Donald Trump gave the campaign rally thing a second try Tuesday night, but instead of trying for hundreds of thousands in the audience, he spoke at an Arizona megachurch in front of an audience of about 3,000 mostly unmasked “Students for Trump.” That’s slightly less than the 3,591 positive coronavirus tests Arizona reported Tuesday—a record for the state. Rally organizers also didn’t do temperature checks on the crowd.
As usual, it’s a tough call as to what the worst thing Trump said was. He railed against democracy and in particular mail-in voting, he claimed the coronavirus is “going away,” he said “lock them up” of Black Lives Matter protesters who tried to take down monuments to slavers. His audience loved it. While that mask-less audience cheered and shouted, in addition to Arizona’s 3,591 new COVID-19 cases, the state reported 42 new deaths and its highest levels of hospitalizations and ICU beds and ventilators in use.
Trump’s attack on voting by mail included the suggestion that postal carriers might be robbed of ballots and forged, or: “Will they be counterfeited, maybe by the millions, by foreign powers who don’t want to see Trump win because nobody has been tougher on trade or making our country great again?”
The claim—coming from a man who was helped into office by foreign election interference—that foreign nations might try to turn the election against him was not the only massive piece of projection that Trump engaged in Tuesday night. He threatened that the “left-wing mob” was trying to impose a “new repressive regime that they alone control” in “the behavior of totalitarians and tyrants.” The left, Trump said, “have one goal: The pursuit of their own political power, for whatever reason.” What Trump and his fellow Republicans are trying to do, he accuses Democrats of.
Trump, who had earlier in the day visited a border wall construction site, claimed, falsely, that “we marked the completion of over 220 miles of brand-new, beautiful border wall.”
And, in case one nativist rant wasn’t enough, Trump again went to racist messaging on COVID-19, of which he complained that “[i]t’s got all different names.” Names like “’Wuhan.’ ‘Wuhan’ was catching on. ‘Coronavirus,’ right?” At that point an audience member yelled out the slur Trump had used Saturday night and Trump echoed it back.
Let’s take a look at what really comes out of his mouth as opposed to short phrases that give Trump the appearance of more coherence than reality.
“’Kung flu,’ yeah. ‘COVID.’ ‘COVID-19.’ ‘COVID.’ I said, ‘What’s the ‘19’?’ ‘COVID-19.’ Some people can’t explain what the 19—give me the—‘COVID-19.’ I said, ‘That’s an odd name.’ I could give you many, many names. Some people call it the ‘Chinese flu,’ the ‘China flu.’ Right? They call it the ‘China,’ as opposed to ‘Chi-’—the ‘China.’ I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Does he not remember that it is 2020 and therefore last year was 2019? Because CO(rona) VI(rus) D(isease) 2019, dude.
This is Trump in campaign rally mode—in his element. He’s going back for as many more fixes as he can get, and Tuesday night made it obvious that rising novel coronavirus rates are not going to get in his way any more than the facts ever do.