Most of us knew the Republican National Convention was going to be deeply weird before we tuned in; expecting normalcy from this kind of event is like opening your mouth next to a UV light and expecting it to cure you of coronavirus. Nevertheless, what we saw tonight was so especially weird that it’s worth discussing beyond the usual, “Wow, was that a fever dream?” or, “Did you get anything from that word salad?” Because this was a glimpse of what we’re in for over the next four years if Trump continues the usual trend and wins himself a second term — and it’s both darkly funny and horribly dangerous.
Who to mention first? Natalie Harp, the woman who survived a diagnosis of terminal bone cancer because of experimental treatment and who claimed that “when Democrats say free healthcare, they mean marijuana, opioids” and “death panels” for the disabled? Representative Matt Gaetz, who referred to Democrats as “woketopians” (what?) ready to “disarm you, unlock the prisons” and “invite MS13 to live nextdoor” (a racist dog-whistle if ever I heard one)? The speaker opening the convention who reeled off a list of “Democrat policies” which would harm the country, none of which were actual Democrat policies? Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley saying that “Joe Biden is good for Iran and Isis, great for communist China”? Don Jr claiming that “the left” is trying to “cancel” the Founding Fathers? The nurse from a 2,000-person town in Virginia who said “I don’t want the media taking my story and twisting it so let me be clear: Donald Trump saved countless lives” during the pandemic, as the death rate surpassed 177,000? Or perhaps the St Louis couple who famously pointed their guns at Black Lives Matter protesters showing up to complain they’re facing charges and claim Democrats want to “abolish the suburbs”? Oh, I don’t know, Mom, don’t make me choose!
Now we know why convalescent plasma was suddenly given FDA approval this morning: it was central to quite a few speeches vaunting Trump as the hero of Covid-19 (“without him, millions would have died,” said Natalie Harp, without irony.) The fact that this important medical turning-point was timed perfectly for the beginning of the Republican convention really should give us all pause. Plenty have opined that a vaccine might be rushed through right before Election Day in November for the same reasons. Trump’s buddy Vladimir Putin made a similar PR move himself in August, announcing that the country had won the race for an inoculation despite the fact that only 24 percent of Russian doctors say they would take the vaccine themselves — so, y’know, it has precedent. Still, it beats injecting bleach into your veins.
Read the whole thing at The Independent.
Many people who watched the proceedings thought Donald Trump Jr. looked stoned during his convention speech.
Quietly, Guilfoyle has become a key figure in the preservation and furthering of Trumpism. This week, the journalist Jason Zengerle wrote in the Times Magazine that Guilfoyle and Donald, Jr., “have become fund-raising powerhouses,” helping to amass the war chest that is keeping Trump—despite a pandemic, an economic crisis, and widespread civil unrest—within at least striking distance of a win in November. In early March, in what might go down as one of the final pre-pandemic fêtes of Trump’s first term in office, Guilfoyle celebrated her fifty-first birthday during a big donor retreat at Mar-a-Lago, the President’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida. “It was like a Gatsbyesque extravaganza,” one guest told Zengerle. The President stood by Guilfoyle as the crowd of a hundred people sang “Happy Birthday.” Afterward, Trump kissed her on the head. “Four more years!” Guilfoyle shouted.
On Monday, Guilfoyle shouted some more things. Earlier in the day, the Trump campaign held a call with reporters, one of whom asked whether Guilfoyle, in her prerecorded speech, might go after Kamala Harris, the California senator and Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee. (Guilfoyle was formerly married to California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has been described as Harris’s political “sibling.”) The campaign demurred, not wanting to give anything away. But the expectation that Guilfoyle might be deployed in some kind of surgical political strike proved misguided. At the podium, she delivered a short speech whose tone might be described as high-key dystopian. Going into the Convention, the Trump campaign had suggested that it was looking to strike a note of sunny optimism. Guilfoyle’s speech wasn’t it. “They want to destroy this country, and everything that we have fought for and hold dear,” she said. “They want to steal your liberty, your freedom. They want to control what you see and think, and believe, so that they can control how you live! They want to enslave you to the weak, dependent, liberal, victim ideology, to the point that you will not recognize this country or yourself.” Howard Dean’s Presidential aspirations are popularly remembered as falling apart after one misdeployed yelp. On Monday, Guilfoyle went on for six minutes.
Imagine being Gavin Newsom last night. You’re currently dealing with multiple giant fires, an uncontrolled pandemic, and a once in a lifetime economic crisis. You turn on the TV and your ex-wife is addressing a Nuremberg rally along with her boyfriend, Donald Trump Jr.
Colbert was stunned by the speeches from Donald Trump Jr. ― son of President Donald Trump ― and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle. Trump Jr. delivered a sweaty rant that name-checked the Loch Ness Monster while Guilfoyle fired off a screaming speech that had Colbert reaching for the volume control. Or, as Colbert described it, “some very nuanced screams.”
Then he rolled clips of Guilfoyle’s loud address.
“And that wasn’t her only story to shriek,” he said before throwing to footage of her even louder closing lines in which she told viewers that Trump “emancipates you and lifts you up to live your American dream!”
When the camera came back to Colbert, he was in hiding.
“Is the loud lady gone?” he asked as he reemerged. “I’m scared. It’s the first time in my life I’ve had to turn down the volume on C-SPAN. God, I’m glad we already had our kids because I was too close to the TV, I might’ve been sterilized by that.”
Later, Colbert discussed Trump Jr.’s speech. He couldn’t get over “Junior’s sweaty face and wet, bloodshot eyes.”
“Either he’s high or that’s what happens when you live in the splash zone of Screamin’ Guilfoyle,” he said. “Just bring a poncho.”
Tim Scott waxed about his family arc — “from cotton to Congress in one lifetime” — and invoked George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Nikki Haley spoke of her Indian roots and alluded to her decision to take down the Confederate flag. Herschel Walker said he’s seen “racism up close” — and it’s not Donald Trump.
For a president credibly accused of stoking racial fears and divisions throughout his term, Trump, with his choice of speakers, leaned hard into the topic during the first night of his convention on Monday. One Republican after another defended Trump’s record on race, while highlighting Joe Biden’s race-related gaffes and history pushing the 1994 crime bill.
But even as speakers such as Scott and Haley attempted to soften Trump’s image on race — while essentially making the case that the racial justice movement has gone too far in its views of policing — others took a harder-edged tack that undercut the message of inclusion. In an ominous presentation that warned suburbanites that their safety is at risk if Democrats win, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters outside their home in St. Louis, made clear that the president’s outreach would go only so far.
“What you saw happen to us could just as easily happen to any of you who are watching from quiet neighborhoods around our country,” Patricia McCloskey said. “Make no mistake: No matter where you live, your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats’ America.”
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