The leftist vitriol poured on Donald Trump for his visit to Louisiana on Friday, August 19 has been extraordinary.
On the other side of the spectrum, one CBS commenter, Playnicer, made a pertinent comparison with Hurricane Katrina, when George W Bush was president:
This massive flood is only second to Katrina, Bush went to the seen was later vilified by the press, Obama is out to lunch, he is still the president apparently natural disasters on this scale don’t matter when it’s golf time. Hillary should be there all those in higher office or those seeking it should show support by their presence. The hateful leftists vilify Trump for what any good leader should be doing, it proves hatred is there only motivator and common sense has left the building
Although the governor John Bel Edwards asked for visitors to stay away, the Baton Rouge Advocate took another perspective, as did former senator Democrat Mary Landrieu, who hoped that Obama and Hillary Clinton would follow suit. CBS reader Call_Me-Ishmael quoted an editorial from The Advocate:
We’ve seen this story before in Louisiana, and we don’t deserve a sequel. In 2005, a fly-over by a vacationing President George W. Bush became a symbol of official neglect for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The current president was among those making political hay out of Bush’s aloofness.
Sometimes, presidential visits can get in the way of emergency response, doing more harm than good. But we don’t see that as a factor now that flood waters are subsiding, even if at an agonizing pace. It’s past time for the president to pay a personal visit, showing his solidarity with suffering Americans.
Although leftists would like to think that public authorities and FEMA were on site from the start, The Advocate reports that it was the Cajun Army — Louisianans with boats — who played a pivotal part in first response as soon as they received permission to do so:
“We don’t have enough assets to cover that large of an area,” said Sgt. Don Coppola with the Baton Rouge Police Department, which had officers in all of the agency’s boats and large trucks working on rescues over the weekend. Despite that manpower, the department struggled to keep up with the scope of the unfolding disaster, he said.
“For something that was this large and widespread and involved in so many people, we greatly appreciated these people who stepped up by putting their lives in danger,” Coppola said. “Without them, we feel there’s no way we could have rescued as many people as we did with the resources that we have.”
Donald Trump got stuck in unloading his donations from an 18-wheeler: a wide variety of basic supplies for flood victims. These included children’s toys. People in the area appreciated the candidate’s efforts. The Guardian reported:
Wherever he went, he created his own television-ready crowds. In St Amant, one of the hardest-hit areas between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Trump’s convoy set up in a parking lot, and droves of people turned out to watch him hand out water bottles and diapers.
“It was really something,” said national guardsman Chris Ealy, who shook Trump’s hand. The 25-year-old seemed dazzled by his encounter with national political machinery. “I could tell they were in a hurry.”
Obama’s absence did not go unnoticed in Louisiana. From 25:56 to 26:04 in this ABC 15 Arizona video, which films Trump’s — and Mike Pence’s — arrival, conversations and departure for the next stop, residents of one town said:
Thank you for being here, Mr Trump. We knew you would be here for us.
We’re glad you are not playing golf.
There are also shorter videos with a conversation with the local pastor, with whom Trump spoke, and more footage of the two men unloading the lorry. Samaritan’s Purse volunteers, heavily involved in the relief efforts, are also featured.
John Bel Edwards thus far is an awful governor who plays the partisan democrat game perfectly …
The flood waters have completely receded and Baton Rouge largely looks normal, but the problem is that many people have lost everything and their houses are damaged to the point that they can’t be occupied …
Donald Trump is NOT blocking anyone from doing their jobs, nor is the secret service being here “overloading us”. That’s a … narrative being pushed solely to make Trump look bad.
Sorry for the wall of text, the whole situation is just bothering the hell out of me.
Just think of how Trump and Pence can talk about what they saw first hand whilst the elite — Democrats — were relaxing in one of America’s most exclusive holiday locations.
Leftists also smeared Trump for using Louisiana as a distraction from Paul Manafort’s departure and subsequent replacement by Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon as campaign CEO and Pence’s former pollster Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager. Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates, will liaise with the RNC.
However, long-time Trump and Manafort friend Roger Stone explained that Manafort did the right thing on August 19 by bowing out quietly. Stone said that Manafort is guilty of no wrongdoing with regard to Ukraine — to accuse him of that is ‘actionable’ — and that the campaign is moving into a new phase. Stone also said that verbal attacks from Hillary’s people and the media would have made Manafort’s staying on untenable.
It seems that, even before they were formally announced to the media, Bannon and Conway wanted Trump to redress his major mis-steps before ushering in this final phase of the campaign. Conway, incidentally, will be travelling with him around the country.
On Thursday, August 18, Trump addressed an audience in Charlotte, North Carolina, in which he apologised for past blunders:
expressing “regret” for comments and statements that “may have caused personal pain.” But he also explained his rejection of tradition.
“As you know, I am not a politician. I have worked in business, creating jobs and rebuilding neighborhoods my entire adult life. I’ve never wanted to use the language of the insiders, and I’ve never been politically correct – it takes far too much time, and can often make [matters] more difficult,” he said.
But one thing I can promise you is this: I will always tell you the truth.
I speak the truth for all of you, and for everyone in this country who doesn’t have a voice.
I speak the truth on behalf of the factory worker who lost his or her job.
I speak the truth on behalf of the Veteran who has been denied the medical care they need – and so many are not making it. They are dying.
I speak the truth on behalf of the family living near the border that deserves to be safe in their own country but is instead living with no security at all.
In fact, all of last week’s speeches were strong on policy tempered with compassion for and inclusion of all Americans. Would that this version of Trump had emerged straight after the Republican convention. He might never have seen that dip in the polls. Whilst some results might have been manufactured, e.g. Reuters, others are probably real.
PJ Media’s Roger Kimball pointed out Trump’s new tack this week:
His speeches on the economy, on foreign policy, on policing and race relations, and — just last night — his brilliant speech that touched on everything from national security to race relations, free trade, immigration, and Obamacare, have shown that he is deadly earnest about winning this election.
Furthermore, Trump is attacking the Democrats in all the right ways:
As Trump pointed out in his speech in Milwaukee earlier this week, all of the nation’s failed cities — Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago, Oakland, Memphis, Milwaukee itself — have been under Democratic control for decades.
Milwaukee, for example, has been Democratic since 1908. Do you suppose that there is a connection between the disasters — the poverty, the crime, the corruption — that have engulfed these cities, and the political complexion of their leadership? Or is it merely fortuitous?
To ask the question is to answer it.
The Chicago Tribune‘s John Kass echoed those sentiments:
Growth is the answer, not government control …
Democrat bosses, the trial lawyers and public unions hate such ideas. But then, they’re the muscle of Democratic politics.
That strong arm of government helps politicians to maintain power and control.
But as we’ve seen, the strong arm of government can also pave the road to hell.
Trump made it clear that:
Our campaign is about representing the great majority of Americans — Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Conservatives and Liberals — who read the newspaper, or turn on the TV, and don’t hear anyone speaking for them. All they hear are insiders fighting for insiders.
I have said more than once that this campaign has far surpassed any film or television drama about politics. If the ups and downs of his campaign resemble a movie, that might not be entirely accidental.
Dilbert’s Scott Adams, claiming to support Hillary Clinton, says that Trump’s ‘master persuader’ skills have been present from the start:
He explains that in the first act of a movie, “something unexpected [happens] that changes somebody’s life trajectory” — like deciding to run for president. In the second act, “you would see your protagonist overcoming a number of smaller hurdles,” ending with the discovery of a seemingly unsolvable problem. In the third act, the protagonist grows or changes in order to solve the unsolvable problem.
Adams first explained this theory in an October 2015 blog post where he wrote that Trump created his own third-act problem: His position on immigration. “In the primaries it sucked all the attention out of the room and galvanized his base. In the general election, immigration will turn into an unsolvable third-act problem for Trump, as he planned,” he wrote …
“The idea of the third-act problem usually involves a character flaw of your hero,” he explained Thursday. “… That’s what makes it a good movie, we like to see people change in some positive way. That’s what makes us feel good. Because in the real world we don’t see it happen, hardly ever” …
“If the campaign were a movie, the so-called third-act would be marked by Trump shaking up his campaign team so he can be more himself and less scripted,” Adams wrote today on his blog …
“And what if he over-performs at the first debate? I’d say he’s got a good chance at that if he’s got Roger Ailes working with him, helping him on the debate” …
“It is completely rational to say that real life does not act like a movie, because why should it?” he noted. “When real life does act like a movie, which is my prediction, and Trump wins and overcomes these last hurdles, I will explain to you in my blog why it wasn’t a coincidence…”
We can but hope that the Louisiana trip, the campaign changes and the new focus will help pull Trump out of a sticky situation, one largely of his own making.
One small glimmer of hope is that the latest Los Angeles Times poll dated August 20 shows that he is half a point ahead of Clinton.