On Friday, five Trump things happened. First, he canceled a campaign speech in the aftermath of the shootings in Dallas. That was good. Then, he issued a lengthy, measured statement (below) that walked the line between mourning the tragedy in Dallas while continuing to mourn ‘senseless” deaths of civilians shot by police. Again, that was good.
Before we go on to three and four, here is the full text of Donald Trump’s official statement:
Last night’s horrific execution-style shootings of 12 Dallas law enforcement officers — five of whom were killed and seven wounded — is an attack on our country. It is a coordinated, premeditated assault on the men and women who keep us safe.
We must restore law and order. We must restore the confidence of our people to be safe and secure in their homes and on the street.
The senseless, tragic deaths of two motorists in Louisiana and Minnesota reminds us how much more needs to be done.
This morning I offer my thoughts and prayers for all of the victims’ families, and we pray for our brave police officers and first responders who risk their lives to protect us every single day.
Our nation has become too divided. Too many Americans feel like they’ve lost hope. Crime is harming too many citizens. Racial tensions have gotten worse, not better. This isn’t the American Dream we all want for our children.
This is a time, perhaps more than ever, for strong leadership, love and compassion. We will pull through these tragedies.
Okay, third thing, he released this video, which was … fine, I guess.
There was a misstep when he tried to speak to police in New York City. But then …
Then he did the smartest thing he’s ever done about anything ever, in the history of forever. He. Shut. The hell. Up.
He’s not tweeting. He’s not on Fox News blathering. He’s blissfully gone from the airwaves and information byways. Golden silence.
Now maybe that was his idea, and maybe it wasn’t, but it’s brilliant. He could only hurt himself (and by the way, the rest of us) with his trademark “bluster,” as people kindly euphemize it. He blew it after Orlando by calling for gun control. In fact, he regularly blows chances to show poise and leadership (not to mention get ahead in the polls). He would (and still might) definitely have blown it by going unscripted on television or barreling half-cocked across Twitter on an issue that is racially charged, nuanced, and sensitive. Quiet is his best, maybe only option in this situation.
He stopped talking. He went away. He shut up. He gave us time off. We’re not looking at him or listening to him. It’s the best thing he could possibly do for America.
We’ll see how long it lasts.
And of course, it doesn’t bode well for someone who wants to be President that the best thing he can do in a situation that requires leadership is to zip it. But that’s a whole other thing. For now, nice job, Donald. Two moves right on the mark, one that was at least not blazingly awful, and one that is silently the best thing you’ve ever done. Well done, sir.