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Trump's vile tweet shows he's an abnormal president

By Rex Huppke, Tribune Content Agency on

Why do you keep writing about Donald Trump? Why don't you give it a rest?

I hear that from some readers. And on Sunday morning, once again, the president of the United States provided me with an answer.

Trump retweeted an internet meme, a video of him taking a golf swing that then cuts to video of Hillary Clinton stumbling as she enters a jet. The video was edited so it looks like a golf ball hits the former secretary of state in the back, causing her to fall down.

Get it? Trump hit a former first lady in the back with a golf ball. That's apparently funny enough that the president of the United States of America saw fit to share it with his 38.5 million Twitter followers.

It gets worse. The tweet containing the video was posted by a user with the totally respectable name @Fuctupmind.

As I'm sure the leader of the free world would never retweet a person without carefully reviewing that person's background, I'll assume Trump is cool with the content of these other tweets sent by that same user:

Nov. 29, 2016: "Please get rid of the Hasidic Jews. They are the worst people on the planet. They have taken over areas in NY right by me."

April 8, 2017: "Sometimes you have to be a dead Muslim, sometimes you don't. #MuslimBan"

May 31, 2017, referencing the video of Clinton stumbling: "The bitch needs a kickstand. I'm inventing the #Clinton Kickstand. Poor man's patent."

June 28, 2017: "Susan Rice, stop trying to bait. No one cares your vagina is black. We care that you're an unmasking criminal dirt bag. Race card over."

July 26, 2017: "Here is one reason the transgender ban needs to be enforced. Stop burdening tax payers with your mixed up gender identity problems."

If someone on the internet wants to express opinions that I view as anti-Semitic, Islamaphobic, sexist, racist and transphobic, that's that person's right. If that person wants to share a video that shows Trump whacking Clinton with a golf ball, I would think it's unfunny and makes light of violence against women, but it would still be that individual's right.

But what about when the president of the United States, the person whose job it is to represent all Americans, shares the video and, in doing so, embraces the person who holds those opinions? That's a problem, and if you can't acknowledge that -- if you can't denounce it on its face without qualification -- then you're no better than the troll whose tweet that Trump shared.

Some -- mainly men -- will laugh off this video. Remember back when we heard the audiotape of the president saying of women, "You can do anything. Grab 'em by the pussy"? We were told that's just "locker-room talk."

So some will call the golf video a joke. They'll say those of us offended by it should lighten up.

 

And you'll hear me say: Nope. Not going to happen.

Because it isn't normal for a president to share that kind of imagery. It isn't acceptable, and if you think it is, please tell me how you would've responded if President Barack Obama retweeted a video that showed him knocking Nancy Reagan over with a golf ball.

I'm a nobody, but please tell me what you would do if I tweeted a video that showed me swinging a bat and hitting First Lady Melania Trump in the back with a baseball.

Comedian Kathy Griffin was appropriately denounced for sharing a photo of herself holding a decapitated and bloody Trump head. It was unfunny and disgusting. If Trump tweeted a photo of himself holding a decapitated and bloody Clinton head, would his supporters be equally outraged?

We shouldn't need to ask these questions. We shouldn't need to have these conversations. And I shouldn't feel the need to write these columns.

But here we are.

Why do I keep writing about this president? Because he keeps doing things that are not normal.

And the moment we start ignoring those things, the moment people like me listen to the "Why don't you lay off Trump?" crowd and opt to write about something else, is the moment Trump's unacceptable behavior starts to become OK.

I'm trying to raise my children to respect women, and everyone else. Having a president who slings childish insults without consequence, who promotes random online racists and misogynists without apology, doesn't help.

And that's why I won't give it a rest.

Nobody expects a president to be perfect. But we're in deep trouble if we start accepting one who is no better than than the angry and anonymous trolls he retweets.

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(Rex Huppke is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune and a noted hypocrisy enthusiast. You can email him at rhuppke@tribune.com or follow him on Twitter at @RexHuppke.)

 

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