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Sat Jul 4, 2020, 07:57 PM

In Trump's new version of American carnage, the threat isn't immigrants or foreign nations.

In Trump’s new version of American carnage, the threat isn’t immigrants or foreign nations. It’s other Americans.


By David Nakamura

July 4, 2020 at 6:20 p.m. EDT


In his inaugural address, President Trump sketched the picture of “American carnage” — a nation ransacked by marauders from abroad who breached U.S. borders in pursuit of jobs and crime, lured its companies offshore and bogged down its military in faraway conflicts.

Nearly 3˝ years later, in the president’s telling, the carnage is still underway but this time the enemy is closer to home — other Americans whose racial identity and cultural beliefs are toppling the nation’s heritage and founding ideals.


Peter Wehner, who served as a speechwriter for president George W. Bush, said Trump faces an obvious difficulty as he seeks to fan public fears over renewed American carnage given that he has been responsible for the stewardship of the country for more than three years.

“It’s an insight into him: He doesn’t view his job in terms of governing. He just views it as a platform to vent and be angry,” Wehner said. “He’s not just appealing to the base, but he’s appealing to the base of the base. The aperture of the campaign is constricting, not expanding — he’s energizing a smaller and smaller group of angrier and angrier Americans. And to try to energize that base, he has to say more and more extreme things.”


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