Before showing up to the boos of the crowd at the College Football Championship game in Atlanta on Monday, Trump made a brief stop-over in Nashville to speak to the American Farm Bureau Convention. He repeated much of his usual campaign-style malarkey to the somewhat appreciative crowd, but then he make a truly remarkable statement, even for Donald Trump.
"Oh, are you happy you voted for me. You are so lucky that I gave you that privilege," President Trump tells farmers in Nashville. pic.twitter.com/Z6Q7yR93VY
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) January 8, 2018
As usual, Trump demonstrates not only his total lack of understanding about how democracy works, but these words sound like the words of a would-be dictator. The voters gave Trump the privilege of their vote, not the other way around. Does he really believe that he was the one handing out the favors, that he was giving voters a “privilege” to vote for him?
Does he not understand that voting is a right? It is a right millions of Americans have died in multiple wars to defend. It is a right enshrined in our Constitution. It is not a privilege granted by Donald Trump. But it is truly frightening that this is the thought process of the man who now serves as the President of the United States.
What other privileges does Trump intend to give us? The privilege of freedom from any news outlet he deems as “fake news.” The privilege of choosing only candidates endorsed by him. The privilege of not protesting against him or saying anything derogatory about him – don’t forget he has said for years we need stronger libel laws.
When the crowd failed to demonstrate the appreciation for his appearance he then did the following:
‘Get up’: Trump demands farmers give him a standing ovation at Nashville speech https://t.co/RRz1LNyyYu
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) January 9, 2018
That’s right. He told the crowd to stand up and applaud him. What is the next step? Nuremburg-style rallies?
But on his next stop in Atlanta to attend the football game, the fans who had been locked out of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the pouring rain over an hour for the “privilege” of clearing the area to await Trump’s arrival greeted him with resounding “boos” – not standing ovations. He was also greeted with boos mixed with cheers when he marched on the field for the playing of the National Anthem. Which he couldn’t sing.
Is it small wonder that Trump and his entourage slunk away unnoticed during half time to return to the more friendly environs of the White House? Well, at least they don’t boo him to his face there.
But these statements, that reveal a disturbing authoritarian trend in Trump’s view of the presidency, should not go unnoticed or unchallenged. This has nothing to do with his “stable genius.” This goes straight to the heart of our democracy.