Trump's race-baiting pays, as usual
Donald Trump has been president for nearly three years. He's been on Twitter for more than 10. Yet the only thing more surprising than President Trump's increasingly awful, hideously unpresidential, deeply divisive tweets is that we still manage to be surprised by them.
The latest, in which he called the impeachment inquiry against him "a lynching," had the predictable effect: setting our collective hair on fire.
Of course it would -- likening a constitutionally designed political process to the scourge of racial terror lynchings in the 19th and 20th centuries is appalling, insensitive and absurd. A fact which Democratic lawmakers were quick to point out.
Sen. Cory Booker tweeted: "Lynching is an act of terror used to uphold white supremacy. Try again."
Rep. Bobby Rush tweeted, "What the hell is wrong with you? Do you know how many people who look like me have been lynched, since the inception of this country, by people who look like you. Delete this tweet."
And Rep. Will Hurd, the only African-American Republican in the House, said, "It's a crazy statement. It shouldn't have been said, and it shows a level of insensitivity to a horrific period in the history of our country."
Their outrage is understandable. It's also the point.
We're all wise now to the fact that Trump uses Twitter to enrage his enemies and sow the seeds of discord.
My friend and colleague Amanda Carpenter wrote a whole book about it called "Gaslighting America," which walks through the time-tested formula he uses over and over again to withstand his own self-inflicted crises and drive us all crazy in the process.
But one of Trump's most odious qualities is unfortunately one of his most effective: ad hominem race-baiting when he's in trouble.