Donald Trump really is building a wall. But his supporters are going to pay for it.
“I want to show you something very special,” the candidate says in a video released last Thursday. “I am dedicating this wall right here in Trump Tower to a select group. … They chipped in whenever and however they can.”
In a QVC-worthy pitch, Trump continues: “The wall has only space for 2,000 more supporters. Contribute today …”
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It was an undignified position for a presidential candidate 12 days before the election, selling off naming rights to a Trump Tower wall for contributions of $49 or more. And the symbolism was unhelpful: Such walls of names bring to mind the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and others that honor the fallen.
Come to think of it, that would be a perfect coda for Trump. The developer should build a Wall of Shame, honoring with a brick each of those who made possible this embarrassing moment in American history. So many have “chipped in” to make Trump possible that the resulting wall would extend from El Paso to Tijuana before he ran out of honorees. Let’s consider a few likely names:
The former House speaker “chipped in” last week by informing Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that she was “fascinated with sex” because she dared to ask the Trump surrogate about the many women who have accused the nominee of sexual misconduct.
The radio host and Trump backer last week declared the existence of a “Jewish mafia in the United States. They run Uber, they run the health care, they’re going to scam you, they’re going to hurt you.” Trump, who as recently as December praised Jones’ “amazing” reputation, has been echoing Jones’ conspiracy ideas almost word for word on the campaign trail, as Brian Tashman of People for the American Way has documented, including the anti-Semitic trope that a “global power structure” and international banks are plotting “the destruction of U.S. sovereignty.”
Many Republican officeholders withdrew their support for Trump after seeing a tape of him boasting about assaulting women – but at least six have since re-endorsed him. The most craven may be this Utah congressman, who withdrew his support because of “my 15-year-old daughter.” Last Wednesday, Chaffetz said he would vote for Trump – daughter or not.
The Republican congressman from Texas earned a brick this month after he was asked by MSNBC what he would do if a tape emerged of Trump saying, “I really like to rape women.” Farenthold said he might support him anyway.
The Republican senator from New Hampshire earned a brick earlier this month, before Trump’s recorded talk about assaulting women surfaced, when she said would “absolutely” tell children that Trump is a role model. (She soon recanted.)
Jerry Falwell Jr.
The Liberty University president, one of the first evangelical leaders to support the thrice-married casino mogul, said he would back Trump even if the sexual-misconduct allegations were confirmed.
The GOP chairman gave the entire Republican Party to Trump, saying Trump’s primary rivals must “be on board” with him or face reprisals.
The man once admired as America’s mayor surrendered his sanity in support of Trump, making wild allegations about Hillary Clinton’s health and dismissing Trump’s boasts of sexual assault by saying men “talk like that.”
Donald Trump Jr.
The candidate’s scion should get a whole archway for welcoming the racist right to come aboard his father’s campaign: posting a white-supremacist meme on Instagram, at least twice retweeting white supremacists on Twitter and being interviewed by a white-supremacist on a radio show.
The Fox News host shed all journalistic pretense and became an appendage of the Trump campaign, endorsing Trump in a campaign video. His show has been a massive in-kind contribution that should buy him several bricks in the wall.
Many others have earned naming rights to Trump’s wall, among them: Ben Carson, for backing Trump even if he “turns out not to be such a great president”; anti-immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona, whose wholehearted embrace of Trump is leading to his likely defeat; evangelical leader Robert Jeffress, for saying Trump should be president but shouldn’t teach Sunday school; Chris Christie, for brazenly rewriting Trump’s history in the birther movement; Trump surrogate Al Baldasaro, who said Clinton should be killed in a firing line; and Ted Cruz, for finally endorsing Trump just before the sexual-assault boasts came out.
There are many more who have “chipped in” to Trump’s campaign with their dignity, their principles and their hope of future office. They thought a racist demagogue could take over the United States. Now each is just another brick in the wall.
Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter @Milbank.