The speech laid out Trump’s consistently grim vision for an America in which he is not its President as he engaged in his usual amount of fact-bending and breaking to serve his rhetorical and political purposes.
I went through the transcript – and pulled out the lines you need to see.
1. “Let us also send our deepest thanks to our wonderful veterans, law enforcement, first responders and the doctors, nurses and scientists working tirelessly to kill the virus.”
This is the only time Trump mentions the coronavirus pandemic, which hit a record number of cases nationwide on Friday, during the entire speech. And away we go!
2. “I am here as your President to proclaim, before the country and before the world, this monument will never be desecrated.”
Uh, was there some sort of movement to tear down Mount Rushmore I was unaware of or….?
3. “And yet, as we meet here tonight, there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing our ancestors fought so hard for, struggled, they bled to secure.”
The nation under threat from the liberal horde is the theme of this speech – and Trump hits it HARD. Repeatedly. Also: There is nothing so motivating as fear in terms of driving people to the polls. Or so Trump hopes.
4. “Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children.”
5. “Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities.”
This speech, tonally, is very, very similar to Trump’s inauguration address in which he cast a dark vision of America and promised “this American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”
6. “Many of these people have no idea why they are doing this, but some know exactly what they are doing.”
In Trump’s mind, there are only two kinds of protesters: dupes who have no idea what they are even protesting and professional rabble-rousers like Antifa. That, of course, totally dismisses the idea that the protesters – or some large chunk of them – are committed believers that the police need to be reformed and that racial inequity remains a real and pressing problem in America.
7. “This attack on our liberty, our magnificent liberty, must be stopped, and it will be stopped very quickly.”
“Our magnificent liberty.”
8. “We will expose this dangerous movement, protect our nation’s children, end this radical assault, and preserve our beloved American way of life.”
Again, Trump leans heavily on fear. The left is going to ruin your children – if you let it!
9. “In our schools, our newsrooms, even our corporate boardrooms, there is a new far left fascism that demands absolute allegiance.”
I looked up the definition of “fascism.” It’s this: “A political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.” Which, well, uh…
10. “This left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution.”
This feels a little – maybe slightly – overdone?
11. “The violent mayhem we have seen in the streets and cities that are run by liberal Democrats in every case is the predictable result of years of extreme indoctrination and bias in education, journalism, and other cultural institutions.”
Make no mistake: This is the language of a full-out culture war. And Trump is stoking it because he believes doing so gives him the best chance to win a second term.
12. “Our children are taught in school to hate their own country and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but that were villains.”
I took a peek at the my kids’ curriculum just to double check this so I can now officially say there is nothing in there about hating America.
13. “The radical view of American history is a web of lies.”
14. “General Washington did not claim power, but simply returned to Mount Vernon as a private citizen.”
“If he was smart, he would’ve put his name on it. You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.” – Trump on Washington and Mount Vernon.
15. “[Jefferson] was an architect, an inventor, a diplomat, a scholar, a founder of one of the world’s great universities, and an ardent defender of liberty.”
16. “Lincoln won the Civil War. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation. He led the passage of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery for all time.”
“I’ve always said I can be more presidential than any president in history except for Honest Abe Lincoln, when he’s wearing the hat. That’s tough, that’s tough. That was tough to beat.” – Donald Trump, September 2019
17. “They want to silence us, but we will not be silenced.”
Trump has been leaning much more heavily into the “Silent Majority” idea first introduced into American political rhetoric by President Richard Nixon. “THE SILENT MAJORITY IS STRONGER THAN EVER!!!,” he tweeted earlier this month.
18. “We will state the truth in full without apology.”
19. “And we are building the wall.”
“Trump campaigns on border wall progress. There’s not much of it.” – Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2020
20. “We believe in equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal treatment for citizens of every race, background, religion and creed.”
“Why do we want all these people from ‘sh*thole countries’ coming here?” – Donald Trump, 2018
21. “We want free and open debate, not speech codes and cancel culture.”
“Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen.” – Donald Trump, May 27, 2020
22. “Their goal is not a better America. Their goal is to end America.”
Under this construct, anyone who stands against Trump’s is trying to bring about the “end’ of the country. OK.
23. “For the sake of our honor, for the sake of our children, for the sake of our union, we must protect and preserve our history, our heritage, and our great heroes.”
24. “We are the people who dreamed a spectacular dream – it was called Las Vegas in the Nevada desert – who built up Miami from the Florida marsh, and who carved our heroes into the face of Mount Rushmore.”
As our Founding Fathers always said: “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
25. “We settled the Wild West, won two World Wars, landed American astronauts on the moon, and, one day very soon, we will plant our flag on Mars.”
26. “Nobody has ever done it like we have done it.”
“Ain’t no Half-Steppin’” – Big Daddy Kane
27. “Centuries from now, our legacy will be the cities we built, the champions we forged, the good that we did, and the monuments we created to inspire us all.”
Wait, wait. We have a champion forge? How did I not know about this before?
28. “I love your state. I love this country.”
“I love lamp.” – Brick Tamblin. Yeah, this feels like a good place to end.