It is the election that won’t end and, at least according to President Trump, a prelude to the current national hostility.
Before going onstage in Erie, Penn., Trump responded to his former rival, telling the Washington Examiner’s Salena Zito that Hillary Clinton’s rejection of civility was just another reason why she failed and he succeeded.
"I saw the statement by Hillary and that's why she lost - because she never got it. From day one, she never got it,” Trump told Zito.
Trump was referring to what can only be described as Clinton’s embrace of forgoing the high road for playing dirty. During a recent interview, Clinton told CNN that there are limits to civility—at least until members of her party regain power.
"You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about," Clinton told CNN's Christiane Amanpour. "That's why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and or the Senate, that's when civility can start again."
Civility wasn’t on display during the campaign, according to Trump, and it is easy to see why he makes that connection. A little more than two years ago, Clinton panned her opposition as nothing more than “a basket of deplorables.”
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Trump didn’t demonstrate the highest ideals of statesmanship and decency. He was the candidate who mocked and who derided and who even promised his supporters that he would pay their legal fees if they knocked “the crap out” of any protesters about to throw a tomato his way.
That sort of off-the-cuff, theatric irresponsibility pales in comparison to the current hostility sanctioned by the leaders of the Democratic establishment though. Trump believes that the incivility was baked-in from the beginning. “She didn't understand what her own party was,” he told Zito. “And that’s why Hillary lost. And that statement is another reason. That’s why she lost.”
Trump and the Republican Party have their own problems, to be sure. Clinton, her party, and the nation appear to have a bigger one. Clinton now follows in the footsteps of Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who has sanctioned the mob and who has urged activists to run anyone who disagrees with them out of town. Perhaps Clinton even inspired the words of Obama administration alumni, former Attorney General Eric Holder, who re-imagined Democratic strategy post-2016.
“When they go low, we kick ‘em,” Holder told Georgia Democrats on Sunday, flipping around the words of former first lady Michelle Obama. It’s a different, less tolerant era, Holder justified. “That’s what this new Democratic Party is about.”
Two years removed from the election and now that the Democratic establishment has embraced a new normal, Trump appears more than civil. He told Zito that he “wants to bring the country together.”
Compared to his opponents, Trump is the one who, perhaps ironically, sounds civil now.