Donald Trump’s Fall From Oratorical Grace

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Ex-president Donald Trump’s followers attend his rallies primarily to be entertained. For years, like the proud owner of a pack of vicious dogs, he has gained their adoration by throwing them vast quantities of fresh red meat.

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Donald Trump's Worst Performance

Sadly, his act has been growing stale, even boring. His performance last Saturday in Perry, Georgia, may have been his worst in recent memory.

His speech was largely recycled from the one he had given five weeks earlier in Cullman, Alabama. The amen contingent of presumably hired young Black men, all decked out in identical white Trump tee-shirts, stood behind him, each holding up an identical pro-Trump sign. Theirs were virtually the only Black faces in a crowd in the middle of a state whose population is one-third Black.

Trump again spent most of his speech discussing how terribly President Joe Biden has been handling the immigration crisis at the Texas border with Mexico, Biden’s poor handling of our precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan, and his perennial grievance of how the 2020 election was stolen from him.

As any seasoned public speaker knows that you cannot hold the attention of even the most adoring crowd of listeners by reciting vast arrays of voting statistics – even if they do include the numbers of dead or imaginary people who voted in Arizona and Georgia.

Completely absent from his speech was almost any mention of what he would do if he were to win back the presidency. He had nothing to say about the COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps spooked by the hostile reaction of the crowd at his last rally, that booed long and loud when he mentioned that he himself had been vaccinated, and that they too should get the shots.

Attack On Raffensperger

Perhaps the most interesting part of the evening was when he finally waded into Georgia politics, attacking the Republican Secretary of State, Ken Raffensperger for refusing to “find” the 12,671 votes he needed to overturn the 2020 result and retroactively be awarded the state’s presidential electoral votes.

From there, he segued into a lengthy attack on Governor Brian Kemp, who had also refused to help overturn the election results. He was especially angry because his last-minute endorsement four years ago had catapulted Kemp from last to first in the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary. Now, Trump even implied that in a possible rematch between Kemp and his 2018 Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, he would prefer her as the lesser of two evils.

Well into his dotage, Frank Sinatra, his voice long gone, still entertained his fans at concerts just by dint of his personality. Donald Trump, at his peak, was perhaps our nation’s most skilled political entertainer. But even Trump cannot keep singing his same old standards and expect the same degree of adoration.