Saturday night a man killed 50 people and injured 53 more in a shooting spree in a gay club in Orlando Florida. The shooter claimed allegiance to ISIS, but also, according to his father, he was “angered a couple months ago when he saw two men kissing in Miami” and “that it may be related to the shooting.” It was, as President Obama remarked, “an act of terror and an act of hate.”
It didn’t take Republicans long to hit the social media trail with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) quickly tweeting that, as it says in the bible, man “reaps what he sows.” A staff member quickly tried to back off the callous triumphalism, claiming that Patrick wasn’t referring to the shooting of LGBT people in Orlando, and had posted the message before he knew about the massacre.
But why else did Patrick tweet this message bright and early on that particular Sunday morning? Since his spokesperson asserts that he didn’t know abut the shooting, it couldn’t have referred to the havoc we sow when we make military assault weapons easily available to all and sundry, including suspected terrorists – a privilege specifically guaranteed to those on terrorism watch lists at the insistence of Republican in congress.
Perhaps he was tweeting about the the selection of the crass and racist Donald Trump as the Republican Party presidential nominee. GOP pols who have spent the last 30-40 years broadcasting racist dog-whistles cannot be surprised at the potentially destructiveTrumpian harvest they are now reaping. In a piece aptly titled, The party of Lincoln is dying, conservative WaPo columnist Michael Gerson noted that, “since Trump now owns them [i.e., Republicans], they now own his prejudice […] .
And, make no mistake, the list of Republicans stumbling and staggering into the Trump camp grows daily. All four Missouri GOP gubernatorial candidates are all in for Trump – with more or less enthusiasm. Republican Senator Roy Blunt may have declared his intention to do no more than support the party nominee in the early days of the GOP Trump surge, but he’s finally shuffled into position for Trump. It doesn’t matter if any of them are racists in private when, by supporting Trump, they freely choose to present a racist face in public.
As for Trump, his response to the Orlando shooting tells us all we need to know about today’s GOP. Upon learning about the shooting, the narcissistic Islamophobe tweeted:
Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!
Using a mass murder as an occasion to gloat! But hey, it’s all about Trump, isn’t it? He followed up this morning with another tweet calling once again for a ban on admitting Muslims to the U.S. (not a word about homophobes or limiting access to assault weapons):
What has happened in Orlando is just the beginning. Our leadership is weak and ineffective. I called it and asked for the ban. Must be tough
Just goes to show, lie down with dogs and get up with fleas – or, how about putting it like this, GOP – you’ll soon reap the bitter harvest you’ve sown.