Last updated on August 3, 2020
In his presser, Trump blamed Portland violence on “professional anarchists” because of course they carry cards noting their memberships, rather than those awful amateur anarchists. There are so darn many of them, so many moms and vets. Too many pro-tips for Trump, because when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
But Trump insists on repeating even more debunked information three months later, since he’s whined about this since 2017.
Trump mentioned it among many things, to offset the news of the Minneapolis “umbrella man” agent provocateur who has turned out to be a white supremacist.
False and forged images are being spread nationwide that say, “Get paid to be a professional anarchist.”
In May 2020, as protests raged in cities across the U.S. over the police-custody death of George Floyd in Minnesota, social media users circulated an image purporting to be a reproduction of a recruitment flyer seeking “Professional Anarchists”:
The flyer, which seemingly offered to pay anarchists up to $200 (“funded by George Soros” and the Open Society Foundations), included an email address and phone number for the Thurston County Democrats organization. (Thuston County is in Washington state and includes the capital city of Olympia.)
Although the comical nature of this image largely makes it self-evidently a spoof, the chair of the real Thurston County Democrats took to Facebook to debunk it.
- I've sat in rooms with police leadership who spoke with absolute contempt about the following: reporters, politicians, prosecutors (they hate most prosecutors and see them as weak), social workers, judges. They respect no one. (2)
- The police culture isn't just racist and sexist. It's a culture that reviles any authority besides themselves. While currently they support the GOP, this could easily change, because they have zero allegiance to anyone but other police. (3)
- It's important to note that police culture is not built on tenets. It's actually a highly emotional culture built on emotions. Anger, resentment, defensiveness, fear. It's purposeless and constantly seeking reason to exist. (4)
- This is what makes this moment dangerous. It's not just police cooperating with feds. It's police realizing that they can openly defy those they scorn, whether citizens or local politicians. Since they scorn everyone you see where this leads. (5)
- What does it mean when you have heavily armed police forces operating in every city and town in the USA, defying local authorities to do as they please? It means we are in a watershed moment that may end very badly for democracy. (6)
It’s not nearly the same thing as getting used to it, but there is by now an identifiable rhythm to the Trump presidency. That rhythm is jittery, chaotic, and atonal, just one squashed-flat brown note after another. But as the Trump presidency bumbles from one skronking improvisational tantrum to the next, there is also a discernible pattern. Trump only knows how to play a few notes, but he absolutely fucking lives to make noise. And for better or worse, the sounds the man makes are distinctive, to the point where there’s both a bleak comedy and buried burlesque in his staffers’ game attempts to replicate his usual bombast and peevy rhetorical curlicues in his more overtly ghostwritten tweets.
This is what it means to elect an absolutely finished man—someone who cannot grow or care or even reconcile himself to any new thing—to a job like the presidency. Everything Trump does sounds the same, because whether it happens on Twitter or in the quintuple-byline newspaper stories about bleary behind-the-scenes White House upbraidings, it fundamentally is the same. Trump will always and only be upset about the same things in the same stupid way; he will stay mad about them even as the country shudders and cracks around him. It will never be any way but this for him, because Donald Trump will never be any way but this.
Every day unfolds in the shadow of this sour and soggy fact—that recursive and stubborn idiocy is at the heart of why the federal government has effectively and intentionally abandoned the management of a (still) rampaging pandemic because the president thinks it’s both boring and a loser of a campaign issue. This blank, militant incomprehension of the world at large is also the chief explanation for the new battalions of uniformed state agents loyal only to the president who’ve been dispatched to kidnap and gas protesters in American cities because the president saw statues being toppled on the news. Living with the knowledge that we’re being governed by a bottomly malicious dope who actively and openly wishes much of the country ill is unsettling. There is a basic presumption of good faith built into the broader American project: Presidents might be right or wrong, but they are at least supposed to try. But that is not where we are, because that is not the kind of president we have. And so all of this is still very much being worked out from one moment to the next, as Americans try to figure out how to live in a country so manifestly abandoned.
With this tweet, the president both revives fascist propaganda and exploits a new age of Internet post-truth: He follows a trail blazed by fascists, but adds a twist that is his own.
A fascist guide to commentary on elections would have eight parts: contradict yourself to test the faith of your followers; tell a big lie to draw attention from basic realities; manufacture a crisis; designate enemies; make an appeal to pride and humiliation; express hostility to voting; cast doubt on democratic procedures; and aim for personal power.
Trump achieves all eight with admirable concision in this one tweet. He decries voting by mail, but praises absentee ballots, which are nothing else but voting by mail. The blatant contradiction, the test of faith for the true believer, is there right at the beginning, a gatekeeper for the rest of the tweet.
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