On its face, a tweet President Trump sent last week is fairly benign. It doesn’t mock anyone, isn’t personally nasty and hasn’t caused any hair-on-fire controversy.
Yet it is powerful in its own way, for it artfully sums up the Trump era from the perspective of the president and his supporters. With a likeness to the Uncle Sam “I want you” poster, the disrupter in chief reaffirms in 14 words the belief of Trump Nation that the political establishment, the media, the permanent bureaucracy and yes, the deep state, are trying to crush him and them.
The president tweeted the image the day House Democrats voted to impeach him, and hours after his raucous rally in Michigan that evening.
The tweet included no added comment because none was needed. The message is clear: I am all that stands between you and the barbarians at the gate. If I fall, you are next.
Critics regard it as fear-mongering, and there is no denying that the president wanted to rally his base, lest it be discouraged by the day’s events.
Yet Trump’s oblique reference to a weaponized and powerful adversary is hardly unfounded, with a partisan, flimsy impeachment the latest example. The tweet’s siren call to believers is a shorthand way of saying that impeachment is just a continuation of the endless attacks against us.
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