Trump, the Master Troll, creates problems for Pelosi by supporting her

For a guy who is purportedly stupid and lacking in nuance, President Trump yesterday masterfully trolled Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party while superficially supporting her.  In just a few sentences, speaking to reporters prior to boarding Marine One, he took the high road, affirming that Nancy Pelosi is not a racist, gaining points as a healer.  But at the same time, he aggravated existing tensions in the opposition party and pushed the ranks of Democrats into a circular firing squad formation, where their anger can be directed against each other.  All in less than a minute and a half:

Grabien screen grab.

Transcript via Grabien:

REPORTER: "What do you make of the infighting going on among Democrats in Congress, Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?"

TRUMP: "I think Cortez, who kept Amazon out of New York, and they don't like her for that, thousands and thousands of jobs, I think Cortez is being very disrespectful to somebody who has been there a long time.

I deal with Nancy Pelosi a lot, and we go back and forth and it's fine. But I think that a group of people is being very disrespectful to her. And you know what? I don't think that Nancy can let that go on.

A group of people that — I don't know where they came from. I am looking at this Omar from Minnesota. If one half of the things that they are saying about her are true, she shouldn't even be in office.

But Cortez should treat Nancy Pelosi with respect. She should not be doing what she's doing. And I'll tell you something about Nancy Pelosi that you know better than I do. She is not a racist, okay? She is not a racist. For them to call her a racist is a disgrace."

Trump expertly turns Ocasio-Cortez's demand for respect against her.  But that is just the prelude to his sophisticated troll of the speaker.  By defending Nancy Pelosi, President Trump has — in the minds of Ocasio-Cortez and her allies — created an alliance between Nancy Pelosi and himself.  Ace of Spades explains the twisted logic:

I mean, this proves Nancy Pelosi is a racist, right? That's how it works. David Duke endorsed Donald Trump, which means, somehow, that Donald Trump also endorses David Duke by the Principle of Implied Reciprocal Endorsement.

This means that Nancy Pelosi must also endorse Donald Trump, and must reciprocally believe that Trump is not a racist.

By the Transitive Property, this means also that Nancy Pelosi endorses David Duke.

That's how the Geometry of Racism works, at least for Republicans.

Now, what does Pelosi do?  Does she express gratitude for Trump's words of praise?  That would make her problems with the radical faction of her party worse.  But Pelosi is a woman of many years' experience in politics (since childhood as daughter of Baltimore's political boss, Tommy d'Alessandro), where reciprocity is the very essence of politics.  Psychologically, she owes Trump one for this, yet any visible expression of this debt would harm her even more.  It is a bit crazy-making.

I think Trump does this sort of thing intuitively.  That's what makes him a Master Troll: he sees the fault lines in the situations of his opponents and instinctively widens those tensions — organizationally and psychologically.

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