Last Friday, Donald Trump was hustled down through the sub-sub-basement of the White House into a bunker intended to keep officials safe in case of the most dire circumstances. In this case, “dire” meant peaceful protesters lined up outside the gates of the White House the way protesters had done a thousand times in the past.
The difference wasn’t in what was happening outside—it was in the level of fear inside. Trump’s reaction was one of extreme fear. And when news that Trump had been cowering behind concrete and steel at the thought of facing people calling for, gulp, racial justice, became public, Trump reacted swiftly … by sending thousands of federal forces to blast peaceful protesters with tear gas, rubber bullets, and other “nonlethal” weapons. Trump’s toughness didn’t stop there. He called in thousands of troops. Scratch that—tens of thousands of troops, including the insignia-free forces of Who the Hell Knows to put between himself and people who might not cheer his presence. Then he ordered a fence built around the fence that protects the White House. Then he ordered a fence built around that fence.
And on Thursday morning, Trump is still expanding his ring of fear with a fence, around the fence, around the fence, around the fence that protects the White House.
When Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced on Wednesday that the federal troops Trump had called into the capital were being sent back to their bases, he was quickly overruled. Those troops aren’t going anywhere. Neither are the thousands of Feiglingtruppen—nameless, rankless men in a variety of paramilitary uniforms, some of whom have been identified as shock teams used to break up prison riots.
But even thousands of armed troops, helicopters, and the whole of the Secret Service aren’t enough to quell Trump’s fears of the American public. Where normally there is a fence that allows protesters to stand just outside the grounds of the White House and chant, shout, or sing their causes few a few hundred yards away, on Tuesday Trump had a fence built a full block away, completely blocking the public from Lafayette Park and St. John’s Church—just so he can walk across the street and hold someone’s Bible upside down any time he wants.
Then on Wednesday, Trump had a second fence built around that fence, using still more troops to fill in the gaps, pushing people another block away from the White House on all fronts. And in between the fences, Trump’s unidentified forces constructed a pair of lower barricades. So that should anyone decided to slip past this expanded perimeter, they would literally face multiple hurdles just to reach the next fence. Which is the fence around the original fence.
And on Thursday morning, more truckloads of fencing have arrived in the area as Trump prepares to place even more obstacles between himself and American citizens. And there is every sign that this isn’t meant to be just a temporary feature until this unfortunate period of people demanding their dignity has passed. Trump is backing up these new fences with concrete barricades, in case … who knows? Actions taken out of blind fear don’t have to make sense.
Trump is so damned terrified of Americans that he is turning the White House into a medieval castle, protected by ring after ring after ring of hardware, and thousands of ranked, armed, and armored warriors, protecting him against … what? Hearing an unpleasant word? Seeing an unflattering sign? Hearing a less-than-supportive chant?
In any case, what the Bunker King is doing as he sits in the center of his fortress of fear is to demonstrate cowardice on a scale rarely seen in the world. Other residents of the White House have left it to successors to construct their monuments, but Trump is making his own: the great wall of gutlessness.
In addition to the new fencing, which now extends past the EEOB down 17th Street, @abdallahCNN reports that additional concrete barriers have been installed behind existing fencing at 17th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW pic.twitter.com/aoULVLNFF8
— Betsy Klein (@betsy_klein) June 4, 2020