Trump is too loony even for Laura Ingraham
September 1, 2020 at 2:33 p.m. CDT
President Trump, during an interview on Monday with Fox News’s Laura Ingraham, a spin artist for the president and a purveyor of anti-immigrant sentiment, claimed that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is controlled by mysterious people. (Disclaimer: I am an MSNBC contributor.)
In concocting his tale, Trump fantasized of “people that you’ve never heard of, people that are in the dark shadows.” Ingraham, as though trying her best to stop his self-immolation, responded, “That sounds like conspiracy theory.” No luck. Trump continued: “They are people that are on the streets, they’re people that are controlling the streets. We had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend. And in the plane, it was almost completely loaded with thugs, wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear and this and that.” This is simply bonkers.
Ingraham then stopped him from digging himself a deeper hole when he suggested police who kill unarmed people are akin to a golfer missing a three-foot putt. “But they choke, just like in a golf tournament, they miss a three-foot [putt],” Trump said.
Ingraham leaped in: “You’re not comparing it to golf, because that’s what the media [would say].” In other words, actual reporters would recognize what he was saying was morally offensive and so lacking in self-awareness as to suggest Trump cannot even fake normal behavior.
Trump had no one around him on Tuesday to stage an intervention, so he repeated his gibberish: "A person was on a plane, said there were about six people like that person, more or less, and what happened is the entire plane filled up with the looters, the anarchists, rioters — people that were obviously looking for trouble,” Trump insisted.
“And the person felt very uncomfortable on the plane.” He added: "This would be a person you know. So I will see whether or not I can get that person. I’ll let them know, and I can see whether or not I can get that person to speak to you,” he said. “This was a firsthand account of a plane going from Washington to wherever.” “Wherever” is the sort of filler you use when your lie becomes too absurd to add any more detail.
The unparalleled Daniel Dale from CNN dubbed Trump’s people-on-the-plane story as “almost too stupid to fact-check,” before issuing a reminder that Trump is infamous for his unfounded and bizarre conspiracy theories (e.g., former president Barack Obama wasn’t born in America; windmills cause cancer).
In a normal time, with a functioning Republican Party and a patriotic vice president, this might be the end of Trump’s campaign and an invitation to invoke the 25th Amendment. We, unfortunately, have spineless sycophants in the GOP and a zombie-like vice president who feels compelled to show allegiance to a president plainly unfit to hold office. Likewise, in most families, there would be a family meeting to stop him from embarrassing himself. (Perhaps not in families where its members stand to inherit millions of dollars.) No chance of that, but the thesis from the president’s niece, Mary Trump, that there is something seriously wrong with him looks pretty unassailable.
Surely, some excuse will emerge. Maybe Trump was “just joking." Maybe Republicans will actually insist the president was telling the truth, making them also sound like they’ve also gone around the bend. The real sin here is the right-wing media that keep protecting Trump, the pundits who will argue it does not matter what he says, and the Republicans too timid to stand up to someone incapable of doing the job. It does not help that the mainstream media pulls its punches.
Something is really, really wrong — and those pretending that it is not are endangering the country and our democracy.