Jamal Khashoggi, a reporter for The Washington Post who lived in the U.S. but was a citizen of Saudi Arabia, has almost certainly been killed — likely in a horrible way — by agents of his own government. As reaction to his death ignites flares of outrage around the world, our president, Donald Trump, prevaricates as only he can.
Then, Thursday night, at a rally in Montana, Trump celebrated a Montana congressman, Greg Gianforte, for attacking and body-slamming a reporter during his campaign. After an audiotape surfaced of the attack, Gianforte admitted to it but still won the election. He was subsequently charged and convicted for the assault.
But Trump thinks it's funny. Trump joked about it to the crowd and said, "He's my guy," about Gianforte, because he's a good body-slammer.
Trump mimed body-slamming someone, and the crowd laughed.
Lots of people, like me, already have a low opinion of Trump's character and already would never vote for him for any office.
But I wonder about the many other people who do support him, especially elected officials such as our congresswoman, Elise Stefanik. A lot of people respect her and she probably feels that, because of her position and her hard work, she deserves respect.
But when, if ever, will she renounce a president who cheers for violence against innocent victims? When, if ever, will she stop addressing specific incidents — "I don't support that" or "That was inappropriate" — and say she has had enough? At what point will she admit that this outrageous behavior, repeated day after day, is the expression of who Trump is? And at what point, if any, will she say we cannot accept a president of such low character, no matter what party he is in?
Last night, Trump celebrated a crime committed by a U.S. citizen against another U.S. citizen. He encouraged a crowd to laugh about it. At the same time, in other countries, other journalists are getting murdered. We are cheering a bully — "He's our guy, a great body-slammer — ha-ha!" Will we be cheering Khashoggi's murder next — "They cut off his fingers — ha-ha!"?