. IF he gives way, the Trump candidacy (and the GOP as we have known it) is doomed for sure.
    Can Mr. Trump continue to baffle the American electorate this Nov. 8? And, heaven forbid, become President? The man is unfit to be our leader.

  4. AWAD SIFRI says:

    Great analogy with Becket. You are right, Donald Trump talks and acts like a schoolboy bully.
    Perhaps, we can refer to it as, ‘Trumpbosis’ of the brain. Like any other bully, he is a coward at heart. He will trump over weaker opponents and cozy up to stronger kids, while he needs them, and before he dumps them, too.
    I shudder to think what his foreign policy would be like; how he would bully so many countries that do not abide by his ideology of ‘Trumpism’ that it will become very difficult, and even dangerous, for Americans to travel around the world, whether for work, or pleasure, or any other reason.
    I can envision a catastrophic period of world history, when ‘Trumpism’ and ‘Zionism’ join together in an even more menacing alliance of “Zio-trumpism’.

  5. Jim Patterson says:

    Great article, Jim… are (w)rite on…..JP from PP

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