Trump Rejoices at How the Landscape Has Changed

by Pelican Press
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Trump Rejoices at How the Landscape Has Changed

A mini-motorcade of golf carts cruised down the palm tree-lined pathway. Up in front was Donald J. Trump, riding shotgun as his second son, Eric, drove them right onto the green of their golf course in Doral, Fla., where crowds of sweaty supporters stood by barricaded sand traps, waiting, as the mercury hovered around 100.

Mr. Trump had not been seen in days, and now there he was on Tuesday night, standing on a stage that had been erected near the golf course’s 10th hole. Squinting, he looked out.

Oh, how much the landscape had changed, and in such a short time.

The word “landslide” is now credibly being mentioned about Mr. Trump for the first time in his political career. Earlier on Tuesday, the nonpartisan election forecaster Cook Political Report slid six states in his direction.

The “Democrat party,” he began, “is divided in chaos. And having a full-scale breakdown.”

No lie detected there.

In the first moments after President Biden’s meltdown on the debate stage 13 days ago, Mr. Trump, too, had seemed oddly unnerved. He held a rally in Virginia the day after to crow about how he had conquered, but there was also an undercurrent of concern — a genuine fear that the Democrats might actually unite to replace Mr. Biden with a more formidable candidate.

Mr. Trump openly addressed that uncertainty in Virginia. But then, in an uncharacteristic display of discipline, he restrained his id and listened to his superego, largely disappearing from view to let the Democratic infighting play out.

That relatively silent period seems to have passed. As Mr. Trump told Sean Hannity on Monday, he now feels assured that Mr. Biden will remain his opponent. “He’s got an ego and he doesn’t want to quit,” Mr. Trump told the Fox News host. “I think Jill would like to see him stay. She’s having a good time. I noticed she really seems to be having a good time.”

Which means now that Mr. Trump can have a really good time.

“We are going to beat them in thundering landslides!” he boasted Tuesday.

Many members of his family accompanied him to Doral for this triumphal moment, even his 18-year-old son, Barron. It was Barron’s first Trump rally, according to his father.

“Where is Barron?” the former president asked from the stage. “Stand up! Look at him!” The youngest of the brood rose and pumped his arms and fists, his mannerisms and appearance — full suit, tie and cuff links — so remarkably like those of his father.

“You’re pretty popular,” Mr. Trump observed as the crowd began to chant his son’s name. “He might be more popular than Don and Eric!” He laughed, adding, “Welcome to the scene, Barron.”

This week, Barron’s mother has started to reappear on the scene, too. While her son was making his debut in Doral, Melania Trump was back at Trump Tower in Manhattan, headlining a fund-raiser with gay Republicans that reportedly raised $1.4 million.

Mr. Trump had every reason to be magnanimous Tuesday night: He was on his own property, playing paterfamilias, while his wife was out raising money for him and his opponents were dissolving into molten dread.

And yet, at various points in his 90-minute performance, Mr. Trump sounded eye-wateringly cruel.

He gleefully asserted that Mr. Biden had undergone many botched face lifts and has “really bad hair.” He went on about how revolting Mr. Biden looked in a bathing suit, referring to photos of him sitting shirtless in a beach chair. “You know those chairs are meant for children and old people to lift, and he can’t even lift them,” Mr. Trump jeered.

He repeatedly called Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor, “a fat pig,” and suggested that Nancy Pelosi might actually be deteriorating faster than Mr. Biden. “She’s not doing too well,” he said buoyantly.

Though everything was going his way, he struck familiarly paranoid notes, telling his listeners (who included several of his grandchildren) about a “sinister plot to defraud the American public” that was being woven by a shadowy establishment that hated them.

And, while calling for the death penalty for drug dealers, he did a histrionically singsong impression of a mother watching her “child hopelessly dying in their arms, screaming, ‘What can I do, what can I do? Help me, God, what can I do?’”

Still, this counted as a rollicking good time in Mr. Trump’s estimation: He proudly posted pictures of Barron at the rally to his Truth Social account the next morning.

“What a GREAT RALLY,” he wrote. “WOW, it was really special.”

Michael Gold contributed reporting.

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