When President Donald Trump spoke at a rally in El Paso, Texas on Monday night, February 12, it was very much a rally-the-base event aimed at his hardcore Republican supporters. But not all conservatives were excited by Trump’s El Paso speech, and according to conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, the speech demonstrates that the only real support he has left in 2019 is from “sycophantic right-wing media” and “cult-like followers.”
Trump chose El Paso (which is right across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico) to, as Rubin notes, “whip up his base in favor of a wall” on the U.S./Mexico border. And Rubin points out that it was also on Monday night that Congress agreed to a spending bill that will keep the federal government open after February 15 if the president signs in. Putting together a bill that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could agree upon was not easy, but they got it done—although it remains to be seen whether or not Trump will sign it.
Rubin writes, “Trump, who might not have known the outcome of the negotiations before taking the stage, hollered at the crowd that he’d build the wall no matter what. He egged on the audience as it chanted, ‘Lock her up,’ more than two years after beating Hillary Clinton in the presidential race and while under scrutiny himself in a slew of investigations.”
The conservative columnist stresses that Trump didn’t convert anyone to Trumpism during his El Paso speech; he was strictly playing to his diehard supporters.
“It’s the same nonsensical, incoherent rambling that only his hard-line base appreciates,” Rubin emphasizes. “To others, he sounds unhinged and desperate.”
Rubin also points out that when Trump was rallying in El Paso, Democrat Beto O’Rourke was having a counter-rally in the West Texas city—and he attracted roughly the same amount of Texans, if not more.
“Trump, as he is accustomed to do, bragged about his crowd size,” Rubin observes. “Multiple reports suggested it was about the same size as, if not smaller than, O’Rourke’s gathering.”
Rubin concludes her column by stressing that at this point, Trump is strictly preaching to the choir—and he isn’t winning over any new supporters.
“Trump is left with his cult-like followers, vague threats to ‘finish’ the wall regardless of Congress, his mindless chants and his sycophantic right-wing media,” Rubin asserts. “As for the rest of the country, most Americans have little reason to pay attention to his rants. He’s not setting policy nor saying anything new. In fact, he has become a bit of a bore.”