CNN host Ashleigh Banfield must feel like she’s in Wonderland every time she interviews a Donald Trump supporter. Because no matter what the Republican presidential nominee says, his followers have mastered the art of “Trumpsplaining” away his childish behavior.
It’s a little like Groundhog Day,” Banfield said with exasperation as she began her conversation with Trump Senior Campaign Adviser Tana Goertz. “I have this conversation a lot, but Donald Trump typically attacks a person personally rather than the concept that the person is delivering that he finds displeasing.”
“Is that ever going to change?” the CNN host wondered. “Are we going to see invectives like ‘dummy’ and ‘fat person’ and I can’t even repeat all the ones that he’s used in order to make his point — is he not able to make his point without the foolishness.
But once again Banfield found herself stepping through the looking glass as Goertz turned into the Mad Hatter:
Of course Donald Trump is able to make his point, he’s made his point to millions of Americans who have gone out to vote for him,” Goertz replied. “It’s just a matter of if you attack Mr. Trump, he will come back at you and bring out your resume and talk about the things where you failed.”
“So, Mr. Trump definitely will be more presidential if that’s what you want to call it,” she insisted.
“He said he was going to be more presidential,” Banfield agreed. “When does it start? What’s it going to look like?”
“When people stop coming after him!” Goertz insisted. “When people stop attacking him.”
“Tana!” Banfield interrupted. “You never get a break from that as president. Look at the last eight years, look at every presidential administration. You are under the microscope. It is a critique machine.”
“So is this just going to be the way it is?” the CNN host pressed. “Because you don’t get to rule by fiat.”
“Well, Mr. Trump, he’s winning,” Goertz opined. “He’s doing it his way. And the American people are resonating with him, they’re going out and they’re voting for him. So, it is working. And he is going to do it his way. And that way is winning.”
“So, he will most definitely continue to be himself and if people don’t want to be attacked then don’t attack Donald Trump,” she advised.
A few moments later, Republican strategist Tara Semayer observed that she had “never seen someone so thin skinned from New York” as Donald Trump.”
“He walks around and brags and praises about how he is a tough guy, he’s a fighter, people like that about him,” she noted. “But goodness gracious, if someone says anything critical or has a dissenting opinion then he acts like a spoiled brat on the playground in fifth grade. This is not how a president behaves!
To her credit, Banfield fought the good fight. But trying to have a real world conversation with a Trump supporter about their candidate’s unpresidential behavior is like trying to interview a pro wrestler in the 1980’s about whether or not pro wrestling is real. It’s pointless and sometimes a little dangerous.
Like those old time pro wrestlers, both Donald Trump and his supporters do not break character under any circumstances. In their world, Trump is the champion of non-politically correct truth, and anything he says should be taken as gospel unless he changes his mind.
Fox News has become Trump’s personal cable news wonderland filled with reporters who jockey for a chance to kiss his orange ass and spin whatever he says into something resembling logic. So it was interesting when a few months ago, Fox News contributor and designated court jester Greg Gutfield broke character and started arguing with his fellow news actor over the network’s incessant Trumpslaining.
Has Trump changed American politics as we know it? Or was he just the catalyst for something that’s been building over the course of many years? Candidate worship isn’t a new concept; conservatives have accused many Obama supporters of doing this for the past eight years. And conservatives most definitely still worship the ground Ronald Reagan walked on. But with Trump’s rise, we are witnessing willful ignorance metamorph into a suicidal intellectual nosedive. No matter how illogical Trump’s positions are, his supporters are not going to pull up or jump off the plane.
Some Trump supporters proudly admit that they don’t care if Trump wrecks the country. Because in their minds, this isn’t the America they want to live in, and if they can’t have the kind of country they want, then they are willing to help burn it to the ground.
Featured image via screengrab