One of the evergreen thought exercises of the Trump era has been trying to guess what it might take to finally shake the faith of his most devoted supporters. “We’re always asking, ‘What would it take to break the camel’s back?’” said former Representative Tom Rooney, Republican of Florida, who withdrew his support for Mr. Trump in 2016 after the release of the “Access Hollywood” video.
“When the losers-and-suckers thing happened, I asked a friend of mine if that bothered him, and he said, ‘Nope,’” Mr. Rooney told me.
All that mattered to his friend was that he thought Mr. Trump was a better bet to keep his taxes low. “That was it,” Mr. Rooney said. “End of discussion.”
Look. This isn’t complicated. Before the pandemic, it was safe enough for rich white people to laugh along with the bully because the bully wasn’t going to hurt them. It was safe enough for middle-class and poor white people to egg the bully on, and use the bully’s name to commit their own acts of aggression. They could do that, even nervously, even reluctantly, and know that whatever horrors Trump visited on poor people, immigrants, liberals, anyone a fraction more melanated than himself, they would be shielded from it.
The joke is ALWAYS funny when it’s not about you. I was taught that most of our elite reporting class went to prep schools. Could they really have learned so little about playground dynamics? Were there no scholarship kids there for them to beat up on? Jesus, the innocence they pretend to.
“I just want to punch him,” Schultz said. “I always had to keep my politics to myself, but from where I’m sitting now? Those days are over.
“I shouldn’t be here.”
Trump, he said, should have been more upfront with the public from the beginning about the dangers of the coronavirus, should have acted quicker, promoted wearing face masks. If he had, Schultz believes, maybe the pandemic would not have struck his community so hard, might not have wound up at his door.
Now it’s a lot less funny. They thought he would hurt other people. He ran, explicitly, on hurting other people. A lot of people heard him talking about manufacturing jobs and sticking it to The System and they thought he was their friend. But anyone who’s ever known a bully knows that the bully’s only friend is himself, and he will cut down with furious anger anyone who threatens him no longer how much they think he’s on their side.