If anyone was confused about the sincerity of Trump's effort to escape the bad press from ripping children away from their parents, his silence hours after signing his executive order sealed the deal.
Trump exposed the hollowness of his executive order on separating families at the border when he completely ignored the topic at his rally Wednesday night.
Trump's trip to Duluth, Minnesota, was delayed Wednesday afternoon so he could hold a hastily scheduled photo op, during which he claimed to have been disturbed by "the sight" of families being separated, and signed an order that did nothing to help the children whom he has ripped away from their parents.
Whatever emotion Trump feigned at that photo op obviously dissipated in a few short hours, because Trump did not mention the children even once during his speech in Duluth Wednesday evening.
In fact, Trump studiously avoided mentioning the children, even as he tried to attack the media for covering the issue.
"This is why they are building up immigration, so you can't see what's going on in Congress," Trump said, pointing to the assembled media. "They don't want to show what's happening in Congress, with this whole scam that's been revealed."
"So they want to stay on immigration, where Obama had bigger problems than anybody, where Bush had problems, they wanted to stay on immigration because they didn't want to go into the halls of Congress, which has totally revealed by the Russian scam that's going on."
Trump's silence about the children might seem confusing, since just hours earlier, he was trying to take credit for solving a problem that he, in fact, created. It is a lie that he solved it, but a lie that you'd think he would want to tell.
But Trump's orbit is made up of the sorts of people who follow his lead in sneering at and mocking disabled immigrant children who were ripped away from their parents. In the Trump administration, even phony compassion for immigrants would be a bug, not a feature.
And thanks to Trump's constant stream of xenophobic hate, his base has come to expect this sort of sideshow at every campaign rally and public event.
Trump may not know much, but as this episode vividly demonstrates, he knows his audience.