Trump’s field-tested strategy: Whip up a frenzy, then disavow

Source: Politico | July 18, 2019 | Gabby Orr and Burgess Everett

The president’s latest episode followed a repeated Trump tactic of pushing his rhetoric over the line — and then shrugging off responsibility.

He once encouraged supporters to attack protesters — then claimed to ensure the safety of all Americans.

He mused that Russia should seize his competitor’s emails — then said it was just a joke.

And he whipped his crowd into a frenzy about locking up Hillary Clinton — before insisting post-inauguration that the idea of prosecuting his Democratic opponent is “just not something I feel very strongly about.”

President Donald Trump returned to a familiar tactic Thursday of blaming others for a problem many believe he created, tossing his own base under the bus to deflect outrage from GOP allies on Capitol Hill and beyond.

It’s a throwback to a field-tested Trump playbook: push the rhetoric further than some allies can handle, then tiptoe back to shrug off responsibility.

Days after Trump encouraged four freshman Democrats — Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — in a pair of tweets to “go back” to other countries, his supporters backed him up Wednesday night by chanting “send her back” about Omar, the only one of the four congresswomen who was born outside the United States.

Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, Trump reprimanded his supporters who had launched into the racially incendiary chant at a North Carolina campaign rally. Trump, who said he was “not happy” with the episode, claimed that he tried to stop the crowd by “speaking very quickly,” at no point mentioning that the chant began only seconds after he told the crowd that Omar “looks down with contempt on the hardworking American” and “has a history of launching vicious, anti-Semitic screeds.”

Indeed, the president pushed his adoring audience all the way to the edge and then continued attacking Omar once the chant they started died down. But as more and more Republicans piled onto him Thursday, Trump responded by suggesting it was his audience — not he — who had crossed a line.

“I disagree with it,” he said of the chant.

It is hardly the first time the president has denied involvement in a controversial action or comment that, intentionally or not, he provoked.

At a campaign rally the day of the 2016 Iowa caucuses, then-candidate Trump told his supporters to “knock the crap” out of any protesters — promising to cover their legal fees if they did. But one month later, when an anti-Trump protester was sucker-punched at another rally in Arkansas, his campaign aides said they “obviously discourage this kind of behavior.”

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But Trump has shown no sign of a course correction, despite distancing himself from his supporters’ controversial chant. Even some of his campaign advisers said they worry he will make matters worse while he’s visiting his Bedminster, N.J., golf club this weekend. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are scheduled to speak at a private campaign event there Friday night, while the president‘s schedule for the rest of the weekend is unknown.

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  • Discussion
  •  EVERYDAY #30746

    Most of us nonbelievers are on to Trump’s games, his lies and his childish rhetoric. We know (or at least suspect) why he is what he is and why he does the things he does. There is always some hidden motive or agenda. Much of the time it involves his narcissism, his constant need to be adored. He will do anything — say anything — to get people to trust and adore him. Of course, eventually, he betrays that trust and all that adoration is to his fans’ detriment.

    He also has to hide something. Much of the time he is hiding his true nature. These days he is mostly trying to hide the fact that in his first term, Trump has not kept any of his promises to the voters and in fact, never intended to. Now of course, he will point to those bogus economic figures, declare that he alone is responsible for our economic good times (despite the fact that this country is trillions in debt) and promise that if the voters will just re-elect him, the good times will continue and he will finish what he promised he would do in his first term (and didn’t).

    it’s sad. Had he really intended to “make America great again,” he would have stopped the never-ending silliness on Twitter or his endless rock star tour of this country or his constant need for manufactured crises and controversies, or hanging with his best buds, Putin and Kim, and actually worked to accomplish great things. Instead he messed around and did nothing. Now he has to create these constant distractions to hide the fact that he was nothing more than a pretend president so he can have four more years to continue his reality tv presidency (to the delight and entertainment of his fans).

    I pray to God that someday Trump will be removed from office so we can have sane, normal leadership again. It’s just too bad that he has so many deaf, dumb and blind followers to keep him in power. And too many others in DC are too scared of Trump and his insane followers to bring him down.

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