The attack on Paul Pelosi was terrifying. A man broke into the house of the 82-year-old husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the middle of the night and hit him with a hammer. Paul Pelosi suffered a fractured skull among other injuries. The intruder shouted, “where’s Nancy?”
Donald Trump Jr. appears to thinks it’s funny.
Late Sunday night, Trump Jr. shared an image on social media of a hammer and a pair of underwear with the words “Got my Paul Pelosi Halloween costume ready.” Trump Jr. wrote: “The Internet remains undefeated.” (Sidebar: I’m not going to share a link to Trump Jr.’s post. You can find it on the internet if you so choose.)
Which, even by the low standards set by the eldest son of former President Donald Trump, is egregiously bad. But, unfortunately, not unexpected.
Trump Jr., even more so than his famous father, has reveled in the idea that he is the king of the deplorables – someone willing to say and do things that other people want to but are too afraid. Trump Jr.’s MO has always been – as it likely will be for this incident – that he is just joking, and that people need to stop taking themselves so seriously. He’s the cool guy who doesn’t ever get offended while the rest of us are the squares who are forever on outrage watch.
But stop and consider what Trump Jr. is mocking here. An elderly man was violently attacked in his own home. He was injured badly enough that he had to undergo surgery. The intruder who attacked him seemed to also be after the speaker of the House. The man alleged of attacking Pelosi had also shared a variety of conspiracy theories – about the 2020 election and Covid-19, among other things – on social media.
The only right thing to do in this situation is a) condemn the act and b) see what can be done to put better safeguards in place in hopes of keeping this from happening again.
Instead, what Trump Jr. did is make light of it.
That he did so, again, shouldn’t be all that surprising. Trump Jr.’s social media presence is a super-charged version of his father’s – if you can believe that. What’s so depressing is that Trump Jr.’s post on Truth Social has more than 5,000 likes and more than 1,000 shares as of this writing. He also shared the post on Twitter and Instagram.
Which means that not only will he likely refuse to apologize for his disgusting post, he will revel in it – convinced that his mission of freaking out the woke mob has been accomplished.
We are in a very dark place when content like this is championed by people in positions of power. It normalizes aberrant behavior by making light of it. And the result is that such incidents become more and more likely in the future.