Desensitized to Insanity: How has Trump Made it this Far?

By Dia Ascenzi

In the midst of one of the most unusual presidential elections in U.S. history, many are worried that the former businessman and reality TV star, Donald J. Trump, may actually become the President of the United States. He has done a fine job of dominating the media, and everything he has said and done since the start of his campaign has been put under a magnifying glass. Even in the final stages of a presidential election, he is as much a TV star as he ever was.

Despite the juicy details of some of his more recent antics, Trump has a lot of history many millennials aren’t familiar with. Donald Trump was a well-known figure long before The Apprentice. His endeavors have ranged from investing in and forming countless businesses, to guest-starring in movies and televisions shows, to owning most of the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA beauty pageants. He even appeared in several World Wrestling Entertainment events, and was eventually inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. His television presence is no doubt a factor in his success in the current presidential campaign.

Trump’s racist tendencies weren’t always as obvious as they are now, but it is frightening how many people still don’t see a problem with some (most) of the stuff he says. Perhaps one of the most notable comments was made by Trump at his presidential announcement speech. You’ve heard it a dozen or more times:

“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 us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

At first, many people wondered if Trump really believed the outrageous things he says, or was simply pandering to a right-wing audience. Yet, as the convention comes closer for the presumptive nominee, the rhetoric is getting more realistic, and frankly, frightening. And what’s worse, he has made no effort to apologize or refute any of these statements.

Trump has made very clear what he thinks about the Mexican border and illegal immigration, but has a very blurred idea of what illegal immigration is. In the recent hearing in the lawsuit against Trump University, Trump claimed that Judge Gonzalo Curiel was giving him unfair rulings because he was “Mexican,” and was therefore against Trump. Judge Curiel is an American citizen. He was born in Indiana. The fact that he is the son of Mexican immigrants is the entire basis for Trumps accusations. Therefore, they are false. So does that mean that, because Trump is misogynistic and wants to ban Muslims, that a woman or Muslim judge might not be able to judge him fairly either?

Over half a year ago, Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” based on assumptions that Muslims are associated with terrorism. Since the flak he got for it, Trump has since stated that everything was just a suggestion, and not necessarily a serious policy proposal. However, after the terrorist attack in Orlando this June, he has added an addendum to this proposal, vowing to “suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe, or our allies.” This close to the election, a claim like this can’t be taken lightly, or shrugged off as a “suggestion.” Now that it’s politically expedient to demagogue muslims, it is becoming clear that it was a serious policy proposal all along. However, he said the ban would only be temporary, or “until we fully understand how to end these threats.” But the kid wasn’t an immigrant. He was a U.S. citizen. So where is the line drawn on this so-called temporary ban? Is it to be retroactively implemented as far back as 30 years? At what point are we supposed to ban 1.6 billion people, and for how long?

It doesn’t stop with race or religion, though. At a rally, Trump obviously mocked a New York Times reporter who suffers from a joint condition that prevented him from moving his arms. A spokesman for the NY Times has since said “We think it's outrageous that he would ridicule the appearance of one of our reporters,” and his actions have been called “despicable” by ESPN reporter Don Van Natta Jr. Is this really the kind of gross and immature behavior you would want the President of the United States to show? If you caught your child doing something like that, you would smack them sideways.

Trump has fixated on looks more than once, and this isn’t the only time he’s mocked others based on their appearance. In a Twitter tantrum with Elizabeth Warren, Trump Called her “Goofy Elizabeth Warren.” In reference to Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, Trump stated “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her—wherever.”

Rolling Stones’ Paul Solotaroff writes that Trump stated, in reference to Carly Fiorina: “‘Look at that face!’ he cries. ‘Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!’ The laughter grows halting and faint behind him. ‘I mean, she's a woman, and I'm not s'posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?’”

Okay, so shitty personality aside, Trump has still said some questionable things. When asked by George Stephanopoulos if he would authorize torture, he said “I would absolutely authorize something beyond waterboarding. And believe me, it will be effective. If we need information, George, you have our enemy cutting heads off of Christians and plenty of others, by the hundreds, by the thousands.” The possible next President of the United States just endorsed a war crime. He goes on to say at a campaign rally: “… and if it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway for what they do to us.” At least the Bush Administration had the humanity and legal knowledge to call it “enhanced interrogation.”

And that’s not the only war crime that Trump has claimed to support. On Fox and Friends, Trump stated, “I would knock the hell out of ISIS… [and] when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families.” Does he really mean targeting and killing relatives of suspected terrorists (not as collateral damage—actively seeking them out and killing them)? Of course, he later denied this statement, telling Anderson Cooper “I didn’t say kill. We have to go after them.” Couldn’t that still mean the same thing?  

And if all his nuclear loose talk doesn’t scare the hell out of you, I don’t know what will. Trump has no problem shaking up our nuclear alliances. He has even mentioned being comfortable with certain countries like Japan—countries we have treaties with—getting nukes, and has mused about a first-strike nuke (who the heck are we supposed to be nuking?).

Underneath all of Trump’s sexist, offensive, dangerous, irrational claims, he isn’t even that knowledgeable of the law. He once mentioned judges signing bills… And, time after time, he has challenged the very rule of law. He has talked about his desire to “open up” libel laws. You heard that right. Trump wants to impede freedom of speech, and freedom of press. Loosening libel laws? This is America. That shit cray.

There you have it. He’s your sexist, racist, immature ex-TV host. He wants to bring back torture “beyond waterboarding.” He wants to build a wall on the Mexican border, make them pay for it, ban all Muslims, and deport U.S. citizens. Any one of these aspects of his campaign would be disqualifying to any other candidate, yet, we’ve become desensitized to the insanity Trump has spewed. We’ve become used to it, and now he’s the Republican nominee. He’s The Donald.