Does Trump still care about his base?
If you’re a white supremacist, racist, or just feeling insecure about your status as a white man in America, the president of the United States sure wants you to know, he’s got your back.
Over the past few weeks, President Trump has stoked racial divisions by making steady, clumsy and unsubtle overtures to his white nationalist supporters.
Most recently, he retweeted a video that showed a Trump supporter twice shouting “white power” at anti-racism protesters in Florida. His advisers eventually compelled him to take down the impolitic retweet.
But he’s also tweeted videos of black-on-white crime to discredit charges of systemic white racism; vigorously defended Confederate generals; opposed efforts to rename military bases after people who weren’t racist supporters of slavery; tear-gassed anti-racism peaceful protesters, and used racialized language harkening back to the 1960s to threaten protesters.
Just a cursory perusal of Trump’s obvious outreach to defenders of white culture and power would lead anyone to believe without a shadow of a doubt: He must really, really like these guys.
But just how much Trump cares about anyone besides himself is a question that’s truly being put to the test right now.
It started with COVID-19. Trump’s utter incompetence as a leader during a global pandemic quickly turned a health crisis into a mouth-breathing culture war, one he seemed all too pleased to indulge.
He turned his base against medical experts, pushed their unfounded conspiracy theories, underplayed the severity of the virus and leaned into economic insecurities over remaining vigilant.
This has put his own voters in danger. The bizarre and tragically stupid anti-mask movement he champions by defiantly and childishly refusing to wear one threatens the very lives of his own supporters and their communities.
His campaign was reportedly seen removing thousands of social-distancing signs from his Tulsa rally to prevent the optics of empty seats — unsuccessfully, it turned out, as only 6,200 people showed up at the 19,200-seat venue. Eight of his own campaign staffers who attended have since tested positive for the coronavirus.