As the 2020 election draws closer, contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination are constantly articulating how they'll seek to unite the country after the bitter partisanship that's overtaken it since even before the 2016 presidential campaign.
The Republican incumbent, President Donald Trump, doesn't seem too concerned about uniting the country, according to an answer he gave reporters on Friday afternoon.
REPORTER: "How do you unify the country in this moment?" @realDonaldTrump: "What unifies it is a great success." https://t.co/VThjICvc2X— The First (@The First) 1581098791.0
Trump answered by boasting the unity of his supporters, seeming to think of them as the country.
"You know what's going to unify the country...All you have to do is look at our crowds and look at our support...what unifies it is our great success."
It's a continuation of a mindset indicated by Trump's rally performances that is definitionally at odds with unifying the country. It signals that Trump considers the United States to be unified because his supporters will always cheer for him no matter how many norm-shattering atrocities pile up.
Trump ignores that, in order to have a chance at unifying the country, he'd first have to reach out to those repulsed by the behavior on display at his rallies. He'd have to acknowledge the harm and confusion imposed on marginalized people by his orders and policies, then work to undo them. He'd have to admit when he's wrong and apologize. He'd have to be civil to lawmakers who side against him.
This behavior, judging from three years of a pattern that's only consistent in its erraticism and extremity, is the antithesis of Donald Trump.
That knowledge didn't escape people.
Subtext: all who do not support me are not “the country” https://t.co/kNoJPcUg8B— NerdKingJack (@NerdKingJack) 1581116079.0
That's the speech of an autocrat. "Bevause I am in power, the country is unified." https://t.co/NAjDiOpC15— Mitchell Harris (@Mitchell Harris) 1581112730.0
There is no rule, no law, against a President working to appeal to the half of the country (plus one vote, figurati… https://t.co/qN585t8k4g— Peter Sagal (@Peter Sagal) 1581094280.0
Again, @realDonaldTrump speaks of only his followers. He doesn't give a damn about our country. https://t.co/I84O0yF5pq— Debra Duke (@Debra Duke) 1581102590.0
.@realDonaldTrump is going to focus only on the 25%-30% who support him While ignoring the majority of the country… https://t.co/0MW6uca5u5— John Ramos (@John Ramos) 1581099061.0
Ah yes, unification of 1/3rd of the country, the best kind https://t.co/RYiOE5cQYG— “yeah, he’s guilty, but it’s not impeachable” (@“yeah, he’s guilty, but it’s not impeachable”) 1581093852.0
He only cares about his supporters. The rest of us are "losers" and "haters". 😒 https://t.co/S0P9s44MWE— Lady Meu Meu, Subpoena Cannon enthusiast (@Lady Meu Meu, Subpoena Cannon enthusiast) 1581095105.0
A Pew Research poll from October of last year found that Americans are more politically divided than ever.