Donald Trump and the Other Wall

Maybe you’ve seen Pink Floyd’s movie, The Wall, or at least heard the song In the Flesh where a Hitleresque man addresses a rally of fawning, seething fanatics.

Are there any queers in the theater tonight?
Get them up against the wall!
There’s one in the spotlight, he don’t look right to me,
Get him up against the wall!
That one looks Jewish!
And that one’s a coon!
Who let all of this riffraff into the room?
There’s one smoking a joint,
And another with spots!
If I had my way,
I’d have all of you shot!

It’s a pretty basic concept. I hope everyone can instantly understand the point. This is a style of politics. It’s not always present, but given the right kind of preconditions, it’s familiar and perhaps even inevitable.

And it was on display last in night in Burlington, Vermont. To begin with, the campaign issued 20,000 tickets for a venue that could hold only 1,400 people. To handle the problem they had created, they screened people at the doors in an attempt to keep the “riffraff” out. They also had a plan for dealing with the undesirables who slipped through.

A voice over the loudspeaker before the rally told the crowd that if a protester demonstrated nearby, to shout “Trump, Trump, Trump!” to alert security of their location.

The voice reminded the crowd that the rally was a “private event paid for by Mr. Trump.”

Once the event began and the protestors made themselves heard, The Trumpistas operated as they had been instructed.

“Get ’em out of here,” Trump said. The crowd repeated the phrase and chanted Trump’s name in support of the protesters’ removal.

At one point, Trump became somewhat exasperated with all the interruptions and encouraged his security to “move faster” in their efforts to remove people and half-jokingly told the audience that maybe he wouldn’t mind too much if the protestors were injured.

“I respect what they’re doing,” Trump said, “unless they have a substance-abuse problem, which they probably do.” He then pointed to a guy who he claimed definitely had a substance abuse problem.

The next escalation came when he instructed his security detail to confiscate the coats of protestors and throw them out in the cold.

Throw them out into the cold,” Trump ordered security, as protesters shouted “Bernie! Bernie!” during his rally Thursday night in Burlington, Vt.

“Don’t give them their coats,” Trump added. “No coats! Confiscate their coats.”

“It’s about 10 degrees below zero outside… You can keep his coat; tell him we’ll send it to him in a couple of weeks,” Trump told security.

Then Trump insisted that this was all part of the show, and good entertainment.

“You know it’s sort of fun. Isn’t this more exciting?” Trump added. “You know, you go to a Hillary thing. It’s like, boring. You go to a Jeb thing and you fall asleep.

“Are there any remnants?” Trump later asked, as another protester shouted out.

“There’s a remnant,” he said, pointing. “Throw him out.”

Of course, this was just how Trump dealt with protestors, but the substance of his speech touched on building a wall to keep immigrants out and violent crime in our cities–themes that were consistent with the fascist rally portrayed in The Wall.

There were minor differences. “There’s one smoking a joint!” became “this one has substance abuse problems.” “Get them up against the wall” became “get them out of here.” “Who let all of this riffraff into the room?” became “Are there any remnants?”

“If I had my way, I’d have all of you shot!” became, “I don’t want anyone to get hurt (wink, wink).”

No wonder Michael Gerson is concerned.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.