For a show biz guy, Donald Trump doesn’t seem to know the first law of the Hollywood jungle and that is: You never, ever show that you’re desperate. Ask any actor, they’ll tell you, when you’re desperate for a part, you don’t get it. Success breeds success, failure breeds more failure. At last night’s town hall desperation poured off Trump like flop sweat — as opposed to Joe Biden, who was calm, cool and collected. Plus, Trump’s hostility level was one that would be unacceptable in an interview for any line of work, and unconscionable in a candidate for public office, let alone president of the United States. The moment when he was asked about his refusal to denounce white supremacy was the low light of the evening, at least for me.

This was Trump the unteachable, Trump the unchangeable, self-immolating at full blast. You could almost smell the gasoline and the match. So of course his enablers were greatly concerned and they got on the case right away.

Talk about a misfire, this is a real howler. Mister Rogers is universally beloved. If Joe Biden was coming across as Mister Rogers, Sweet Jesus, we have reached the promised land! Thank you, Mercedes Schlapp! So what is your point, that you felt you were watching a benign, relatable, compassionate individual, like Mister Rogers, and America is better off with your psycho boss? Or something?

Whatever nerve Schlapp intended to hit, she missed it by a country mile.

I hope Schlapp keeps coming up with more of these in the next 18 days, Biden/Harris can always use favorable comparisons, especially coming straight from within the belly of the beast, which is what this White House currently is.

To flip back to the other side of the cultural split screen that America saw last night, Trump was the insane uncle and then some. Here’s a sampling of what he had to say about QAnon and his deranged Navy Seal tweet earlier in the week.

Savannah Guthrie: (18:15)
All right, while we’re denouncing, let me ask you about QAnon. It is this theory that Democrats are a satanic pedophile ring and that you are the savior, of that. Now can you just, once and for all, state that that is completely not true, and-….

President Trump: (18:37)
I know nothing about QAnon.

Savannah Guthrie: (18:39)
I just told you.

President Trump: (18:41)
I know very little. You told me, but what you tell me, doesn’t necessarily make it fact. I hate to say that. I know nothing about it. I do know they are very much against pedophilia. They fight it very hard. But I know nothing about it. If you’d like me to-

Savannah Guthrie: (18:54)
They believe that it is a Satanic cult run by the deep state.

President Trump: (18:57)
… study the subject. I’ll tell you what I do know about. I know about Antifa,….

[…]

Savannah Guthrie: (20:20Just this week, you retweeted to your 87 million followers, a conspiracy theory that Joe Biden orchestrated to have SEAL Team Six, the Navy SEAL Team Six, killed to cover up the fake death of Bin Laden. Now, why would you send a lie like that to your followers?

President Trump: (20:35)
I know nothing about it, can I [crosstalk 00:20:36]-

Savannah Guthrie: (20:35)
You retweeted it.

President Trump: (20:38)
That was a retweet. That was an opinion of somebody-

Savannah Guthrie: (20:40)
But-

President Trump: (20:41)
…. and that was a retweet. I’ll put it out there. People can decide for themselves. I don’t take a position.

Savannah Guthrie: (20:46)
I don’t get that, you’re the President. You’re not like, someone’s crazy uncle who can just-

I respectfully disagree, he is exactly like someone’s crazy uncle who can do whatever he wants, pee in the punch bowl, and oh, that’s just Uncle Don, he’s a little light in his loafers. But it’s good when he can get out once in a while and be among folks.

Trump’s ludicrous defense, “I don’t take a position,” was another low light of the evening. There is no way that the president of the United States can use an official social media account and be deemed not to be taking a position with it. But what this question/answer riposte proved, and this is chilling, is that Trump is the conspiracy theorist in chief, and the GOP is the CT party. Rick Wilson, Daily Beast:

Chicken Donald got what he asked for last night after ducking the presidential debate for what he’d expected to be the more amenable circumstance of a network town hall. And America saw him as he is, as Gurthrie opened up by pressing him on the key elements remaining in his base, white supremacists and QAnon maniacs, and Trump reeked of desperation not to further embarrass himself as he flailed to recapture his old media magic but instead dispelled once and for all the deeply-held belief that he cannot be bested by a reporter. […]

Guthrie’s questions about QAnon clearly set Trump’s tiny mental gears grinding. Trump knows his most fervent base voters now include an unhealthy leavening of conspiracy nutcases, and he was in on the scam until tonight. He knew he couldn’t denounce them. He couldn’t take the easy, sane path with an answer that might have had a chance of winning back a suburban voter or two who isn’t Q-centric.

QAnon is an infection in the Republican body politics. The infection became a cancer and the cancer metastasized across the Republican Party.

Of course, Trump did manage to bridge to his favorite imaginary boogeyman;

Antifffffaaaaaa and the “radical left.” Antifa was a minor hit this summer during the post-George Floyd unrest, and exists primarily now as fodder for Trump Twitter and for people waiting for the caravans to announce new tour dates.

While Joe Biden was on the other side of the screen talking about policies and plans, Trump was foaming at the mouth, denying the reality of COVID-19, blathering conspiracy theory and disrespecting a woman — and that is the sum and substance of what this administration is about.

There is a third debate still on calendar for October 22. If anybody in the Trump campaign is still functioning mentally, they should call it off, the alternative being another debacle like what happened Thursday night. And that would be fine, actually. Maybe Trump could appear on stage in a coffin, like Bela Lugosi in “Ed Wood” and just nail himself in metaphorically, while the voters bury him for real on November 3.

 

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23 Comments on "Dueling Town Halls Frame “Decision” 2020: Vote For Mister Rogers or Your Insane Uncle?"

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p j evans
Member

Himself only was on TV for an hour.
Joe was there for an hour and a half on TV, and at least a half hour after that, answering questions from people.

pwhitten
Member

I thought that was amazing and just showed how stupid the Trump team had to be to set up that whole thing.
Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out that Biden was still there at 10:30 answering questions; from the video feed, he looked super-happy to be talking to actual voters (respectfully! what an idea!).

Bareshark
Guest

I think we may owe Savannah Guthrie an apology. Most of us were expecting her to roll over for Trump. Instead, she tore through him like spikes through a rubber tire. This may well be the Nixon Vs. Kennedy debates Part 2 in its own weird way.

pwhitten
Member

Major props for the Ed Wood reference and ‘nail himself in metaphorically’. I spat out my tea!

Denis Elliott
Member
I neither watched or taped Trump’s gig. I won’t get over being pissed at NBC (and have already wanted them to dump Chuck Todd who I understand pushed for it) for giving Trump their air time – not just on the main channel (bad, especially since they set up opposite Biden but at least with some cover as another network had the other candidate) but also forcing CNBC and even freaking MSNBC to carry it. If it weren’t for them and their little “reality” TV show with Trump we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now! I gather at… Read more »
Scott Jackson
Guest

I’m a good cook & I believe you should stick a fork in him…hes done. The supreme court won’t bother with a slam dunk. It will be like when Jordan goes to the hoop. Hey out of the phucking way or become a poster.

Bareshark
Guest

Yeah, last night put the period on the sentence, I think. Of course, some folks are saying, “Don’t let your guard down!” Yeah, I get it, you’re still traumatized by the last four years. But a) my guard remains up and b) the guy on the other side of it is running of steam.

mae
Member

Does anyone want to bet on him doing the last debate?

blueman
Member

Let the fool keep talking. They are going to lose Mississippi if the fool keeps it up.

blueman
Member

Espy has twice as much money and is flooding the tv. I see no Trump signs in my town, only Biden and Espy.

Bareshark
Guest

So even money, Blue?

Scott Jackson
Guest

If I were the Biden campaign, I may offer to let him talk the whole time.

Lil Blue Sock
Member

I agree….Joe should walk out on stage with a folding chair, a big bag of popcorn and a tall glass of lemonade, sit down, and just let Trump-O immolate himself.

Scott Jackson
Guest

All he would need to do to rewind the crazy clock is occasionally hold up Hillary’s picture. Oh what a great idea u have.

Opalllama
Guest

He should also bring a fly swatter, just in case… 🙂

martin
Guest

A little OT, but I was just reading Charlie Pierce, and realized that if I allow myself, I feel like I’m riding a max roller coaster that’s not buckled down properly! And I’m ready to exit! ANYTIME!!!! Come on Jan 21st!

underwriter505
Guest

Two words: Mary Trump.

Bareshark
Guest

And one word from her on the subject of crazy old uncles: “Actually…”

Concinnity
Guest

Mary Trump.

The literal expert on crazy uncles.

Lil Blue Sock
Member

The “crazy uncle” line was the best of the night. The funniest part was how it sailed 10 feet over Dumb Quixote’s head.

Carol O
Guest

It’s like at the first ‘debate’, tRump had no reaction whatever to Joe calling him a liar, but boy, did he get PO’ed at the word smart. What a moron.

amelia445
Guest