The absolutely bonkers threat Donald Trump made this week

With just days to go until the 2020 presidential election, President Donald Trump is an underdog to win a second term. This raises an interesting question: What will Trump do next? In his latest video, CNN's Chris Cillizza explains how Trump will likely embrace television even more and create a right-wing media empire.

Posted: Oct 28, 2020 11:11 AM
Updated: Oct 28, 2020 11:11 AM

At a rally in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said something incredible -- even by his standards.

Recounting how his campaign had to move the site of the rally to comply with Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's Covid-19 protocols, Trump said this:

"I'll remember it, Tom. I'm gonna remember it, Tom. 'Hello, Mr. President, this is Governor Wolf, I need help, I need help.' You know what? These people are bad."

Let's be very clear what Trump is doing here: He is threatening to withhold federal aid -- or some sort of other assistance -- the next time Pennsylvania needs it because the state's governor, according to the President, made it difficult to find a site to hold a campaign rally. Yes, really.

Oh, and by the way, a spokeswoman for Wolf's office insisted to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Trump's version of this story is simply wrong -- that the governor's office sent a letter to Trump's campaign earlier in the year requesting that they adhere to social distancing and masks guidelines, but that's it.

"Outside of that, the administration has had no contact with the Trump campaign about its events," wrote Wolf spokeswoman Sarah Goulet in an email to the Tribune-Review. "The Trump campaign is under no obligation to reach out to the administration when it is planning visits. We believe the campaign works directly with the owners of property or local officials when planning. Again, what the president said is inaccurate."

It's easy to lose sight of the abnormality of something like this because so much of what Trump says and does is deeply abnormal compared to the ways in which we have always seen our presidents act.

But we shouldn't just gloss over comments like this. For a few reasons:

1) It shows, again, that Trump believes that the federal government is essentially a tool that he can use to reward friends and punish political enemies. We've seen this time after time during Trump's first term -- most notably at the Department of Justice, where the President has wondered aloud why the FBI and the CIA aren't doing more to investigate, charge or put people he doesn't like in jail. (Trump is never clear on the exact crimes for which his opponents should be incarcerated.)

Asked over the weekend about the plot to kidnap Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and whether he bears any sort of responsibility because of his rhetoric focused on her, Trump responded: "It was our Justice Department that is the one that's helping her. My Justice Department, if you call it that." My Justice Department. (Trump's used that construction before. Who could forget his reference to "my generals" in reference to the US military commanders.)

For Trump, the power of the federal government isn't really about doing the most good for the most people. It's about him. It's his government -- to do with as he pleases.

2) There's a chilling effect here. If you think other governors didn't pay attention to Trump's threat to Wolf, then you don't know how aware state-level officials are of the power (and the purse) of the federal government. Trump's willingness to make clear that he plans to exact revenge on a governor because of some alleged disagreement over where an event can be held suggests that he is would do the same to other governors who also slight him or make his life harder. That's not the sort of thing that a governor wants to have to factor into their calculations about what's best for their state.

Now, it's possible that Trump loses his bid for a second term next Tuesday and never has a chance to make good on that threat to Wolf.

But that's not really the point. Because what if, say, Pennsylvania is hit with some sort of natural disaster between now and January 20, 2021? Does Wolf really need to worry that because Trump thinks he got screwed on a venue to hold a rally that the state might not get the money it needs to effectively deal with its challenges? Of course not.

That's the predicament Wolf finds himself in, however. Because he is dealing with the most radical -- and norm-breaking -- President ever to hold the job.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1000163

Reported Deaths: 16309
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1347632106
Lake660041156
Allen57441793
Hamilton46100461
St. Joseph44109607
Elkhart35696507
Vanderburgh32087477
Tippecanoe27796257
Johnson24902443
Hendricks23738354
Porter22802362
Madison18614404
Clark18424250
Vigo17347301
Monroe15180197
LaPorte15046250
Delaware14984259
Howard14626287
Kosciusko12217147
Hancock11630175
Bartholomew11505179
Warrick11255189
Floyd11013214
Wayne10897250
Grant9964218
Morgan9404176
Boone8863116
Dubois8227130
Dearborn817093
Henry8139151
Noble7984106
Marshall7838134
Cass7499119
Lawrence7403170
Shelby7138114
Jackson694088
Gibson6533113
Harrison644491
Huntington633999
Knox6273106
DeKalb626397
Montgomery6208109
Miami589797
Putnam575377
Clinton570271
Whitley560455
Steuben554675
Wabash5279101
Jasper524475
Jefferson506996
Ripley495685
Adams476073
Daviess4616113
Scott435869
Greene422096
Wells420987
Clay420260
White415962
Decatur4133101
Fayette404286
Jennings385160
Posey375343
LaGrange353978
Washington353249
Randolph341999
Spencer337342
Fountain332558
Sullivan326752
Starke313369
Owen312070
Fulton306567
Orange291762
Jay280445
Perry264752
Franklin264042
Carroll259132
Rush258832
Vermillion255454
Parke230026
Pike227943
Tipton226659
Blackford190540
Pulaski181855
Crawford158623
Newton156048
Benton150217
Brown144547
Martin137419
Switzerland134211
Warren120516
Union106815
Ohio84112
Unassigned0538

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1499485

Reported Deaths: 23327
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1626291662
Cuyahoga1447662412
Hamilton1044761409
Montgomery731681240
Summit610421094
Lucas55643904
Butler51076707
Stark459431053
Lorain35141568
Warren32476369
Mahoning30315672
Clermont27930321
Lake26669434
Delaware23960162
Licking23547283
Trumbull22550552
Fairfield22179241
Greene22098311
Medina21763305
Clark19630349
Richland18342280
Portage17696247
Wood17244220
Allen15730269
Miami15355296
Muskingum14551174
Columbiana13756263
Wayne13585263
Tuscarawas12479298
Marion11797175
Scioto11388154
Pickaway11286141
Erie10676180
Ross10462196
Lawrence9663137
Hancock9546149
Ashtabula9479197
Belmont9133197
Geauga8829157
Jefferson8481191
Huron8229139
Union810756
Washington8031137
Sandusky7724145
Athens769572
Knox7606138
Darke7553151
Seneca7208144
Ashland6817125
Auglaize667896
Shelby6410111
Brown628582
Crawford6184130
Defiance6087102
Mercer608293
Fulton592996
Highland590099
Madison587576
Clinton576190
Logan574692
Guernsey572467
Preble5660121
Putnam5250108
Williams520184
Perry512561
Champaign505071
Jackson498770
Ottawa479086
Coshocton471582
Morrow451256
Pike430762
Fayette422160
Adams411587
Gallia411265
Hardin411076
Van Wert364078
Henry357871
Holmes3567122
Hocking352578
Wyandot317961
Carroll297059
Paulding275945
Meigs259249
Monroe212953
Noble196546
Morgan190832
Harrison178242
Vinton162624
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 44°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 45°
Huntington
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 44°
Decatur
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 44°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 47°
The wonderful weather continues across the region Tuesday with our next chance of rain midweek.
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