This past week, President Trump campaigned before a raucous MAGA-hat-wearing crowd in Great Falls, Montana. Nearly 7,000 watched. Thousands more were earlier turned away. While Trump’s official reason for the visit was to help ouster Democrat U.S. Senator John Tester, who played a key role in derailing Trump’s pick for V.A. Secretary, the President took the opportunity to play to a national audience.
Enter U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. President Trump regularly calls the Oval Office hopeful “Pocahontas” for the self-serving lie she continues to maintain, somehow with a straight face. Despite her earlier claims to the contrary, Warren is in no way Native American. Everyone knows it. But she refuses to own up to her dishonesty. No apologies. No clarification. No DNA test to confirm her claims.
Other than the comedic value of watching Warren’s embarrassing effort to sanctimoniously gaslight a nation and appropriate to herself an ethnic background that does not exist, I have little interest; politicians lie all the time. This episode of race-exploitation just happens to be so hilariously transparent and blatant, Trump’s bully pulpit exposes her charade effortlessly with a literal million dollar offer: Warren can simply take a DNA test, prove her claimed heritage, and the money is hers. (Unsurprisingly, Trump tossed in an awkward and unnecessary reference minimizing the #MeToo movement, which became the story.)
Of course it was a stunt. Trump would never risk a million dollars on Elizabeth Warren. Trump is clearly in his element toying like this with his political opponents. He treats the media similarly. He finds their weakness. He knows what triggers them. Then he acts on it. He has an astonishing ability to power through media firestorms of opposition. Sure, they hate him for his politics. They hate him for his crass style — or so they say. But perhaps the largest source of media hatred of Donald Trump is that they cannot control or subdue him. They despise his insusceptibility.
Some of the most pious, kind-hearted, salt-of-the-earth people I know cheer Trump on, to my surprise. Trump lies. Trump has a coarseness not typical of an American president. He comes with a checkered moral history. It’s like one of those personality-swap movies. The people who normally care about personal morality and decency, suddenly don’t — and those who typically don’t, suddenly do. So why do people with uncommon decency support someone like Donald Trump?
It would be too easy to just call everyone a selective hypocrite. I have a slightly different theory. Trump is the unvarnished dragon-slayer in a time of dimming morality. In a time when traditional patriotism was increasingly treated as xenophobic nationalism, someone strong came along and reminded us that it’s ok to love your country. When the narrative was catching on that border security is racist and insensitive, we were reminded that every other first-world nation secures their borders with little controversy. We were looking for someone to talk tough to bad geopolitical players, not appease them. We sought someone who would punch against a fundamentally dishonest and agenda-driven media. We wanted someone who could understand that hard working individuals — not the government — build businesses and create jobs. We wanted someone who would dismantle a predecessor’s pathetic legacy of lousy and oppressive policy built on the hollow promises of good intentions.
We wanted all of that, and we found it.
So, yes, Donald Trump is indeed flawed. There’s no illusion about that. He’s unorthodox, uncouth, and usually unpredictable. But he fights, and he wins. And each week as the accomplishments mount, he appears more and more unstoppable.
Associated Press award-winning columnist Neal Larson of Idaho Falls writes at www.neallarson.com. He is also the author of “Living in Spin.” He is a conservative talk show host on KID Newsradio 106.3 and 92.1, and also at www.kidnewsradio.com. “The Neal Larson Show” can be heard weekday mornings from 8:00 to 10:00. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.