When Donald Trump decided to call Hillary Clinton a “bigot” last week, the Republican didn’t cite any evidence or examples, but rather, shared his impression about his rival’s mindset.
“Hillary Clinton is a bigot who sees people of color only as votes,” Trump asserted, “not as human beings.”
Keep this in mind when considering what Trump said over the weekend.
Donald J. Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning to comment on the news that a cousin of Dwyane Wade, the N.B.A. star, had been shot and killed in Chicago, linking the death to his effort to win support from African-American voters.“Dwayne Wade’s cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago,” Mr. Trump wrote, misspelling Mr. Wade’s given name, which was later corrected. “Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!”
Four hours later, the Republican presidential candidate extended condolences to the family.
For now, however, let’s put aside Trump misspelling Wade’s name and his instinct to exploit first, console later. Instead, it’s worth appreciating two broader angles to a story like this.
First, when Trump accused Clinton of being a “bigot” because she sees people as “votes” and not “human beings,” he was apparently projecting. Confronted with news of a senseless murder, the GOP candidate’s first instinct is to connect the bloodshed to his campaign’s belated outreach to minority communities.
“African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP”? The GOP nominee is, in a rather literal sense, doing exactly what he accused Clinton of doing a few days earlier.
Second, Trump’s self-congratulatory instincts really aren’t doing him any favors. As we discussed a couple of months ago, one of the most striking things about Trump’s perceptions of current events is his narcissistic myopia.
For Trump, the importance of the mass-shooting in Orlando is something he once said on Twitter. For Trump, the importance of Brexit is how it might affect his golf course. For Trump, the importance of African-American alienation is how similar it is to his treatment during the GOP primaries.
The list keeps going. Trump seems to consume news through a rather twisted filter, with the Republican effectively concluding, on nearly a daily basis, “Hey, this news story is really about me.”
It’s not a healthy perspective.