Ever since the campaign, at one time or another we have claimed the “bridge too far” moment in what Trump has said and done, and been proven wrong every time. Along the way, most of us resigned ourselves that there was an unshakable base of 35-40% that would follow him to the gates of hell. Time will tell, but this time I’m not so sure.
Trump’s lightening announcement that he was signing an executive order mandating that immigrant families and children be kept together was not only sudden, it was unexpected. Reporters in the west wing early this morning were reporting that staffers were still gearing up for war, and that Trump’s stance on this issue was unchanged.
Trump at a meeting in the cabinet room may as well be by himself. He dominates the press spray portion, rambling at length. Today, he kept his eyes mostly on the table, his voice had none of it’s usual bluster as he announced his decision, and immediately afterwards, he opened the table to his GOP Senate lackeys to cheer him up. When he ushered the press out, he hugged his arms so tightly he cur off the blood flow to his hands. His signing ceremony was the same, a quite, almost lost Trump, contradicting himself, and looking down at the desk while his human tube of Preparation H, Mike Pence, praised his “compassion.” This was nothing more or less than a total and complete surrender, and it came off that way.
Trump’s entire mystique with his rabid base is that he’s a strong man, he’s a forceful man. He is the anointed one, the great truth teller, he is the rock against which all opposing waves crash. Their slogan could well be, “Trump doesn’t back down, he doubles down!” Trump says what he means, and he means what he says dammit!
How will they take today? Hell, it’s not like he hasn’t had to “reverse course” before, and without losing a vote. He does it the same way. He bellows, he pounds the table, he finds others to blame, and he proclaims victory even when he’s backing down. He gets away with it because he knows that as long as he claims victory at the top of his lungs, his Trombies will believe that he won. As with everything in his life, for Trump it’s all in the perception and the image, just like an episode of The Apprentice.
Watch the video slips on the news tonight. There was none of his usual bluff, bluster, and imperious command. Trump never raised his voice once, and he seldom looked directly into the camera to make eye contact with his disciples. He used conciliatory terms like “humanity,” and “compassion.” He even let slip that Ivanka and Melania had been chewing his head off. How will turn his sexist pig supporters like him having his mind changed by a bunch of whiny wimmin? He didn’t even look at his boot lickers approvingly, nodding his head while they praised him, he just looked down at the table. He was a whipped dog.
I wouldn’t be surprised if FOX doesn’t even show the video tonight, just announce the EO, and praising Glorious Bleater for his kindness. The optics and visuals from his total capitulation today are that bad.
There is no polite way to say this, Trump totally got his ass kicked today. And worse yet, he didn’t even try to cover it up. If there’s anything every school kid learns, it’s the fact that a bully tends to lose his entourage pretty quick if he gets bopped in the snoot by the kid with the pocket protector. Trump built his whole image among his most loyal supporters by being the one immovable object in the universe. It will be interesting to see how they react when they see him rolling down the hill, engulfed in flames.