I realize that, at this point, saying Donald Trump is utterly terrifying is about as banal as observation as saying water is wet—but that in itself is chilling, that observing the United States President is a terrifying figure has already become routine, on Day 7 of his presidency.
It is a statement of fact, and there's nowhere to go from there, when things get even more alarming.
Last night, Trump did an hour-long interview with ABC's David Muir, and every second of it underscored just how terrifying Trump is. Here, for example, is Trump straight-up lying about the rigorous refugee vetting process that is already in place and talking about how "the world is a mess," to justify a Muslim ban.
Pres. Trump on potential executive order implementing increased vetting for certain immigrants: "I don’t want terror in this country." pic.twitter.com/givtoBP0Eh— ABC News (@ABC) January 26, 2017
TRUMP: We are excluding certain countries. But for other countries we're gonna have extreme vetting. It's going to be very hard to come in. Right now it's very easy to come in. It's gonna be very, very hard. I don't want terror in this country. You look at what happened in San Bernardino. You look at what happened all over. You look at what happened in the World Trade Center. Okay, I mean, take that as an example. People don't even bring that up.It's tough to explain, for those who can only read the transcript, what the tenor of Trump's response was. It was seething—and it was also somehow gleeful. Beneath the grave veneer, he is palpably excited as he spins his grim tale of how fucked up everything is. Because he's talking about a great opportunity. An opportunity to enact his hateful, authoritarian agenda.
MUIR: Are you at all concerned—are you at all concerned it's going to cause more anger among Muslims around the world?
TRUMP: Anger? There's plenty of anger right now. How can you have more?
MUIR: You don't think it'll exacerbate the problem?
TRUMP: Look, David, David, I mean, I know you're a sophisticated guy. The world is a mess. The world is as angry as it gets. What? You think this is gonna cause a little more anger? The world is an angry place. All of this has happened. We went into Iraq. We shouldn't have gone into Iraq. We shouldn't have gotten out the way we got out. The world is a total mess. The world is a mess, David.
I live-blogged the interview, which you can find on my timeline if you're interested, but here are some highlights.
Advisors during prep: So, in this interview, make sure you show that you have a big heart.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) January 26, 2017
Trump during interview: I have a very big heart.
Trump complains about press "demeaning me unfairly." CRITICISM COMES WITH THE JOB, BUB. Which he should know, given his mouthshits at Obama.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) January 26, 2017
Trump is "surprised" that Mattis isn't a fan of torture but he's "spoken to others" who are "big believers" in torture & tell him it works.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) January 26, 2017
Trump justifying Muslim ban by saying "They're ISIS. They're coming under false pretenses." HE'S TALKING ABOUT REFUGEES ESCAPING ISIS.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) January 26, 2017
"I don't want to do a lot of talking on the military before it starts." More hints, as on campaign trail, he will launch surprise attacks.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) January 26, 2017
Paying attention to the subtext of stuff like this is why I've always seen what's coming. https://t.co/Z23nXnVJ2T— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) January 26, 2017
These are features of every authoritarian who has used disinformation and delusions of his own grandeur to do untold harm. We must reckon with the fact that, as Eastsidekate said: "It's no longer a matter of 'it can happen here.' It IS HAPPENING here." And we must resist.