As the House of Representatives was voting to impeach him on Wednesday, President Donald Trump was holding yet another campaign rally, this time in Battle Creek, Michigan. The location was appropriately named, as Trump was even more combative than usual.
Although the rally was a relatively short two hours long, Trump managed to ramble through the usual boasts, toss out the usual nicknames for his potential election challengers, whip up the usual hatred for the media covering the event, gripe that the security forces were too gently escorting a female protestor out of the event, and cast the usual aspersions on the patriotism of anyone who opposes him. He seemed particularly peeved with Democratic Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell, who filled her husband’s longtime seat after his recent death, and threw a rather morbid joke to the rant.
“Debbie Dingell, that’s a real beauty,” Trump said, telling the crowd how he had signed off on the half-mast flags and other funeral honors routinely given to mark the passing of such a longtime congressman as her husband. “She calls me up. ‘It’s the nicest thing that’s ever happened. Thank you so much. He’s looking down,'” Trump told the crowd, imitating the tears she was supposedly crying, then adding with a comic shrug, “Maybe he’s looking up, I don’t know.”
Most of the crowd found it hilarious, but the mocking of a grieving widow and a jocular suggestion that her recently deceased husband might be roasting in hell did get a few audible moans, and not just from the media in attendance. We found it a bit much even by Trump standards, and were also offended by the suggestion that Dingell was obligated to vote against Trump’s impeachment because he didn’t spitefully deny him him the honors due a long-serving member of Congress. Later in the speech he also seemed especially peeved with New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney, suggesting that she owed him a “nay” vote because he had once donated to one of her campaigns and “now I want my damn money back.”
Such arguments didn’t stave off Trump’s impeachment by the House, where only two members of the Democratic majority, both running for reelection in districts that Trump won in the past election, were all voting “yea.” Every Republican voted “nay,” though, and and for now the entire slim Republican majority in the Senate finds Trump’s exaggerated boasts and unfounded slanders and casual cruelties compellingly persuasive. It wows the rally crowds and plays well with the talk radio-listening base, too, and will probably be the defense that Trump sticks with through an impeachment trial.
Which should make for an interesting holiday season.
— Bud Norman