No one, even the most fervent Trump supporters, can say that he advances the level of civility in our public discourse. Trump goes after everybody, in the most vicious possible way. He mocks John McCain, a genuine war hero dying of cancer. Trump mocks George H.W. Bush, a former president. He mocks Elizabeth Warren, Carmin Yulin Cruz [the mayor of San Juan], Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris… the list goes on. Trump supporters love his crude mocking, but the rest of us don’t.
Now, Trump surrogates are facing harassment as they go about their daily lives: Sara Huckabee Sanders was politely asked to leave a restaurant. Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled and driven from a restaurant in D. C. KellyAnne Conway, Stephen Miller, and now Mitch McConnell have been heckled and harassed. I suspect they feel smug and self-righteous, see it as taking one for their Boss.
President and Mrs. Obama used to have an occasional date night in a Washington, D.C. restaurant. They and their security detail would quietly slip into an eatery, often to a private room, while patrons politely ignored the big black cars parked outside and allowed the First Couple to have an evening. Trump goes to his Washington hotel to eat steak, not with Melania — the two of them seem to have very little of a coupled life. But can you imagine Trump and Melania going out on the town? I can’t, not in this environment.
I try to take the long view, to wonder how this era will be seen through an historical lens. Republicans have given up on “we the people”, and seem to relish Trump’s divisiveness and coarse mockery. Where does that do, in terms of our ability to sustain a functioning democracy? I don’t think we yet know.