In the first presidential debate September 29th, President Trump said “sure” when pressed to denounce white supremacy and the Proud Boys. What a powerful statement of personal commitment and certitude!
Similarly, when Trump’s supporters ask whether they like the president, they say “sure.” Couples, asked if they take each other in marriage, say “sure.” Friends, asked whether they like the dinner served to them say “sure.” Jurors, being sworn in to uphold the law, say “sure.” Parents, asked whether they love their children, say “sure.” Yeah… I guess so, why not? Might as well.
After “sure,” his immediate next impulse — to turn to Biden and attack Antifa and the left — reveals his thinking, and as always, it’s deeply rooted in his narcissism. It is just too painful for him to be critical of anyone who seems to like him, because he so craves attention and adulation. He regularly displays this when weirdly answering a question that was not asked by declaring that a group or a foreign authoritarian leader “has said nice things about me.” And if it’s an unpopular source such as David Duke, the KKK, QAnon, or the Proud Boys, he reflexively claims he doesn’t know much about them. So his immediate calculation is that if he must [sort of] criticize his Proud Boys, then Biden has to condemn “Antifa and the left.” It’s a deal, a trade. It’s not about morality, law, ethical considerations, or even what he personally believes, because he doesn’t really believe in anything abstract. It’s only about who likes him and whether he is “a winner.”
“Stand by”? The President of the United States is even willing to encourage election interference and voter intimidation and suppression by a violent vigilante gang (the Proud Boys are not a militia)… because they are on his side. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security labels them as “one of the deadliest threats in the U.S.” Read that again and let it sink in. The Russian trolls must be laughing at how easy their job has become.
Sorry, Mr. Trump, but it’s not enough to say “sure.” Once again, it seems you never learned the most basic of social skills, like how to feign sincerity. If you don’t say it like you mean it… you don’t mean it.
The truth is that he doesn’t even care that we see through him and the nonsense he spouts about ballots that are missing, sold, forged, or found in some unknown river somewhere. Rather, this is a forced pro forma comment grudgingly given so that congressional Republicans have a little cover. Whether it’s them, QAnon, or the Proud Boys, it’s all about who loves him.