‘There’s no strategy. I have no strategy. There’s zero strategy.”
That’s what President Trump said Tuesday after slamming the city of Baltimore as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
But that’s not true — not by a long shot. Mr. Trump’s tweets over the weekend — which kicked off the whole debacle and drew, predictably, charges of racism — was no accident.
Between rounds of golf at his posh golf resort outside of Washington, Mr. Trump ignited a firestorm with just a few tweets.
“If racist Elijah Cummings would focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district, and Baltimore itself, perhaps progress could be made in fixing the mess that he has helped to create over many years of incompetent leadership. His radical ‘oversight’ is a joke!” Mr. Trump tweeted Sunday.
Then the president criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, another city struggling with problems, including rampant drug use in public and homeless people defecating on city streets.
“Speaking of failing badly, has anyone seen what is happening to Nancy Pelosi’s district in San Francisco. It is not even [recognizable] lately. Something must be done before it is too late. The Dems should stop wasting time on the Witch Hunt Hoax and start focusing on our Country!” Mr. Trump tweeted.
Mr. Trump rounded out his attack Monday, bringing in the four female lawmakers of “The Squad” — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
“If the Democrats are going to defend the Radical Left ‘Squad’ and King Elijah’s Baltimore Fail, it will be a long road to 2020. The good news for the Dems is that they have the Fake News Media in their pocket!” Mr. Trump tweeted.
And just like that, Mr. Trump had tied together Mr. Cummings and Mrs. Pelosi and Baltimore and San Francisco and the four Democratic lawmakers on the fringe of the party.
“No strategy” indeed.
Mr. Trump had done much the same a few weekends ago, when out of the blue he took aim at The Squad.
“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run,” he tweeted.
By the time the smoke had cleared, Mr. Trump had forced the entire Democratic Party to embrace the most extreme members of its party, who have made anti-Semitic remarks and bashed U.S. border agents and are demanding free everything for everybody under their socialist proposals.
So despite what The New York Times says — on Monday the paper said unnamed White House officials “privately scoffed at the idea that it was strategy rather than impulse” — there was clear strategy behind the Sunday attacks on Baltimore and Mr. Cummings.
Not by coincidence, Mr. Trump had scheduled, according to the White House, long ago, a meeting with 20 black pastors for … Monday. Afterward, Alveda King, the niece of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., defended the president against charges of racism.
“All of that news is absolutely fake,” Ms. King said. “You know, we all believe the same. That’s something the president has said, one race, one human race. So, he’s not a racist, absolutely is not,” she said, adding “the programs that he has moved forward, the higher job market is helping African Americans. The criminal justice reform, helping African Americans.”
By Tuesday, Mr. Trump brought it all full circle, saying that black residents of Baltimore were ecstatic with his comments.
“They are so happy, because I get the calls,” Trump said. “They are happy as hell. The African American community is so thankful at what I’ve been doing. They’ve been calling me and saying finally somebody is telling the truth.
“They are so happy about what I’ve been able to do in Baltimore and other Democrat corrupt cities. … African American people love the job I’m doing because I’m working for them — not the politicians,” he said.
And let’s be real. Election 2020 is — at least at this point — all about race. After America’s first black president, liberals and the mainstream media have tried hard to make the racist label stick on Mr. Trump. During the last debate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris even sought to paint former Vice President Joseph R. Biden as racist. It’s getting ugly — and no doubt will get uglier.
But Mr. Trump knows all this. And he doesn’t do anything — anything — by accident. His remarks about Baltimore and its congressman were clearly by design.
“There’s zero strategy.”
Not a chance.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @josephcurl.