After witnessing Donald Trump's increasingly erratic and enraged address to a gleeful audience Tuesday night, CNN anchor Don Lemon put into stark words the feelings of surely millions of alarmed viewers.
Holding a campaign rally after less than eight months of occupying the presidency could seem bewildering, but not when the person at the podium is Donald Trump.
But it was the last thing the nation needed.
Rather than the dignity and decorum a president ought to project, and devoid of any shred of remorse or repentance for his heartless, offensive comments after the violent white supremacist riot in Charlottesville, Trump chose instead to dive headfirst into a cesspool of rage and petulant lies.
He lashed out at some of his fellow Republicans whom he clearly feels have not paid proper homage to him.
He threatened to shut down the entire federal government to attempt to get his way on his Mexican border wall.
And he railed for over 20 minutes in hollow defense of his statements on Charlottesville, conveniently leaving out the worst of his own words. He read from notes that did not include his blame of “many sides” for the riot, or his insistence that there were “very fine people” among the neo-Nazis.
And in all-too-predictable fashion, he spewed seemingly endless venom at the media, blaming them for any and all negative assessments of his comments or his performance, and warning the largely white crowd that the media is helping to drive the removal of Confederate monuments.
“They are trying to take away our history and our heritage,” he bleated.
Following the interminable display, CNN anchor Don Lemon spoke simply and calmly, yet still urgently and raising an alarm that surely much of the viewing public had ringing in their own minds.
Well. What do you say to that? I’m just going to speak from the heart here. What we have witnessed was a total eclipse of the facts — someone who came out on stage and lied directly to the American people, and left things out that he said in an attempt to rewrite history, especially when it comes to Charlottesville.
He’s unhinged. It’s embarrassing. And I don’t mean for us, the media, because he went after us, but for the country. This is who we elected president of the United States? A man who is so petty that he has to go after people who he deems to be his enemy, like an imaginary friend of a 6-year-old? His speech was without thought, it was without reason. It was devoid of facts, it was devoid of wisdom. There was no gravitas, there was no sanity there. He was like a child blaming a sibling on something else: “He did it. I didn’t do it!”
He certainly opened up the race wound from Charlottesville. A man clearly wounded by the rational people who are abandoning him in droves, meaning those business people and the people in Washington now who are questioning his fitness for office, and whether he is stable. A man backed into a corner, it seems, by circumstances beyond his control and beyond his understanding.
That’s the truth. If you watch that speech as an American, you had to be thinking, “What in the world is going on?” This is the person we elected as president of the United States? This petty, this small, a person who’s supposed to pull the country together? It certainly didn’t happen there.
Trump talked a whole lot in his speech about leading “a movement built on love.”
But one must read the fine print: It’s not love of the whole country, or of all Americans, as he flimsily claimed while attacking journalists, members of Congress, activists, immigrants, and for old times’ sake, Hillary Clinton.
No, it’s love of Donald Trump on which his “movement” is running. And it doesn’t leave much room for anyone else.