Donald Trump’s rallies are not generally know as measured, reasonable affairs, but the GOP nominee’s rally this morning in Ashburn, VA seemed to set a new record for insanity and obnoxiousness. The chaos began when Trump accepted a fake Purple Heart and then, of course, announced that it was real and mocked the veteran who handed it to him.
Trump at one point announced to the crowd, “a man came up to me and handed me a Purple Heart. I said to him, ‘Is that like a real one or is that a copy’ and he said ‘that’s my real Purple Heart.” He then seemed to dismiss the significance of the gesture by saying “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.”
The problem, besides his mockery and exploitation of veterans, was that the entire charade was a lie. NBC News reporter Katy Tur reported that the man who gave Trump the Purple Heart told her it was, in fact, a copy. Of course we all know that when it comes to policy Trump has a penchant for misinformation, but to lie in such a circumstance when it should have been so obvious the truth would immediately become clear suggests a perverse instinct for lying on the part of Mr. Trump. And the insanity of this morning’s rally was only just getting started.
Another incident this morning perfectly illustrated Trump’s schoolyard bully character. A woman in the crowd’s baby began to cry and Trump told her, apparently sincerely, “Don’t worry about that baby, I love babies.” The next time the child cried out, however, Trump venomously attacked the mother, saying “Actually, I was only kidding, you can get that baby out of here!” adding to his supporters with apparent relish for his mean-spirited sarcasm, “I think she really believed me that I love having a baby crying while I’m speaking!”
As all this was going on, a ten year-old child in the crowd was reportedly standing up and yelling, “Take the bitch down!” every time Hillary Clinton was mentioned. Needless to say, he did not receive any chastisement from Trump, much less the sort of mockery he unleashed on a struggling mother and her baby. That an innocent child should be speaking with such hatred is the inevitable result of the toxic and dangerous culture of ritualized hatred for Mrs. Clinton that has developed among many Republicans and Trump supporters in particular. The vitriol and senselessness of this anger makes it obvious that its source is pure misogyny, and a ‘party of family values’ crowd encouraging a ten year-old to use sexist slurs does nothing to dissuade this view.
For any normal presidential candidate, any one of these individual incidents would have become a significant scandal. For Trump, having shed as he has all semblance of civility, compassion, and truth, it was just another day.
A few videos of the insanity:
James DeVinne is a student at American University in Washington, DC majoring in International Service with a focus on the Middle East and South Asia. He is a founding member of Occupy Baltimore and interns at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.