Trump was angry because D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) had the temerity to tell him in writing that she didn’t like the idea of uninvited federal authorities — National Guard soldiers from other states, federal jail guards, border and customs agents, and an assortment of unidentified federal personnel — descending on the city to occupy our streets. They should return home, she said, because the District of Columbia’s police force and their local federal counterparts were capable of handling large demonstrations.
To leave no doubt that the District supported the demonstrators who had gathered at Lafayette Square to protest the grotesque death of George Floyd, Bowser formally renamed 16th Street north of the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza” and ordered city crews to paint “Black Lives Matter” in giant yellow letters on the pavement.
If it was not quite an “In your face, Donald” gesture, it was enough to get Trump to strike at Bowser with the kind of venomous rant that he reserves for prominent critics, especially women and people of a darker hue.
Case in point, calling Bowser “incompetent.”
That’s one of Trump’s go-to words when he seeks to disparage, insult or question a critic’s intelligence.
As in Trump’s previous references to:
— San Juan, Puerto Rico Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz as she braced for Hurricane Dorian, “… the incompetent Mayor of San Juan!”
— London’s first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan. “With the incompetent Mayor of London, you will never have safe streets.”
— Former president Barack Obama. “He was an incompetent president.”
— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “I think she’s incompetent, actually.”
— Hillary Clinton, “who I happen to believe is grossly incompetent.”
— The late representative Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), “… the mess that he has helped to create over many years of incompetent leadership.”
Trump especially likes to belittle black intelligence.
And Don Lemon of CNN, and LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers. Lemon: “dumbest man on television.” Further: “He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.”
Of the black NFL athletes who protest inequality, he says, most can’t even “define” what they are outraged about.
His attacks on black intellect are directly connected to the racist-contrived stereotype of blacks as dumb people.
Trump’s views of African Americans match the spirit of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney’s observation in the 1857 Dred Scott decision that the black man “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”
Trump’s attack on Bowser — that the District’s budget “is totally out of control” and that the city “is constantly coming back to us for ‘handouts’” — is another one of his unadulterated lies.
The city has compiled 24 straight years of balanced budgets, accumulated a hefty $500 million surplus and earned a AAA bond rating on Wall Street. The District is one of the best financially managed cities in America.
As with state and local budgets across the nation, the city’s budget has been thrown out of whack by the Trump administration’s scandalous mishandling of the covid-19 pandemic — a dereliction that caught public health systems and state treasuries flat-footed.
Depicting Bowser as an inept leader who comes begging to Trump, the Great Benefactor, may work for a president given to projecting his undesirable qualities onto someone else. But much as he blundered and mishandled the week’s demonstrations, Trump is the one who ends up looking like a fool.
Likewise, with his claim that Bowser has been “fighting the National Guard.”
Trump was trumpeting a baseless charge by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), a notorious District-basher, that Bowser was kicking Utah Guard troops out of their D.C. hotel rooms.
Truth is, the city had a contract with a local hotel to house D.C. National Guard members who would be activated in the covid-19 response. The Utah Guard soldiers were quartered in the hotel in space reserved by the city.
The city said it wouldn’t evict the Utah troops, but also said D.C. taxpayers weren’t going to foot their hotel bill. So, accommodations for Utah Guard members were found elsewhere. National Guard spokesperson Wayne Hall confirmed the arrangement. In a statement, he said that “some National Guard responders were quartering in hotel accommodations which had preexisting contractual agreements with the District. … Out of respect for existing agreements those facilities have with the city government, those service members have relocated.”
Loudmouth Lee’s accusation — and Trump’s echo — that Bowser kicked out the National Guard from all D.C. hotels was patently false.
But truth matters not when the intent is to malign, smear and gain ground at the expense of others.
That’s what Trump set out to do with Bowser in just one sentence.
The president ended up convicting himself of having a malicious, lying, maligning mind.