In her interview with President Trump, Maria Bartiromo cited the polite protest of the Red Hen restaurant, along with the crass denunciations of a couple movie stars, to highlight the alleged incivility of Trump’s opponents. This is a favored theme of the right, though a tricky one to emphasize, given the irrepressible bullying vulgarity of the president himself.
“As the commander-in-chief, as the president of this great country, what can you do to bring us together?” she asked. This is Bartiromo prodding Trump to utter some dignified-sounding banalities about American unity in order to promote the fiction that he is above the level of his cherry-picked opponents. Trump failed to pick up on the cue.
“Our people are so incredible,” he replied, in what could have developed into some acceptable pabulum about the great American people, but which Trump immediately made clear was a reference limited to the people who voted for him: “Do you know, there’s probably never been a base in the history of politics in this country like my base. I hope the other side realizes that they better just take it easy.”
Trump no longer does interviews with real journalists, because he can’t answer their questions without revealing a total ignorance of the subject matter, incriminating himself, or both. But sometimes even the interviews with his own allies and advisers from Fox News founder on his inability to follow the obvious stage instructions. Trump is being invited to cast himself as the president of the entire country, but he is so ingrained in his gut-level partisanship, he can’t manage to utter the required bromides.