It’s not a huge deal that an eccentric, pro-Trump activist clumsily used a bad analogy in a local speech. The analogy is bad enough, however, that it certainly shouldn’t be on the president’s Twitter feed.
Actually, the analogy was so bad even Couy Griffin, the man who made it, conceded, “I could’ve chosen a different verbiage, you know. I guess I need to be more careful when I choose the words that I speak.”
At a May 17 rally, Griffin, the head of Cowboys for Trump, said, “I’ve come to the conclusion that the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat. I don’t say that in the physical sense, and I can already see the videos getting edited where it says [unintelligible] go murder Democrats. No, I say that in the political sense, because the Democratic agenda and policy is anti-American right now.”
The comment led to predictably misleading coverage in The Daily Beast. Cowboys For Trump posted an extended video of Griffin’s remarks on Twitter, showing the quote in fuller context, and declaring the Beast’s coverage “fake news.”
President Trump retweeted the video with the caption, “Thank you Cowboys. See you in New Mexico!”
Thank you Cowboys. See you in New Mexico! https://t.co/aCRJeskUA8
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2020
I have zero interest in contributing to the daily chorus of outrage over Trump’s Twitter feed, or feigning shock and horror over the casual, combative style that fueled him to the GOP nomination and then to the presidency. He does not want Democrats to die. The sky isn’t falling because Trump made a bad retweet. This is not a death blow to the country’s soul.
It is, however, a dangerous sentiment for the president to elevate with his platform. In the video, Griffin’s “only good Democrat is a dead Democrat” line draws cheers and applause before he even clarifies that it wasn’t meant “in a physical sense.” I’m not sure anyone who clapped seriously supports slaughtering Democrats, or believes Democrats are better dead than alive. Trump, once a longtime supporter of Democrats, obviously does not.
Still, it’s unhealthy for the president to spread language that bluntly extreme against his opposing party. It shouldn’t be normalized and it shouldn’t stay on his feed, an ostensible endorsement of unnecessarily extreme rhetoric that could help nudge it into the mainstream.
An edited video of Trump body slamming CNN? Who cares. It’s a joke. Sanctimonious complaints against Trump’s unorthodox presidential conduct are rarely constructive, so I’ll leave that to the folks in the corporate media. I’m not saying Trump has to issue an apology, I just think he should take the tweet down. It’s wrong, and that’s worth saying.