Failing self-awareness, boycott-loving Trump condemns boycotts

A couple of weeks ago, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran a report on Bernie Marcus, the 90-year-old Atlantan who helped found Home Depot, and how he intends to donate much of his considerable fortune. The article noted, among other things, Marcus’ financial support for Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election, following his other Republican contributions in recent election cycles.

This apparently prompted some on the left to call for a Home Depot boycott, despite Marcus’ retirement from the company several years ago.

The whole story was fairly obscure, though that changed last night when the president turned to Twitter to share several thoughts on the subject.

“A truly great, patriotic & charitable man, Bernie Marcus, the co-founder of Home Depot who, at the age of 90, is coming under attack by the Radical Left Democrats with one of their often used weapons. They don’t want people to shop at those GREAT stores because he contributed to your favorite President, me!

“These people are vicious and totally crazed, but remember, there are far more great people (‘Deplorables’) in this country, than bad. Do to them what they do to you. Fight for Bernie Marcus and Home Depot!

“More and more the Radical Left is using Commerce to hurt their ‘Enemy.’ They put out the name of a store, brand or company, and ask their so-called followers not to do business there. They don’t care who gets hurt, but also don’t understand that two can play that game!”

If I worked at Home Depot’s corporate public-relations department, I suspect Twitter tantrums like these would be unwelcome. There’s not much of an upside for a major national retailer to be in the middle of an odd partisan fight, the result of which is being tied to one side of the political divide.

But what makes Trump’s missives especially interesting is the degree to which they represent a failure of self-awareness.

In this instance, the Republican president didn’t just rally in support of Home Depot; he also denounced boycotts themselves as an ugly political tactic.

Look at that quote again: “More and more the Radical Left is using Commerce to hurt their ‘Enemy.’ They put out the name of a store, brand or company, and ask their so-called followers not to do business there. They don’t care who gets hurt, but also don’t understand that two can play that game!”

The trouble, of course, is that Trump is describing one of his own favorite tactics. He routinely takes aim at perceived “enemies” by putting out the name of a store, brand, or company, and asking his followers not to do business there, indifferent to who may get hurt.

The list of companies Trump has urged his supporters to boycott isn’t short, and it includes Harley-Davidson, CNN, Apple, Macy’s, Univision, the country of Mexico, and HBO, among others.

Maybe Trump doesn’t remember his own embrace of the tactic he’s now denouncing. Maybe he thinks boycotts are only worthy of condemnation when they’re launched by the left.

Either way, this is ridiculous.