(Nov. 1)

Even with his political career at serious risk of being destroyed, President Trump can’t seem to avoid doing or saying things that remind people why he is detestable.

On Saturday, Trump twice offered support, both in a tweet and in remarks at a campaign rally, for tawdry and dangerous intimidation tactics by Trump supporters against a Biden campaign bus in Texas. Many dozens of vehicles of Trump supporters surrounded the Biden bus on an interstate highway, slowed it down to a crawl, and appeared to bump a Biden truck behind the bus. In the end, perhaps from an overabundance of caution, the Biden campaign canceled the event that the Biden staffers were trying to reach.

Those Trump supporters’ behavior was inexcusable, perhaps even criminal. And for a president to make light of such an attempt, as he did at his Pennsylvania rally, is outrageous. Such bullying behavior is not only beyond the pale of decent political action, but it also risked causing a serious accident.

Moreover, the words of a president, for better or worse, carry with them a certain imprimatur. Some yahoos among the general public take their cues from a president’s remarks. If Trump is encouraging behavior that borders on violence, just as he did numerous times while he was a candidate in 2015-16, his words can easily have the effect of incitement to some of his most fervid supporters.

Passions are already running too high in this campaign. Trump must make a distinction between encouraging enthusiasm and inciting inexcusable, potentially dangerous behavior. One major reason he is behind in the polls is that his moral compass is so askew that he cannot seem to understand the difference.



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