A Tour of Trump’s “Blood Bath” Rubble

Mort Rosenblum / Mort Report
A Tour of Trump’s “Blood Bath” Rubble Donald Trump speaks at a rally. (photo: Eric Thayer/Reuters)

After months in a Barbie-bedazzled America heedless of Oppenheimer’s dark warnings, approaching elections terrify me. I’ve covered Trump-type despots who con their way to power since the 1960s. Almost invariably, they do what they say they will, then follow with worse.

Nations that learn the hard way why history matters share what the French call a longue mémoire. Too many Americans with the attention span of fruit flies on fentanyl may soon dump a remarkably effective president to bring back a monster.

I heard an MSNBC anchor tell a panel, with an amused laugh, “Yes, we don’t want to relitigate Covid.” Why not?

Ukraine and Gaza wars sparked by Donald Trump’s folly have taken 60,000 lives. His depraved disregard for a deadly virus killed well over 10 times that many in America alone. It caused the soaring inflation and global bedlam that so many people blame on Joe Biden.

As if insurrection, purloining state secrets, election tampering, fraud and sexual assault were not enough, that is a clearcut crime against humanity. Americans ignore at their peril his favorite catchphrase: “blood bath.”

A brash outsider had a reasonable appeal in 2016 to Americans eager for change. Today, he aims to replace democracy with demagogy. Eight billion people share a fragile lifeboat; he is chopping holes in the hull. November 5 will amount to a national referendumb.


Trump’s climate denial would shorten human life on earth: droughts, freak storms, rising seas, famine. Mitigation requires urgent joint world action. But he reneged on the 2015 Paris accords, giving governments and fossil fuel producers an excuse to keep on polluting.

A look back at his Covid response curls my toes. He blocked funding for the World Health Organization, seeking a scapegoat for his own failings. That, Nicholas Kristof wrote in the New York Times, “is like taking away a fire department’s trucks in the middle of a blaze.”

An upcoming Report will detail how his quackery — and his politicizing a deadly pathogen — allowed the virus to mutate across an unprotected world with inevitable blowback to America. This one is a look at issues around which November elections will turn.

Trump’s puppetry of House stooges while out of office is a tepid foretaste of what to expect if he returns with a Republican majority: corrupt justice that targets the First Amendment but fortifies the Second, curbed personal freedoms, a wider gap between rich and desperate.

In “foreign affairs,” secondary to many voters, he would gut NATO and cheer on autocrats. Vladmir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu await a green light for wider war. China and Iran are arming fast to prepare for the worst. Butchery and famine worsen in Africa.

“America First” is selfish and stupid. The lone superpower committed to basic human values can hardly shrug off its historic role. The United States, far from exemplary since 9/11, needs a stable, sane leader backed by competent legislators to correct its course.

Trump’s absurd attentions elevated Kim Jong-un to a world-class player who is building nukes to reach America. Using them would be suicidal. That was Oppenheimer’s fear: It is too risky to have to guess at what a cornered crazy might do, in North Korea or anywhere else.

The free world helped Hungary fend off Soviet oppression in 1956 and 1989, welcoming dissidents forced to flee. Now a fascist Trump ally brutally repels refugees. That reflects a global migration challenge, which blindered Americans see as their own narrow problem.

The “border crisis” is Trump’s favorite bogey to alarm his zealots – and a lot of others -- who forget what their bibles say about kindness to strangers. Multiple millions are on the move across the globe in human tides that swell by the year.

The irony is staggering in Africa. Americans once enslaved people captured by rival tribes to suffer a perilous Atlantic passage. Now Africans on the edge make the voyage on their own, forced to face robbery, rape or murder as they wait to cross into an America that rejects them.

In Paris, a young Senegalese woman detailed to me how so many West Africans now transit Nicaragua and head north rather than risk leaky boats or treks across the Sahara toward a hostile Europe. I asked whether they were attracted by some American dream.

“No,” she replied. “They just want to get out of Africa.” That echoed what I hear often from South Asians, Middle Easterners and others uprooted by senseless wars, climate collapse or dead-end poverty, if not all three.

Again, this is Trump. He shut the border and slashed aid to destitute countries. Now he blocks bipartisan action to deal humanely with the inevitable backlog of migrants and asylum seekers. It is administrative problem, not a crisis. The U.S. economy badly needs willing workers.

Besieged wealthy societies must have strict border controls. They also need concerted action to confront the reasons why so many flee family homes, farms and fishing grounds where most would rather stay put.

Trump says America needs more “nice people” as immigrants, such as northern Europeans who are better off where they are. I presume he includes the Rupert Murdochs and Elon Musks who feed the economy but for whom “nice” is a stretch.

In transparent Trumpspeak, that means white people, preferably Christian, like those who fear dark-skinned outsiders are destroying the God-given promised land they began populating in the 1600s. A stunning new book by Marie Arana puts that into perspective.


Marie, born in Lima to a Peruvian engineer and an American with deep roots in New England, came to New Jersey as a kid. After a publishing career and editing the Washington Post’s Book World, she is a prolific author and literary director at the Library of Congress.

She edited “Mission to Civilize,” a 1986 book I wrote on how the French civilized much of the world, like it or not. Napoleon used the term América Latine. He planned to colonize chunks of North and South America, linking them to southern Europe, which spoke Latin-based languages.

Marie’s “Latinoland: A Portrait of America’s Largest and Least Understood Minority,” delves deeply into Spain, which muscled aside France. And much more.

Based on archeology and hard science rather than “intelligent design” wishful thinking, she traces immigration to North America back 20 millennia to when nomadic bands moved into what is now Alaska before the Bering Straits separated the continent from Russia.

One paragraph makes the point about people who U.S. laws define as “aliens.”

“If twenty thousand years of human history were collapsed into a week, the indigenous Latino has been here the entire time. The conquistadores arrived on this American continent within the last four hours. The English settlers, a mere one hundred minutes ago.”

And a frontispiece quoting a Peruvian journalist from a century ago defines the result:

“We are not a race, a nation, a state, a language, a culture; we are the simultaneous transcendence of all these things through something so modern, so unknown, that we still have no name.”

“Latinos” today number 63 million, 19 percent of the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that to reach 111.2 million by 2060, nearly a third of the population. They are a blend of just about every ethnicity and skin tone on the planet.

The “Latin vote” includes Marco Rubio, from a family that left Cuba in the 1950s who now wants to slam the door behind him. But, also, Jésus Gonzales, my big-hearted workaday born-in-Mexico friend in Tucson -- the polar opposite of Trump’s cruel stereotypes.

Of course, some are abhorrent. Humans come in all kinds. But I grew up along the border, went to school for a time in Mexico, and I’ve reported from all over Latin America. For flavor and hearty substance in the proverbial melting pot, it is hard to imagine a better set of ingredients.

At full employment, the country needs four million new workers a year to prosper. But Trump’s animal cunning sniffs the national mood. He promises to use the military for mass deportations and a crackdown on political asylum enshrined in international law.


Technology allows anyone to dig deep into hard realities of just about anything, in any language, to confront smoldering embers before they burst into flame. But that takes time and effort.

Most of us think like our computers; we crunch nuanced context into generality that misleads more than informs. Crucial stories go unnoticed. Schools teach increasingly less “civics” and critical thinking. Even quality news media focus on the present, omitting the recent past.

Whether by cupidity or stupidity, Trump maintains a hardcore one-third of voters. Some amass profits at the cost of their children’s future. A few are subhuman, like those who parade in pickups with an effigy of a hogtied, prostrate Biden. He calls those who attacked Capitol police “patriots” jailed as “hostages.”

Another third are deserters who see democracy as a spectator sport they choose to ignore. That leaves the rest to equip fence-sitters with observable facts -- and to explain why any ballot cast for a spoiler third candidate tilts the odds toward Trump.

Biden has his faults. But considering what Trump left behind, he has been extraordinarily effective. The U.S. economy far outperforms Europe. He is keeping major promises despite Republican recalcitrance and building infrastructure that Trump failed to deliver.

But go figure. He faces irrational scorn for inflation, the border crush, societal disruption, hot wars in Europe and the Middle East, a cold one with China, the Afghanistan collapse – all Trump’s legacy. The more he achieves, the farther he lags in the polls.

Biden is old but in better shape than the obese alternative whose unhinged rambling suggests dementia. His long experience matters. Kamala Harris’s respect earned abroad equips her to complete his term if necessary.

Should Trump step down early, consider the inept ideologues jockeying to be vice president. This is no time for amateurs.

The result hangs on a few Electoral College outcomes in states prepared to cheat. In Arizona, Kari Lake still insists she was elected governor and polls ahead of Ruben Gallego, an ex-Marine Democrat, for a Senate seat. Even Trump opposes the state’s draconian 1864 anti-abortion law.

Palestine sympathizers in Michigan want to punish Biden for a situation Trump created. Biden is pushing for a two-state solution and trying to contain the war. If back in the Oval, Trump would urge Israeli hardliners to crack down harder in Gaza while moving deeper into the West Bank.

Lunacy reigns. Britain’s Lord Cameron, a former prime minister, came to Washington to plead for blocked aid. Marjorie Taylor Greene reacted in character: “He can kiss my ass.” She could be president if Trump wins but then implodes.

Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas saw why war is hell as a combat officer in Iraq and Afghanistan. He calls Biden a coward for not attacking Iran, the country that once sent human waves for eight years straight in a standoff with Saddam Hussein.

In sum, Republicans have abandoned all principle for a partisan takeover of America at any cost. George Stephanopoulos made that plain in an interview with Chris Sununu on ABC.

At the end, Stephanopoulos asked the New Hampshire governor if he would remain loyal even though he believes Trump had inflamed an insurrection, was lying about a stolen election or if he loses in a felony trial. “I just want to say, the answer to that is yes, correct?” he concluded.

“Yeah,” Sununu replied. “Me and 51 percent of America.”

Yet some signs encourage, and time remains. Last week, Speaker Mike Johnson defied House crazies to push through $61 billion in military aid to Ukraine after months of stalling.

Whatever, it will be close. The United States has seen a lot of ups and downs since those founders put together a fledgling new nation. Today, Ben Franklin’s definition of it resonates louder than ever: “a republic, if you can keep it.” We’ll see in November.

EXPLORE THE DISQUS SETTINGS: Up at the top right of the comments section your name appears in red with a black down arrow that opens to a menu. Explore the options especially under Your Profile and Edit Settings. On the Edit Settings page note the selections on the left side that allow you to control email and other notifications. Under Profile you can select a picture or other graphic for your account, whatever you like. COMMENT MODERATION: RSN is not blocking your comments, but Disqus might be. If you have problems use our CONTACT PAGE and let us know. You can also Flag comments that are seriously problematic.

rsn / send to friend

form code