Melbourne, FL-February 18, 2017
Donald Trump is working the crowd. I don’t know how many of us are here, but we have filled a huge aircraft hangar and spilled out onto the tarmac beyond Air Force One.
He’s telling us what he’s done and will continue to do to “Make America Great Again”, and he’s attacking his enemies in the media in the process. Occasionally, he points to the cameras in the back and calls out the “Fake news” perpetrators among us while the crowd boos and gives them the “thumbs down” sign. When he speaks about deporting illegals and building a “big, beautiful wall” the throngs go wild, with chants of “USA!USA!USA!” When he boasts of job creation and putting American workers first, they wildly cheer and wave their placards with slogans like “Drain the Swamp”, “MAGA”, “Women for Trump” and, yes, believe it-“Blacks for Trump”. It’s all pure theater, from the opening comedy show provided by Internet sensations “Diamond and Silk” to the Lee Greenwood salute “God Bless the USA” blasting from the loudspeakers as the President and First Lady arrive, and the crowd, some of whom have been waiting here for more than 12 hours, are eating it up.
Yet this seems like a strange time to celebrate. After all, Trump hasn’t even been President for a month. The victory over Hillary Clinton, who, with utter yet typical disdain, haughtily labeled the crowd around me as “deplorables”, is still fresh in the minds of everyone. Indeed, he made this exact stop on his campaign trail only a few months ago and was greeted with a similarly huge turnout. The phrase “preaching to the choir” comes to mind, but it seems to me there’s more to this than a photo op among friends. So, why stop here and now, when there’s still so much work to do?
The answer is that Trump is the first populist President that this country has produced in my lifetime, and he’s taking his message directly to the people because he (rightly, IMO) doesn’t trust the media to tell the truth, and knows that the DC establishment and the “Deep State”, if you will, is lined up against him, along with the globalists, oligarchs, Banksters, and the entire rest of the world’s elites and their satraps. When you have essentially no allies but the people, you dance with the one that you came with, and Trump is dancing with us because, unlike every President since the Eisenhower era, he owes nothing to those elites, and everything to the working stiffs that elected him, and Trump is nothing if not loyal to his supporters.
As he himself says, “I’m here because I want to be among my friends and among the people” and I think that’s true. Trump isn’t a complicated man. Sure, he’s he’s here because he has a big ego, but mainly he’s here to reward his supporters, and he makes sure to tell them not to worry: “he’s got their back”. The biggest difference between Trump and all of his predecessors is that he actually wants to deliver on the promises he made. I cannot remember a President who didn’t back down immediately when he got what he wanted from me-my vote. Not Trump. During his speech, he reiterates his campaign themes of repealing Obamacare, securing our borders, and putting America first.
That terrifies the elites, because, for the first time in at least a generation, they don’t have control of the Executive Office. But Trump revels in their fear, he enjoys the gamesmanship of embarrassing the media, and he loves rubbing the noses of the elites in their failure because he is, at heart, a ruthless businessman, and he knows that the only way to beat a bully who won’t back down is to bloody his nose, and he’s using the only unbiased tools available to him, his own Twitter account and the public opinion of Middle Americans, to deliver the blows. Donald and Goliath? You bet. I’m betting on the President and his “Flyover Country” Americans.
And the people I see with me today are his base: working stiffs, retirees, women and men who’ve seen their jobs disappear along with their dreams for a better future, and to them, Trump is their Champion, the right guy at the right time, their last hope before night falls in the USA. At one point, Trump points to a man in the crowd. He recognizes him from a TV interview, so he knows the man’s been on site since 4AM. Trump calls him up on stage, but the Secret Service isn’t exactly thrilled with the plan. “Let him go! He’s alright!” says the President, and I cannot imagine such a dangerous or impromptu invitation happening with any other administration. The man, about 50, has thinning hair, a three-day beard, and is dressed in a T-shirt commemorating the Inauguration. He looks, in short, like a total unknown, an Everyman, and he stumbles to the stage to embrace Trump, who asks him to speak off the cuff. Everyman looks either flummoxed, embarrassed, or frightened by the attention (or maybe all three), but he manages to stammer out a thank you and this message: “When President Trump…during the election…promised he was going to do all these things for us, I knew he was going to do all those things”, and then he walks away. This short statement of absolute faith is met with resounding applause. Wow. Faith in a politician who might actually do what he says? Now, that would be a miracle. Yet when the First Lady delivers the Lord’s Prayer, most people recite it, openly, by heart. These are people who believe in miracles. I get the impression the President doesn’t want to let them down.