Bullies and BS and outright lies: The end of the Age of Trump

Betty BeanKnox Scene

Remember the 2016 presidential primary debate when Jeb Bush called Donald Trump a chaos candidate?

He wasn’t just whistling Dixie. He was issuing a warning.

And speaking of warnings, how about the one Trump tweeted last month?

“Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election,” he tweeted. “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

This, of course, is BS. It is not “statistically” or any other kind of “impossible,” for Trump to have lost his re-election bid, considering that he is one of the least popular presidents of the modern era. Although his supporters worship him with cultish fervor, the fact is that his weekly popularity ratings never reached the 50 percent mark during his four years in office and he lost the popular vote both times he ran. The myth of his popularity is but another of the lies he has spun out as casually as a Big Mac belch. He flees the truth as a vampire from the cross.

He is also a monumental bully.

If you are surprised that a Trump-following mob traveled to Washington to get fluffed by Don Jr. and Rudy before the main event – a 90-minute Trump diatribe that ended with an order to proceed down the street and storm the Capitol – where have you been? Mars?

The plan was to keep Congress from doing the constitutionally-mandated job of certifying the Electoral College vote. And that is sedition. Though clumsy and stupid, it was an attempted coup.

Judging by the hints on local social media (particularly the West Knox Republican Club’s Facebook page), plenty of Knoxville Republicans got sucked in. Several were eager to make the trip to Washington to “Stop the Steal.”

Having covered politics hereabouts for more than 30 years, I remember when the WKRC was a friendly club run by a bunch of wealthy dowagers who put on entertaining debates and a highly competitive cake auction. These events were attended by people I looked forward to bumping into at the courthouse, maybe grabbing a bite of lunch and swapping war stories.

But the 2020-21 West Knox Republican Club is something else entirely. If their social media is a reflection of who they are today, they’re not even Republicans. Many of them repeatedly attacked their own legislative candidate, Eddie Mannis, for being insufficiently Trumpy. And except for hardy party regulars Billy Stokes and Steve Buttry, who have regularly taken them on (and have gotten called RINOs for their trouble), they are mostly all uncritical Trump fans. Today’s membership appears to be composed of conspiracy theorists who hang on Donald Trump’s every misspelled, incendiary, self-serving tweet.

I’ve been watching their Facebook page with growing disbelief as a vocal contingent touted the Jan. 6 trip to Washington. As time passed, the tweets got scarier and stupider. Recently, they started incorporating memes of bullets and bandoliers and I stopped thinking they were funny.

I’m bumfuzzled as to where the bully wing of the GOP thinks this talk is getting them. Trump is toast and their party is in tatters. Georgia is well and truly Blue, thanks in large part to the tireless work of Stacey Abrams. On Wednesday morning before all hell broke loose, I checked out the comment section of another GOP-leaning site frequented by Trumpian bullyboys who were taking out their frustrations on one of their favorite targets, Stacey Abrams, the architect of their Georgia defeat.

After about 10 of them commented on her weight (they sometimes call her Aunt Jemima), a Democrat snuck in with the coup de gras:

“Maybe it’s because she ate your lunch.”

Betty Bean writes a Thursday opinion column for KnoxTNToday.com.

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