As Donald Trump's careening disaster of a regime blunders through the days and weeks, with his approval ratings dropping into the 30's headed for irrelevance, his campaign rallies aren't drawing the kinds of crowds he's used to. Nobody's angrier about that than the Donald himself, who has already fired his chief rally organizer for failure to find enough people to fill the Phoenix Convention Center last week and sate his boundless ego.
Donald Trump was in a bad mood before he emerged for a confrontational speech in Arizona last week.
TV and social media coverage showed that the site of his campaign rally, the Phoenix Convention Center, was less than full. Backstage, waiting in a room with a television monitor, Trump was displeased, one person familiar with the incident said: TV optics and crowd sizes are extremely important to the president.
As his surrogates warmed up the audience, the expanse of shiny concrete eventually filled in with cheering Trump fans. But it was too late for a longtime Trump aide, George Gigicos, the former White House director of advance who had organized the event as a contractor to the Republican National Committee. Trump later had his top security aide, Keith Schiller, inform Gigicos that he’d never manage a Trump rally again, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Gigicos, one of the four longest-serving political aides to the president, declined to comment.
Even by his standards, Trump was remarkably strident in Phoenix. After introductory speakers, including Vice President Mike Pence, lauded him for his commitment to racial harmony, the president came on stage and lambasted the media for what he called inaccurate reporting on his remarks about violence between hate groups and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.
He threatened to shut down the federal government unless Congress funds construction of the Mexican border wall he promised in his campaign. He telegraphed that he’d pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, convicted of defying a court order to stop racial profiling by his deputies. And in their home state, he assailed Arizona Senator John McCain for the failure of Obamacare repeal and Senator Jeff Flake for being "weak" on illegal immigration, without mentioning their names. Both are fellow Republicans.
Gigicos had staged the event in a large multipurpose room. The main floor space was bisected by a dividing wall, leaving part of the space empty. There were some bleachers off to the side, but otherwise the audience was standing -- and the scene appeared flat, lacking the energy and enthusiasm of other rallies.
If you had any doubt about the fragility of Trump's ego, his clinical narcissism, his constant need for approval and adoration, and above all his lack of fitness for the Oval Office, well those doubts should have been buried months ago. This is just the latest example of such clear malfeasance that it's head-spinning, we've seen case after case of this and we have for 18 months.
But America elected him anyway.
We have much lager problems in this country than Trump. He's the symptom. The real problem remains the tens of millions of us who thought he was was qualified enough to vote for.