When a white supremacist shot up an El Paso Walmart yesterday and murdered twenty innocent Americans in the process, it was Donald Trump’s fault. Moreover, the shooter’s rhetoric was so closely aligned with Trump’s own rhetoric, particularly with another mass shooting in Dayton later in the day, most Americans have quickly surmised that what was going wrong was Trump’s fault. What stands out now is that Trump himself knows that this is being seen as his fault.
Donald Trump’s only tweets last night and this morning were conciliatory ones. Not only did he say (weak generic versions of) the right things about the shootings, he hasn’t posted any of his usual bellicose rants and raves about other topics. Trump has simply gone quiet.
Trump has also ordered that flags be placed at half staff over the shootings. It’s another move that Trump certainly doesn’t want to make, doesn’t even know how to make, and yet he’s letting his handlers do the bare minimum right things on his behalf. Not because they’re the right things, but because Trump is scared to death about how this is going to blow back on him.
It’s a matter of time before Donald Trump reverts to his core self and begins saying and tweeting ignorant and divisive things. He always does. But for now, Trump’s behavior tells us that he’s truly rattled about what this might do to what’s left of his presidency.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report