It happened again on Sunday — the epidemic of violence that has marked the summer of 2016 continued with the murder of three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. And shortly thereafter came the obligatory tweets from GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, ready to try and earn political points from the event.
Trump criticized President Obama and wondered how many more police officers had to die because of what he called “a lack of leadership in our country.” Of course he offered no details to explain what he meant, or how he thought the president could have prevented the shooting.
That was bad enough, but on Monday morning Trump visited the friendly confines of Fox and Friends via telephone, where he continued his attack on President Obama with a cryptic remark that left the hosts puzzled as to its meaning.
After some opening banter about the Baton Rouge shooter, host Ainsley Earhardt subtly advances the notion that more police are getting killed under President Obama. “It seems this is happening more and more often where we’re waking up and reporting things like this,” she says. Ainsley is young, so she may not remember. But if she had done her job as an alleged journalist she would have found that fewer police have died under our current president than under his predecessors, including Ronald Reagan.
Trump replies to that by blathering on at some length about people turning in someone they suspect may have plans to commit a mass murder. Then Brian Kilmeade gives the aspiring leader of the free world his opening. “What did you think about the president’s tone yesterday?” he asks.
On Sunday afternoon President Obama condemned violence against police in no uncertain terms, saying,
We as a nation have to be loud and clear that nothing justifies violence against law enforcement. Attacks on police are an attack on all of us, and the rule of law that makes society possible.
As if he could anticipate the verbal attacks on him that would come, he added,
We don’t need inflammatory rhetoric. We don’t need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or to advance an agenda.
Trump responds to Kilmeade by using Republicans’ favorite epithet against the president, calling him a “great divider.” He goes on to say that race relations are as bad as they have ever been in the country.
Then Steve Doocy jumps in, asking Trump to respond to comments made by Steve Loomis, who is the head of the Cleveland police union. Loomis said that the president has “blood on his hands” because he has questioned the actions of police in the deaths of several black men.
Trump’s response is bizarre. He says,
I watched the president, and sometimes the words are okay. But you just look at the body language and there’s something going on. Look, there’s something going on. And the words are not often ok, by the way.
Yes, you read that right. Trump seems to think that President Obama doesn’t mean what he says, because of his “body language.” I guess we should add “body language expert” to his resume.
Here’s what Trump had to say about race relations and the president’s body language, via Fox News:
Featured image via Fox News screen capture