ColumnistsD Kevin McNeirEditor's ColumnOpinion

EDITOR’S COLUMN: Trump Breaks Protocol, Again, in Rose Garden Attack on Biden

Donald Trump continues to ask if the media is fair and clearly has his own perspective. Fairness, it seems, has to do with whether or not the media is willing to accept his rhetoric hook, line and sinker, without the opportunity for questions for clarity or to rebut certain claims.

And his recent Rose Garden hourlong speech only shows how the office of the presidency has digressed under the leadership of Trump.

Rumor has it that on Tuesday, Trump would be addressing the heated situation in Hong Kong where China recently unveiled a new security law that has immediately caused a death blow to pro-democracy protests. The White House Rose Garden has long been used for official presidential announcements and protocol prohibits the setting to be used to employ campaign attacks against political rivals.

But that was in the past. That was before Donald Trump took over. Instead of staying on point and addressing news of international concern, Trump listed a series of over 30 claims about presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with 19 fact-checked and proven to be false claims. Yes, they were lies, plain and simple. Other statements, while egregious, did have a tinge of truth to them but were shared out of context giving Trump the result which it seems he sought in his well-scripted speech.

Even more appalling, reporters were given just six minutes — “six minutes, six minutes, six minutes, Doug E. Fresh you’re on” — to voice their questions to the president. Surely, more time could and should have been provided for the press so they could do their job and inform the American public.

As one whose political affiliation remains independent, I have no formal allegiance to either the Democratic or Republican Party. In fact, given the short shrift that Blacks have often received from the Democrats, seeking Black votes but failing to deliver on campaign promises with policies and legislation, I have had to evaluate each candidate on his or her merit, not their political party of record.

Still, it’s tragic and troubling to see Trump comfortably undermine White House protocol for his own benefit. Several of his trademark rallies have been canceled recently due to the coronavirus pandemic. Others earlier held showing thousands of his supporters, and the president himself, in close contact with others without wearing masks, have led to unsurprising spikes in the virus.

Meanwhile, some Republicans say they have no plans to attend the Republican National Convention, slated next month in Florida – a state that has now become the epicenter of COVID-19 in the U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt (Missouri) and Pat Roberts (Kansas) both say they won’t be there. Neither will Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Francis Rooney, both of Florida, despite the convention now being scheduled to take place in their own state after being moved from North Carolina. And Senator Marco Rubio, a former presidential candidate and Florida’s senior senator, has yet to commit to whether he will attend.

I suppose there’s nothing worse than holding a big party where you’re the guest of honor and fearing that no one will show up — at least, not enough folks to confirm just how special, honored and trusted you believe yourself to be. As my mother used to call it, “delusions of grandeur.”

But Trump’s Rose Garden tirade indicated something else far more telling for voters as the General Election remains just a few months away. No matter how people like Paris Dennard may try to spin the tale, Trump has a real problem with how he has both handled and discussed racism in America. For illustrative purposes, consider these two nuggets that came from his speech on Tuesday. First, he rebuked a reporter who asked about racial justice and police-involved shootings or murders of Blacks, saying, “so do white people [meaning whites are killed by police too.] What a terrible question.”

However, Trump failed to mention that Blacks, whose numbers in the U.S. population are significantly less than whites, remain disproportionately impacted by interventions with law enforcement.

Then, he discussed the Confederate flag which, along with other related symbols of white privilege and dominance, have been under recent attack with demands to hoist down both the flag and related statues. Trump said he knows people who love the Confederate flag, adding that their love has nothing to do with slavery or racism.

Really? Sorry, I beg to differ. Just review American history.

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D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Award-winning journalist and 21-year Black Press veteran, book editor, voice-over specialist and college instructor (Philosophy, Religion, Journalism). Before joining us, he led the Miami Times to recognition as NNPA Publication of the Year.

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