'What (the Hell!) do you have to lose?' Trump tweeted this week.
Donald Trump implored New Yorkers to vote for him on Tuesday, tweeting, "New York. Vote for Trump. What (the Hell!) do you have to lose?"
Trump's campaign message came in response to a tweet by the Police Benevolent Association of New York, the city's largest police union. The union, which has also endorsed Trump, blamed reports of multiple shootings over the weekend on the movement to defund the police, even though there's no evidence backing the assertion that proposed cuts to the NYPD have led to a rise in crime.
In reality, the pandemic and its attendant psychological and economic impacts could be behind the rise in shootings. Although most crimes have dropped with more people staying indoors, violent shootings have remained at similar rates or even increased.
"Gun violence typically rises in summer, as warmer weather draws more people outside and tempers flare in the heat. But this year, the violence has been especially fierce in cities across the country: The coronavirus outbreak has deepened the endemic problems that often underlie gun violence, including poverty, unemployment, housing instability and hunger [...]," the New York Times reported back in August.
Trump's pitch to New Yorkers this week is especially odd given how much he's badmouthed the city in recent months.
Just last week, he claimed New York City had "gone to hell."
At the last debate, he practically delivered a funeral sermon. "Look at what’s happened to New York, it's a ghost town. It's a ghost town," he said. "For so many years I loved it, it was vibrant. It's dying, everyone is leaving New York."
In September, Trump dubbed the city an "anarchist jurisdiction" and threatened to withhold federal funding, amid widespread protests against racism and police brutality.
"Anarchy has recently beset some of our states and cities," Mr. Trump wrote in a memo, citing several cities including New York. "My administration will not allow federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones."
Trump's claims that the city has descended into anarchist chaos are belied by several facts on the ground, including an influx of people moving to the city, some of the lowest COVID-19 rates in the country, and orderly lines of masked, socially distanced voters waiting to cast their ballots early.
Trump's drawn out battle with New York intensified earlier this year at the start of the pandemic, when he refused to help states with ventilator and other equipment shortages even as they faced a surging outbreak, then suggested they had mishandled assistance the federal government eventually sent their way.
As recently as last month, Trump was suggesting New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was "ungrateful" for that delayed assistance and bragging that, "If you take the blue states out, we're at a level [of deaths and overall cases] that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at."
"We’re really at a very low level but some of the states — they were blue states, and blue-state management," he claimed, referring to places like New York and California.
Trump is facing a tough reelection battle with his rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, leading him in several important swing states and districts he won in 2016. In recent weeks, he has launched attacks on Biden and his son in the form of debunked conspiracies while suggesting the country will become an unstable and dark place under a Biden administration.
Biden, meanwhile has sought to contrast himself with Trump's red state/blue state rhetoric, ensuring voters he will be a president for all.
"I’ll be a president for all Americans. Not just the ones who vote for me," he tweeted earlier in October.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.