BY SHEILA NORTON
POLITICS | PUBLISHED ON JULY 27, 2017
Rex Huppke is not a political columnist. He describes his work for the conservative-leaning Chicago Tribune as providing a “wry spin on today’s social trends, pop-culture misfires and political blowhards,” and while he writes often of President Trump, he does so with reluctance.
“I write about this president often, and I’d like to write about him less, but I won’t,” he said in today’s column, titled Donald Trump’s behavior is abnormal. “Because he never stops behaving in a way that degrades our humanity. He never finds a bottom. And that’s not OK.”
Huppke was midway through another story when he saw Trump’s comments last night at a rally in Ohio. The president described in gruesome detail a brutal attack on an innocent 16-year-old girl at the hands of immigrants whom he described as “animals.”
“There’s no mention of the anecdote’s origin,” Huppke noted, and he could found no account that matched Trump’s description. Truth, of course, was not the point of the story however.
“The intent of the tale that Trump told his rabid fans in Ohio was simple: foment hatred for immigrants,” Huppke wrote. “You present the innocent characters who are part of the ‘us,’ and you have them ravaged and destroyed by the murderous ‘them.’ You call them animals, something peddlers of hate have done for ages.”
In addition to observing that Trump’s behavior is both “sadistic” and “intentionally dehumanizing,” Huppke notes that “it’s also just weird. Weird in a way that if someone at a bar told you that story you’d excuse yourself and walk away as quickly as possible.”
“And,” he continues, “it came from Trump’s mouth the night after he shared a sexually suggestive story about a rich guy and a yacht with a sprawling crowd of Boy Scouts, children he rallied into booing a former president… “Again, if you’re an adult sitting in a bar, you walk away from the 71-year-old who starts regaling you with tales of yacht sex. But these were kids, and again, that’s really weird.”
Huppke does not stop with the abnormality of Trump’s recent speeches. The columnist is no less disturbed by the cruelty with which he treats his inner circle:
“…rather than firing Sessions or working out the problems, Trump is dragging his former friend through the public square. Tweeting that Sessions is weak. Accusing him of not doing his job. Telling reporters who ask if the attorney general will be fired: ‘We’ll see what happens.’
“The president is publicly humiliating Sessions. That’s not normal.
“It’s cruel. It’s a bully tactic. And it’s sadistic.”
What makes Huppke’s article truly gripping is that it is so clearly not from the perspective of a political insider. Rather, he writes as a concerned observer who, like so many millions of us, would rather be consumed with something other than the petty whims of our unstable Commander-in-Chief.
Unfortunately, that is a luxury we don’t have, and Hupke knows it.
“I’ll [write about Trump] again, and again, and again as often as necessary, and I don’t care if I sound like a broken record,” he said in closing. “Because no American should accept any of this sadistic nonsense as normal.”