While thousands of Americans are still missing in the wake of Hurricane Michael and floods were spreading across four states, Donald Trump rushed to … Ohio to hold another rally. Improbably, in a northern state that lost tens of thousands fighting in the Civil War, Donald Trump devoted part of his speech to praising Robert E. Lee. And immediately after his praise for the slave-owning Confederate general, Trump called on black Americans to “honor” Republicans with their vote in November.
As the Washington Post reports, Trump gave a prolonged — and highly inaccurate — version of Abraham Lincoln’s statements about Lee, and about Union general and future president Ulysses Grant. Grant, an actual Ohio native, was described by Trump as “an alcoholic” while Lee was praised as “a great general.”
Then, incredibly, while describing Neil Armstrong, Trump went where no racist had gone before.
Trump: He’s the man that planted the flag on the face of the moon. . . . There was no kneeling, there was no nothing, there was no games, boom.
But Trump’s extraterrestrial racism in using the Apollo program to make a dig at athletes protesting police violence against blacks didn’t stop him from them returning to insisting that “I think we’re going to get the African American vote, and it’s true.” Because there’s nothing like talking up the traitor who headed the largest army defending slavery and using one of America’s proudest moments to disparage African American leadership to bring in black votes.
As with most speeches, much of Trump’s rhetoric was dark and threatening, with claims that electing Democrats would lead to “massive crime,” gang violence and invading hordes of undocumented immigrants. In discussing the local congressional race, Trump accused Democratic candidate Richard Cordray, the former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, by saying “He was hurting people and I think he enjoyed it. No really, I think he enjoyed it.”
It’s not clear that Trump mentioned anything about Hurricane Michael, the Americans who lost their lives to the storm, the damage spreading across the Southeast, or the ongoing efforts to locate those still missing.
Trump also made time in his speech to praise the White House visit from Kanye West … which makes this old tweet seem particularly worth revisiting. That tweet came more than a week after Sandy hit the Northeast. According to his schedule, Trump will have managed half a dozen rallies over that period.
Yesterday Obama campaigned with JayZ & Springsteen while Hurricane Sandy victims across NY & NJ are still decimated by Sandy. Wrong!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
When it comes to the moon, it actually took both Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong to erect the flag kit from Apollo 11 and there was a lot of kneeling, twisting, grunting, and general effort to get the balky telescoping rod to open and get it—just barely—planted into the powdery surface. If not for the fact that both men were aware their every breath was being recorded for posterity, it likely would have also taken quite a bit of swearing. Aldrin called the effort “nearly a public relations disaster.” The reason that the flag on Apollo 11 looks like its waving in a breeze isn’t some clever bit of engineering or, as conspiracy theorists would have it, evidence that the landing was faked. It’s because the rod holding out the flag was bent in the process and the two men could never get it to extend all the way.
Planting that flag also wasn’t some spontaneous bit of patriotism on the part of the astronauts. Congress actually passed a law requiring them to put it there, even though creating the flag kit and working out how it should be stored and deployed diverted resources from other parts of the program.
And Aldrin reports that the flag was blown over when the Lunar Module from Apollo 11 took off. So even the flag is kneeling.
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