It’s been another busy week for the president’s allies, though not necessarily for the president. Donald Trump has carved out an enviable role for himself, tweeting errant thoughts that set the agenda for the day and conscripting his supporters in media and politics into a feverish effort to convince Americans that those musings are part of a broader governing program. For all their promises, though, that governing program never seems to materialize.
The latest in this tiresome series occurred over the weekend when the president caught a clip of Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings castigating Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan over the conditions in detention centers housing illegal migrants. Cummings’s West Baltimore district was “FAR WORSE and more dangerous,” the president tweeted, than American detention facilities. Maryland’s 7th district is a “dangerous” and “filthy” place, he added; “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” Predictably, Democrats insisted that Trump’s ego-fueled missive was not impulse and id but a calculated effort to divide the country along racial lines. Unconvincing as that might be, the right is just as invested in retrofitting a rationale onto the backend of a Trump tweet, if only to justify the efforts they devote to defending it.