August 16, 2016

Donald Trump gave a "law and order" speech in a white Milwaukee suburb tonight that can only be described by those of us who watched it as a mashup of Hitler and George Wallace. At one point during the speech he started chanting "America First!" to get the crowd in a lather chanting with him. At another point, he reassured the audience that he was simply fighting for "peaceful regime change."

But the worst part of the entire speech was how he approached the issue of "law and order" in the streets, specifically Milwaukee's streets, where riots have occurred. He blamed Democrats, said Hillary Clinton "hates" the police, and more.

He also tried to tie immigration to inner city problems, something Van Jones would have none of.

Jones first pointed out that Trump didn't actually go TO an African-American community, but instead stayed in his safe white space. "It's easy to talk about a community that you're not talking to," he observed.

He then drew a contrast between how Robert Kennedy handled unrest the night Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, and how Trump chose to address it, pointing out that Kennedy had a strong concern for the poor and people of color. Instead of standing outside, Kennedy went "right into the heart of the community in Indiana and spoke to the hearts of those people in a moment of grief and brought peace and calm."

"[Trump's] message tonight was so shocking in its divisiveness," Jones continued. "Trying to pit Blacks against Latinos, which is the worst thing that you can do!"

"I watched this speech with alarm in my heart," he lamented. "That an American leader would walk into a situation like this with so little grace."

He went on to say, "There is a way to talk to African Americans about the problems that we have. We're tired of going to funerals. We're tired of crime. But we are crushed right now between street violence and some unlawful police violence. And if you care about us, you've got to talk about both sides of the problem and bring people together, not talk about one side of the problem and try to divide us against Latinos."

"It was a despicable speech, and that's not the way to bring us together," he concluded.

In the coming hours, there will be many pundits who will praise Trump for delivering a pre-written speech from his teleprompter without stopping to chant "Build the wall!" or "Lock her up!," as if those are the sole measures of a good speech. I recommend listening to Van Jones here again, because yes, it was despicable.

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