President-elect Donald Trump’s election victory sent shockwaves through the country’s Democratic strongholds, sparking dozens of anti-Trump rallies. Trump’s response has been to take to Twitter, but instead of one message, he’s sent two.
On Wednesday night he sent a controversial tweet, his first tweet post-win, where he blamed the biased media and the alleged paid Democratic protesters from the primaries for trying to muddy his clear victory:
Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2016
Then overnight, something changed. His tone flipped. No longer were the protesters Hillary Clinton’s operatives as they were Wednesday night. Rather, on Thursday morning, they were voters with “passion” for the country — the same way he validated violent outbursts from his supporters at campaign rallies throughout the election cycle.
Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country. We will all come together and be proud!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2016
It was an almost perfect articulation of Trump the candidate turning into Trump, president-elect; a confusing contradiction by a man trying to break his most natural tendencies, turning a blame game into an attempted message of unity. And yet he still belittled the reality that hundreds of thousands of Americans feel enough disconnect with the presidential pick that they are willing to threaten a long history of a peaceful transition of power.
Demonstrations have been reported in New York City, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Portland, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Oakland, Austin, Boston, and Washington, DC, among other cities. They are neither small in size nor easily ignored. Most are peaceful, but some have become violent — police had to use pepper spray at a rally in Portland, Oregon.
These are the people — the majority, according to the popular vote — who do not want Donald Trump to be president, and it’s proving to be a test of Trump’s character: Will he be able to swallow the critique, or will he launch biting and often personal, attacks, as he did time and time again during the election?
In the span of nine hours this week, he did both.