Four Words

Amy Davidson in The New Yorker:

PulseOf all the words that Donald J. Trump flings into the world, the four most Trumpian are “We have no choice.” It’s a favorite phrase, and one that he used last week in response to the attack at Pulse, a gay dance club in Orlando, where Omar Mateen shot and killed forty-nine people and wounded fifty-three more. Mateen was an American, born in New York to Afghan parents. Yet Trump said the lesson of Orlando is that “we have no choice” but to institute a temporary ban that would prevent non-citizen Muslims from entering the United States. He said the same thing when he first called for the ban, last December, after the San Bernardino shooting. That time, he chanted it in triplicate—“We have no choice! We have no choice! We have no choice!”—as if it were a spell that would make him Presidential, or make his listeners forget that he is not.

Trump has invoked choicelessness to explain everything from why he will build a wall on the border with Mexico to why he talked about his anatomy during a Republican primary debate. The phrase is a dismissal of rational discussion and an intimation of the doom that awaits if Trump is not heeded. In his recent book, “Crippled America,” he said of his decision to run for the White House, “I had no choice. I see what’s happening to our country; it’s going to hell.” Orlando was the first major domestic-terrorism crisis since Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee. His first response was to brag about “the congrats” he’d been receiving for having been “right on radical Islam.” Over the next few days, he suggested that President Obama had willfully failed to stop the shooting, for mysterious and possibly sinister reasons (“There’s something going on”), and accused American Muslims as a group of being similarly delinquent. He said, “They’re not reporting people, and they have to do that,” and insisted that America is “not going to continue to survive like this.”

More here.