Last night I was in circumstances where I could hear only a few excerpts from Donald Trump’s inflammatory speech in Phoenix. The parts I heard were remarkable enough.
They included Trump’s wink-wink implied promise to pardon ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was first turned out of office by the voters of Maricopa County and then found guilty by a federal judge of criminal contempt-of-court. There was also Trump’s threat to “close down our government” if the Congress won’t provide funding for his border wall—the same one Mexico was going to pay for. Plus his flatly deceitful rendering of what he had said about the neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville, and why the press had criticized him for it. Plus his railing against Democratic obstructionism and the filibuster, when his biggest legislative failure, the repeal of Obamacare, was on a simple-majority vote.
Plus his explicit (without using their names) attacks on his host state’s two Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, and his implicit attacks on Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republican Senate and House leadership on which his future legislative and political prospects so obviously depend. Plus his self-description as a member of the intellectual meritocracy he otherwise disdains: “I was a good student. I always hear about the elite. You know, the elite. They're elite? I went to better schools than they did. I was a better student than they were. I live in a bigger, more beautiful apartment, and I live in the White House, too, which is really great.” (Trump does indeed live in a bigger apartment than any reporter or policy person I know. He was not a “better student” than the vast majority of them.)