In Closing Message, Trump Flexes Right-Wing Nationalism Muscle He’s Spent Years Working Out

President Donald J. Trump speaks. At the Reading Regional Airport in Bern Township, PA Saturday afternoon October 31, 2020 where United States President Donald J. Trump spoke during a campaign rally for his bid for reelection.
Bern twp., PA - October 31: President Donald J. Trump speaks. At the Reading Regional Airport in Bern Township, PA Saturday afternoon October 31, 2020 where United States President Donald J. Trump spoke during a camp... Bern twp., PA - October 31: President Donald J. Trump speaks. At the Reading Regional Airport in Bern Township, PA Saturday afternoon October 31, 2020 where United States President Donald J. Trump spoke during a campaign rally for his bid for reelection. (Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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November 1, 2020 6:21 p.m.

President Donald Trump on Sunday delivered a dark closing message to supporters in multiple states: A vote for Joe Biden is a vote for scary non-white people and the Chinese government taking control of your country. 

It wasn’t much of a departure from his closing message four years earlier, when a Trump television advertisement in the campaign’s final days positioned a “global power structure” — coincidentally illustrated by prominent Jewish Americans George Soros, Janet Yellen and Lloyd Blankfein — as scheming to undermine America’s working class. 

But in November 2020, a new cast of villains has emerged. 

In Michigan, for example, Trump bragged of having reversed an Obama-era regulation concerning low-income housing in suburbs and warned that Joe Biden would put Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) in charge of federal housing policy if victorious on Tuesday. Trump then said Biden would make Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress and a Somali refugee as a child, “in charge of immigration.”

Joe Biden’s plans to admit more refugees into the United States, Trump said, “will turn Michigan, Minnesota, and many other Midwest great states into refugee camps, which I’m sure you’re thrilled about.” Later he wondered aloud why the Department of Justice hadn’t investigated Omar or another frequent target of his, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), for elections-related violations.

Turning to Biden himself, Trump played video montages at multiple rallies showing the Democratic candidate — who has famously overcome a stutter — tripping over his words, but only after showing a separate montage of Biden talking about China’s rising economic capacity. The Trump campaign has tried for months to make an issue of Biden’s son’s business dealings in the country and paint the Democrat as “soft” on America’s geopolitical rival. China will “own the United States” if Biden wins, Trump promised in Iowa.

Separately, he lauded the harassment of a Biden campaign bus rolling through Texas on Saturday, an incident that the FBI acknowledged Sunday it was investigating. 

“Did you see the way our people, they were, ya know, protecting this bus,” he said, calling his supporters “nice.”

“They had hundreds of cars. Trump! Trump! Trump and the American flag.”

But casting Democrats as un-American usurpers to his throne was, naturally, only half of Trump’s message: His politics this past half-decade has in part been about building up a new brand of right-wing nationalism, and that message was as prominent as ever Sunday. 

In Michigan, for example, Trump offered a brief aside about wanting to jail Americans who burned the United States flag. As the audience cheered, he beckoned to one group in particular, apparently a huddle of nuns. 

“Even the sisters!” he exclaimed, before accusing the left of avoiding the flag. “I always say, if you look at a group, and you don’t see the American flag, you know that’s the opposition.” 

Later, after rolling out a laundry list of campaign trail fodder — promising to ban sanctuary cities, heightened penalties for attacking police, and increased protection for religious liberty and the Second Amendment — he went to the real Trump card. 

“We will stop the radical indoctrination of our students and restore patriotic education to our schools,” Trump said. “We will teach our children to love our country, honor our history and always respect our great American flag.” 

“We love you!” the crowd cheered, as the President made his exit.

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