President Donald Trump said quite a bit at his campaign-style rally in North Carolina on Wednesday, but it was one thing the audience said that ended up getting most of the attention.
Yes, it was the chant heard ’round the media: “Send her back” in response to Trump talking about Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
In fact, you heard the line so often you’d have assume Trump egged it on or approved of it. Heck, some people probably thought he actually said it.
He didn’t approve, mind you: “I was not happy with it. I disagree with it,” Trump said Thursday about the chant directed at the freshman Minnesota Democrat who’s originally from Somalia.
“I didn’t say that,” he added, “they did.”
CNN being CNN, of course, the network found a way to make this all somehow Trump’s fault, even going so far as to imply the apology was only a “claim” to an apology.
First, I want you to take a look at the video. If he doesn’t necessarily stop the chant, take a look at his face, which certainly seems pained and unhappy.
If you were in the arena down in North Carolina on Wednesday, or even if you were watching from home, it should have been pretty clear Trump did not want the chant to go on.
Here was the beginning of CNN’s story on Trump’s statement: “Facing an onslaught of indignation and qualms even from his inner circle, President Donald Trump claimed Thursday to be unhappy his rally crowd broke into chants of ‘send her back’ as he denigrated a Democratic lawmaker he’d previously said should leave the US.” (Emphasis mine.)
He didn’t claim to be unhappy. He expressed unhappiness. There’s no “claim” involved here.
But it went on.
“Trump’s apparent disavowal came after expressions of concern from Republicans and outright outrage from Democrats, who accused the President of stoking racist sentiments among his white working class base,” CNN reported. (Emphasis again mine.)
“He also heard from close allies and aides — including his daughter, Ivanka — concerned the chant could come to define another dark and racially divisive campaign.”
Yes, his disavowal was an “apparent” disavowal.
Now, I’m sure plenty of people at CNN might not believe it and many of their viewers might not either.
That being said, a disavowal is a disavowal. It doesn’t make it a second- or third-hand report if you don’t believe it.
There’s no “apparent” about it here.
It wasn’t just the one story. CNN used the “claim” wordage in its on-air coverage, too:
As long as I’m taking issue with CNN’s choice of words I might as well point out another part of the original story a few paragraphs down:
“Speaking to reporters, Trump claimed to have attempted to stop the chant Wednesday night by resuming his speech — ‘I started speaking very quickly,’ he said — an assertion refuted by video of the event,” the article read.
“Trump waited 13 seconds before speaking as the crowd loudly shouted the three words.
“In the lull, Trump appeared to listen, letting the chant gain momentum, before resuming his speech, which continued with a litany of complaints against Omar and the other lawmakers.”
Could Trump have begun speaking quicker? That’s a matter of opinion.
It’s difficult to talk over a chant, although in fairness, I would have tried to — but I’m not the one in front of the microphone.
However, the second part proves exactly why this is in bad faith: “In the lull, Trump appeared to listen, letting the chant gain momentum, before resuming his speech, which continued with a litany of complaints against Omar and the other lawmakers.”
I know that Trump is generally a Rorschach test; people’s perceptions of his actions are almost entirely dependent on where they are on the political spectrum. However, is this what you see in the video?
I don’t see how he “appeared to listen.” He certainly didn’t seem like someone who didn’t want to let “the chant gain momentum;” his face was that of an extraordinarily unhappy individual. And so he went on listing his grievances against Omar.
He’s certainly not the only one who has them, and those grievances don’t exist because those individuals are racist.
I don’t expect CNN’s anchors to leap out of their seat and applaud that Trump disavowed the chanters, mind you.
I don’t even expect them to give him any credit, period. I at least expect them to report that he did it, however, not just that he “claimed” to do it or “apparently” did it.
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