On Tuesday Donald Trump held another in his series of chest-thumping, apple pie, American values, theatrical affairs. He does these obviously manipulative farces to try to prove how much he cares about whatever issue he is exploiting that day. Generally it’s an issue he has never demonstrated any real concern for. Whether its veterans, who the coward with five draft deferments pretends to adore while slashing their benefits, or working people, who the New York “billionaire” rips off in business and with tax scams that mainly benefit the wealthy, Trump just loves putting on these cons to persuade his deplorable base that he’s on their side.
The latest such event was the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service on held in Washington D.C outside the Capital. The service is an annual event that honors law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. It’s a worthy affair for any leader with an honest respect for the sacrifices made by our first responders. Unfortunately, this president’s honesty is as phony as a diploma from Trump University.
This is just the sort of event that Trump can show up for and rattle off some applause lines from his TelePrompted speech. He did just that with prepared phrases like “We will protect those who protect us” and “Every American heart bleeds blue.” He praised the fallen as “among the bravest Americans to ever live,” who “faced down evil,” and “did it all with courage.” These are unarguably appropriate tributes to men and women who lost their lives in the service of others. But it all seems so hollow when the speaker lacks any hint of emotion or sincerity.
The disingenuousness of Trump’s address was brought into full view when he reached a part that he, or his handlers, thought could be twisted into a political message that benefited him. He raised the subject of immigration and found a way to hype his ludicrous and ineffective border wall. And then he went further with a full-on, partisan rant that abandoned the theme of honoring the fallen and dived straight into naked politics:
“We are calling on Congress to secure our borders, support our border agents, stop sanctuary cities and shut down policies that release violent criminals back into our communities. We don’t want it any longer. We’ve had it. Enough is enough!”
This exploitation of a what should be a solemn memorial service is typical of the disrespect that Trump will show whenever he decides that his needs are greater than whatever occasion he is supposedly commemorating. Whatever he believes the merits are of the policies he advocates, they are not universally held, even among this assembly of law enforcement officers. Many in the field believe that the policies adhered to in so-called sanctuary cities actually save officers lives. They make it possible for immigrants to come forward when they’ve witnessed a crime and help to bring the perpetrators to justice.
It’s pitiful that Trump can’t hold his tongue for a few minutes to let the families and colleagues of fallen officers pay tribute to their loved ones. He has to turn it into an affair that brings the attention back to him and makes his own priorities the focus of the day. And for comparison, here is how a dignified president addresses the same event with respect and admiration for those who serve and their families:
President Barack Obama at the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service in 2015: