1 September 2020   Leave a comment

I generally try to avoid direct references to US President Trump and focus instead on specific policies or directives issued by him. But he was interviewed by Laura Ingraham on Fox News and made statements that I regard as quite troubling. Alex Ward writes in Vox:

“On Monday, Trump told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham a wild story he’d heard about a supposed plane full of “thugs” who had traveled together on a commercial flight to an unnamed American city to stage protests during the Republican National Convention. These same thugs, in Trump’s telling, are secretly pulling Biden’s strings from the ‘dark shadows.’

“These are ‘people that you’ve never heard of, people that are in the dark shadows,’ Trump said. ‘They’re people that are on the streets. They’re people that are controlling the streets. We had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend, and in the plane it was almost completely loaded with thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms with gear and this and that.’

“The president wouldn’t offer any more specifics because he said the whole incident is under investigation — another claim for which there’s no public evidence — but added ‘a lot of people were on the plane to do big damage.’

When a leader starts talking about “dark shadows”, it is probably time to get very worried. Even Ingraham, usually a staunch supporter of Mr. Trump, seemed taken aback by the statement. Snopes provides the context of the statement:

“Trump is picking up on unproven conspiracy theories that began spreading earlier this year during protests for racial justice. One of the first public Facebook posts suggesting a similar conspiracy theory appears to have been made in May when Idaho resident Russell D. Wade wrote on Facebook that a plane was transporting protesters from Seattle to Boise, Idaho.

“’Be ready for attacks downtown and residential areas,’ Wade wrote in a post that has been shared more than 3,500 times. Wade, who lost a bid for local sheriff earlier this year, urged his followers to arm themselves. A social media message sent to Wade on Tuesday was not immediately returned.

“Local police departments from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Payette County, Idaho, were forced to knock down similar social media rumors in June that ‘busloads’ of rioters were coming to town. Other social media posts claimed that throngs of ‘antifa,’ a term for leftist militants, were plotting to violently disrupt cities and towns.

“In Michigan, a limousine businessman had to refute online rumors that his buses were purchased by liberal financier George Soros to coordinate protests after Facebook users manipulated images of his white charter buses to show the words ‘Soros Riot Dance Squad’ emblazoned on the sides.

“In Facebook and Twitter posts earlier this summer, Trump also blamed antifa for violence that broke out during racial justice protests. But an Associated Press analysis of court records, employment histories and social media posts for 217 people arrested in Minneapolis and the District of Columbia, cities at the center of the protests earlier this year, found evidence that only a few of those arrested indicated they were involved in left-leaning activities. A few others expressed support for the political right and Trump himself.”

Chris Cillizza for CNN parses the many misleading statements made by the President in the interview. The list of false statements in just 36 minutes is rather stunning. The Times of India expresses the bewilderment that probably represents the views of many people in the world on the upcoming national election. We will see if the Republican Party has any insight into the President’s state of mind.

Posted September 1, 2020 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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