When Donald Trump is energized by a rabid crowd of shouting, mostly maskless supporters, like he was last night at a COVID regulation-defying campaign rally in North Carolina, he’s liable to ad-lib just about anything as his off-the-cuff monologues range further and further down the path towards incoherent ramblings.
In these situations, it’s often difficult to determine whether the president’s most outrageous comments are part of a pre-planned campaign strategy or merely random sparks generated from a malevolent consciousness burning with fear and panic over his dismal polling numbers and the prospect of post-presidential prosecution.
Trump’s attacks on Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), the Democratic nominee for vice president last night, however, seem to be yet another calculated bet that he can attract enough votes by appealing to the racism and misogyny of a portion of the American electorate to repeat the victory with a minority of the popular vote that he pulled off with the assistance of Vladimir Putin in 2016.
Trump couldn’t be more clear with his reprehensible bigotry as he told his slobbering crowd that it would be “an insult to our country” if Kamala Harris became the nation’s first female president.
“People don’t like her. Nobody likes her. She could never be the first woman president. She could never be. That would be an insult to our country,” the president spewed as the MAGA-hatted audience cheered him on.
President Trump trashes Sen. Kamala Harris: "People don't like her. Nobody likes her. She could never be the first woman President. That would be an insult to our country." pic.twitter.com/VUyr3uAmVK
— The Hill (@thehill) September 8, 2020
While Trump never explicitly explains the reasons for his assertion about the likeability of the California senator, it doesn’t take much of a stretch of the imagination to conclude that Harris’ race and gender play a large part in the president’s assessment.
In past public appearances, Trump has condemned Senator Harris as “not competent,” as he said about her at a New Hampshire rally a couple of weeks ago. He has also frequently included her in that pantheon of “nasty” Democratic women that he frequently compares in a regressively sexist manner to the tough politicians who dominate a Republican party drenched in toxic masculinity.
The president has also lent momentary credence to scurrilous suggestions that Harris was not eligible to serve as vice president in a repeat performance of the birther theories he used to attack President Barack Obama in order to propel his political ambitions.
“I just heard that. I heard it today, that she doesn’t meet the requirements,” Trump said last month after reading an ill-informed op-ed that was published in Newsweek. “And by the way, the lawyer that wrote that piece is a very highly qualified, talented lawyer.”
Trump was pilloried mercilessly by Democrats for that last conspiracy attempt.
Let’s hope that this latest attack is called out for being the racist, sexist dog whistle that it most obviously is and that it further alienates the female voters who have already been turned away from supporting his candidacy because of his offensive and nationally destructive behavior.
Original reporting by Brett Samuels at The Hill.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.