Donald Trump ought to be having a great week. The news media are acting as though FBI director James Comey virtually disqualified Hillary Clinton for the presidency because of her “careless” e-mail practices at the State Department, though in fact he declined to recommend charges against her. GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan is getting ready to pre-impeach her. Comey sat in the House Intelligence Committee hot seat Thursday, to be grilled by Republicans convinced the Republican career prosecutor pulled his punches for political reasons. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is expected to follow him. Republicans believe this has been a gift to a party saddled with a nominee who can’t pull its leaders together; one thing every camp in the GOP agrees on is that Clinton should be stopped, by virtually any means necessary.
But Trump just can’t help himself: As the controversy over his Twitter use of a Star of David to connote Clinton’s corruption last weekend was finally subsiding, the presumptive nominee revived it Wednesday night in a speech The New York Times called “defiant,” “rambling,” and “manic-sounding.” I’d go with “deranged.” He also reiterated his admiration for the way the late, deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein brutalized “terrorists” when he ran the country.
The narcissistic mogul even humiliated his Orthodox Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who wrote an op-ed arguing that the unfortunate image represented “careless” work by staffers, and insisting that the grandfather of his Jewish children was no anti-Semite. But Trump dismissed Kushner’s near-apology and insisted that he wanted the staff to keep the image up.
“‘You shouldn’t have taken it down,’” Trump said he told a staffer. “I said, ‘Too bad, you should have left it up.’ I would have rather defended it.” It’s the media that have the race problem, Trump claimed. “They’re racially profiling, they’re profiling, not us,” he said, echoing a favorite complaint of white-supremacist groups that insist that people who call out racism are the real racists. Of course Trump wasn’t going to apologize—just last week he told conservative radio host Howie Carr an ill-advised apology is why sportscaster Jimmy the Greek got in trouble for racial slurs—it was the apology, in Trump world, not saying that African Americans were natural athletes, “bred” for advantage during the age of slavery and now “they’ve got everything” and soon “there’s not going to be anything left for the white people.” If he’d powered through the outrage, he’d have been fine.
Let’s remember that Trump’s own social-media director has admitted the image originally appeared on the Twitter page of a white-supremacist supporter with the screen name @fishbonehead1, according to The Daily Beast’s Gideon Resnick. (The page was a sewer of racist and anti-Semitic garbage before it was either suspended or taken down.) From there the image made it to the swamps of 8chan, where neo-Nazis and other trash have lately been celebrating the death of Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. Far from being a sheriff’s star, or an innocent image that resembles one in a Frozen coloring book, as Trump claimed Wednesday, the Star of David was deliberately placed against a backdrop of dollar bills framing Hillary Clinton, an obvious allusion to the neo-Nazi belief that rich Jews control politics and the media.