Who brought the crime, the drugs and the rape? It was him

When Donald Trump came down that tacky golden escalator in his grotesque Fifth Avenue building on June 16, 2015, to the half-hearted applause of a group of paid actors, he had a lot of incoherent, half-baked things to say in announcing his seemingly unlikely campaign for president. But his most quoted utterance of that day, ostensibly about Mexican immigrants, turned out to be a fair and accurate preview about what he would offer America as Republican candidate and then president:

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with [sic] us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.

Many more Americans now believe Trump’s xenophobic claims that immigrants are “bringing” the drugs and the crime and the rape, as well as taking more public assistance and perhaps creating hundreds of thousands of new Democratic voters. None of those claims are true.

When a pathologically insecure and vindictive person warns about bad things (as in, “He’s a terrible guy!” and “Democrats are destroying the country”), it is generally because he’s unconsciously making admissions about himself. To use the technical term, it’s psychological projection.

In other words, when Trump derides someone or something, or fear-mongers about an imagined threat, he’s basically talking about himself. He’s revealing his fears, his insecurities and his plans for vengeance at not being treated as he believes is his due. Trump-watchers have understood this for decades, and much of the country has learned it over the last eight or nine years.

Most Americans and sensible people around the world quickly came to understand who was bringing the crime. More recently, we have seen definitive evidence that he was also bringing the drugs. As a New York jury determined last year, Donald Trump also committed a sexual assault that would be understood, in ordinary language, as rape. 

They’re bringing drugs

As first reported in Rolling Stone, Trump’s White House was awash in drugs, mostly amphetamines, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, given years of rumors about Trump’s alleged reliance on Adderall to stay focused and get through his long, rambling public speeches. Does Trump look unwell because of drug abuse or just because of his unhealthy McDiet? Perhaps it’s both.

Whenever Trump derides someone or something, or fear-mongers about an imagined threat, he’s basically talking about himself.

In yet another example of Trumpian projection talking about himself, he recently made fun of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, for his weight, suggesting that the governor orders too many hamburgers. (Trump’s affection for McDonald’s cuisine is well known.) Pritzker has been plenty critical of Trump on many issues, but perhaps what most hit home were the governor’s comments about cruelty and kindness during a commencement speech last summer at Northwestern University. Or could it be that Pritzker is an actual billionaire, believed to be the wealthiest politician in the country, while Trump has clearly never been as rich as he claimed?

After the Oscars ceremony, host Jimmy Kimmel noted that Trump couldn’t help but post his diatribe about Kimmel on his Truth Social media platform because the “Adderall McFlurry” had kicked in. (Kimmel got off the best line of a good night, thanking the former president for watching but wondering why he was still up: “Isn’t it past your jail time?”)

They’re bringing crime

It’s difficult to know where to begin when trying to enumerate Trump’s determination to get away with unsavory and often illegal, deals aimed at enriching himself and his corrupt family business. (It wasn’t like we hadn’t been warned about the man’s character.)

Trump and his MAGA followers are doing everything they can to push the ludicrous narrative about a “Biden crime family.” That might be projection dialed up to 11.

It should be enough to note that the doubly-impeached ex-president faces scores of felony charges in four separate cases: for violating campaign finance laws in paying off an adult film actress he slept with; for trying to overturn the election results in Georgia; and for hoarding and failing to return confidential government documents after leaving office in a huff, not even bothering to attend Biden’s inauguration.

Then we come to the so-called Trump University (shut down, with a $25 million settlement for students), the Donald J. Trump Foundation (dissolved, with a $2 million fine, after Trump admitted to misusing funds for his 2016 campaign), the former Trump International Hotel in Washington, a nonstop grift center during Trump’s term in office; the $2 billion that Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, garnered from the Saudis for his own investment company; and Trump’s endless appeals to his supporters for money to pay his ever-escalating legal fees.

Bill Lueders at The Bulwark dubbed Trump the “Maximum Grifter” in 2022, and that tendency has only gotten more intense since then. Trump is now so deeply in debt that by any reasonable standard he represents a national security risk (especially with his loose talk about nuclear submarines, and at least a few government documents he withheld still unaccounted for).

We could go on almost indefinitely through a list of Trumpian grifting, financial improprieties and possible or likely crimes. 

As Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg writes in his newsletter, if you sign on with someone like Trump, you are likely to end up in big trouble:

Peter Navarro, a senior advisor to Trump, went to jail [this past week]. His CFO went to jail last year, and is returning soon for committing more crimes. Most of his core 2020 campaign team were convicted or pled guilty of crimes. The man who was fueling the Impeachment inquiry [directed at Joe Biden] was just arrested, and appears to have been working with both Russian intelligence and Trump. Everywhere you look there are crimes, crimes and more crimes. 

They’re rapists

How many women have claimed that Donald Trump sexually assaulted or harassed them? A lot. At least 26 women have said that Trump groped or forcibly kissed them, and roughly 40 more have said he harassed them or behaved inappropriately. Of course the real numbers are almost certainly much higher; those were the women willing to go on the record.

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As Trump infamously bragged to Billy Bush on that hot mic in 2005, before a guest appearance on a soap opera:

I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful … I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything…. Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything.

If you read the accounts of Trump’s alleged sexual assaults and even the lesser instances of alleged harassment, which include sleazy behavior directed at pageant contestants and disturbing comments about his own daughter, you may find it incomprehensible that he ever got close to becoming president. But, hey, maybe not. There are a lot of MAGA voters out there who want women to be second-class citizens. As Salon’s Amanda Marcotte has pointed out repeatedly, many evangelical Christians are devoted to Trump specifically because he’s a lecherous womanizer with a long history of apparent sexual misconduct:

While the mainstream press still finds it puzzling that the anti-sex Christian right loves a sexually loose cad like Trump, he actually embodies the evangelical attitude towards sex: That it’s about male domination over women, not pleasure.

So, yeah: You know what he said about Mexican immigrants? He was the one bringing the rape.

Why do I reiterate facts that appear obvious to so many of us? Because they have to be pointed out again and again. Because so many people simply refuse to face these facts, or admit them. 

Trump knows the propaganda value of habituating people to lies which they eventually assume are truths — consider the name of his social media platform, which pushes out nothing but lies and invective. (Check out this discussion of habituation with Tali Sharot, co-author of the new book “Look Again,” on Alan Alda’s podcast.) The media has a responsibility to fight back in kind, and at least try to habituate people to recognizing and confronting the truth. 

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