During the Obama years, the press has been perpetually on the prowl looking to expose anyone on the center-right perceived as insulting President Obama.
One example: A non-elected Orange County official committed the thought crime of forwarding — not creating, forwarding — an internal e-mail she received from a friend depicting Obama in very unflattering terms. This was a national story at CNN, the Associated Press, and other national outlets. The woman involved apologized, as she should have. Now let’s see if the press demonstrates any interest in elected Virginia Democrat Mark Levine’s outrageous description of Donald Trump supporters as “mentally deficient” in a Fox News Saturday afternoon discussion.
Levine is not a minor Democratic Party player:
- He has been a prominent homosexual rights activist for over 20 years.
- In early 2001, in the belief that George W. Bush’s electoral victory was illegitimate, Levine “was hired by the Congressional Black Caucus to appeal the United States Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore to the United States Congress.” The appeal failed; CBC members walked out of Congress when that appeal failed.
- He hosts a radio talk show heard on 43 stations.
- After an unsuccessful run for Congress in 2014, he ran and won a seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates the next year, and represents parts of Northern Virginia.
Now let’s look at this prominent Democrat’s remarks at the end of the related Fox News segment:
Transcript (some verbiage is not present, as there was a great deal of cross talk):
SHOW HOST KELLY WRIGHT: Truth be told, aren’t both candidates flawed, in terms of Hillary Clinton not being trustworthy, and Donald Trump not being viewed as being qualified? Doesn’t that mean that both candidates are flawed, and both of them have to work hard to make sure that they ensure getting some confidence within the American people?
MARK LEVINE (D-Va.): I think Donald Trump is appealing to people who are mentally deficient. I really do. I think he’s reaching out to people who believe awful things who might take a pop at Hillary Clinton.
WRIGHT: Angela, last word. Angela, last word, real quick, I gotta go.
ANGELA MCGLOWAN: Oh Mark, okay so I guess that you’re a psychiatrist. Oh, so I guess, so there are four-star generals who have endorsed Mr. Trump, so then they’re mentally ill? C’mon, Mark.
LEVINE: Dangerous people follow this stuff.
Despite his worries about what “mentally deficient” Trump supporters might do to Hillary Clinton, the fact remains that Trump received Secret Service protection during the Republican primaries in early November 2015 (as did then-candidate Ben Carson) after requesting it in October. That’s far earlier than presidential candidates who have not yet been officially nominated traditionally have. Why? Because of “heightened threats against them.”
There was at least one actual attempted attack on Trump at his rallies. It took place in Dayton, Ohio, and it was considered “a far more dangerous situation than it originally appeared on television.” Additionally, Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin crashed the Republican Convention, creating a disruptive situation on which an actual attacker, if somehow present, might have been able to capitalize.
More generally, there are far more individuals who have thought that it’s cool to wish death on Trump in social media than have expressed such a wish for Mrs. Clinton. Some have occasionally gone further. In November of last year, a person tweeted a suggestion that “gangsters and what not … clearly have a mission on Wednesday (to) Kill Donald Trump” at a planned rally in Worcester, Massachusetts.
While Hillary Clinton has certainly received death threats, as all major-party presidential nominees unfortunately have, I’m not aware of any actual attempts on her life. So one might be tempted to ask, since Mark Levine brought up the subject, what it is about her candidacy, or leftist politics in general, which drove the apparently mentally deficient Trump attacker in Dayton.
Of course, that’s really an unfair and out of bounds question, which is the point. No reasonable person believes that Donald Trump was advocating violence against Hillary Clinton when he speculated on what might happen if Mrs. Clinton, who has a year ago insisted that the Supreme Court “got it wrong” when it declared in 2008 that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, were to follow her beliefs and gave up her armed protective detail.
Although he will surely claim that he was limiting his “mentally deficient” characterization to those who might want to “take a pop at Hillary Clinton,” Levine clearly came off as making a far broader statement about Trump supporters. Didn’t someone else say that “half” of Trump’s supporters belong in a “basket of deplorables”? Why yes, that was Hillary Clinton.
Mrs. Clinton, as is her habit, issued a non-apology apology for her remarks. Sadly, she seems congenitally incapable of simply saying these six magic words: “I was wrong. I am sorry.”
Despite his party’s standard-bearer’s lack of integrity, Levine owes Trump and his supporters an unconditional apology that I strongly suspect we’ll never hear. It’s likely that the press will give him cover by failing to give what he said the kind of visibility it deserves, even as they continue to go after lower-level center-right activists and officials when they commit the slightest misstep.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.