September 19, 2020

"Wow. I didn’t know that. I just — you’re telling me now for the first time. She led an amazing life. What else can you say? She was an amazing woman."

"Whether you agree or not, she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life. I’m actually sad to hear that. I am sad to hear that."

Said Donald Trump, quoted in "Donald Trump to put forth nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in coming days: Sources/Mitch McConnell says he does plan to vote on Trump's nominee" (ABC News).

We learned of Ginsburg's death as we were watching Trump's Minnesota rally last night. Trump continued his speech, apparently without learning the news until he spoke with reporters afterwards. There must be a way to relay information to the President while he is doing a speech.

I thought he might learn the news during the rally and speak extemporaneously from the stage. Perhaps he did learn and merely pretended to be hearing the news for the first time as he spoke to reporters, but I'll assume it was genuine surprise when he said, "Wow. I didn’t know that. I just — you’re telling me now for the first time."

Those who think he's a narcissistic weirdo who blurts out inappropriate remarks should take note of the utter appropriateness of what he said with no time to think: "She led an amazing life. What else can you say? She was an amazing woman. Whether you agree or not, she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life. I’m actually sad to hear that. I am sad to hear that."

There was just a slight awkwardness to "Whether you agree or not," which in literal context could be taken to mean, whether you agree that she was an amazing woman. Clearly he meant, whether you agreed with her legal interpretations or not.

ADDED: Here's the video. So evocative, with "Tiny Dancer" just beginning and louder than that voices:



I discussed the "slight awkwardness" to "Whether you agree or not," but it's very clear in the video that he said "Whether you agreed or not," which is much less susceptible to the interpretation that the possible disagreement is over whether she was an amazing woman. He meant whether you agreed with her legal interpretations or not, which I had already thought was clear.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was 5'1", so "Tiny Dancer" feels like a special tribute to her.

AND: The video is so cinematic. You couldn't have staged it, lit it, acted it, and scored it better. Trump's whole-body reaction, the pauses, the double hand gesture — uncannily right. The music is cued perfectly. The backlighting outlining the shoulder. He turns to lumber toward the plane and we see his wide back as the line plays "Ballerina, you must have seen her, dancing in the sand." It makes you cry!

68 comments:

Marcus said...

It was a classy statement and your comment about him perhaps pretending to not know is a turd in the punchbowl.

THEOLDMAN

stevew said...

I said pretty much the same thing, an amazing woman who lived an amazing life, even if I, as a US citizen, did not agree with her politics.

Trump is a classy guy who respects honest, competent, hard working people, even those he disagrees with. His bombast and disrespectful commentary is reserved for public and government people he sees as dishonest and incompetent, and that attack him.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, RIP

tim maguire said...

There’s an irony in the storied friendship between Scalia and Ginsberg, the intellectual far right and far left bridging that divide to be personal friends, showing that partisanship can and should have limits. Both died as an election approached with the other party in the White House, sparking vitriolic partisan fights over an institution that is supposed to be above partisanship.

rwnutjob said...

Elton's "Tiny Dancer" playing in the background as he makes that statement is totally 2020

Krumhorn said...

Once again, our hostess shows her class. I doubt very much that Trump had not been informed earlier, but announcing it during his speech would have forced a change in his message and mood. He handled it appropriately at the moment.

But there will bee some opportunist who will claim that they have a recording on their phone of the moment Trump was told before the reporter brought it up, and that he LIED to the American people...again.

Is see that Obummer has piped up to say that the RBG replacement should only be confirmed through an “unimpeachable process”. Hahaha....Our Savior has made a community organizer joke.

- Krumhorn

-

Leon said...

Yep it appears that without thought or preparation he got it right on the first go.

tim in vermont said...

If Democrats hadn’t insisted on running Hillery, they could have made these appointments and had a clear path to one party rule indefinitely. But it was more important to run a corrupt hag hated by half of America, at least. Now they are running a corrupt old figurehead who is sure to die in office should he win. Like the song goes, “When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?”

But you could have replaced RBG on the Supreme Court with flips of a trick coin. The hagiography surrounding her tenure on the court has always been nothing but feel good pap for the believers.

tim maguire said...

The peaceful end of a long successful life is to be celebrated, not mourned. But it’s hard to celebrate in the face of what she has done to the country by selfishly refusing to retire when she was too old to do her job. A more civic-minded person would have spared us the turmoil she is now condemning us to by retiring while Obama was president.

Temujin said...

Had that been Joe Biden, they would have had to set up a teleprompter with the proper phrasing right there on the tarmac. But the press would have obliged, and would have waited for everything to be set up properly so that they could show it as an impromptu response.

They've been doing it for months.

These next 2-4 months here in the US could be the most wacko of all time. And with judges now extending legal vote counts to weeks beyond the election, this could go on through January, which I have to think is the Dems strategy at this point. Ginsberg's replacement should be named, vetted, and voted on- now. It may come down to a Supreme Court decision.

Heartless Aztec said...

The song "Tiny Dancer" by Elton playing in the background was very cool in a non sequitur kinda'way...

SteveBrooklineMA said...

ABC news is either incompetent or lying. Trump said “whether you agreed or not”. He’s referring to her legal decisions. Watch the video!

Rick.T. said...

It’s going to be instructive to remember the coming tsunami of accolades and tributes paid to RBG then compare to when Sandra Day O’Connor dies.

TheDopeFromHope said...

Let’s not forget that Ginsberg saw abortion as a great vehicle to reduce the “populations of those people we don’t want to have too many of.” An “amazing woman” indeed!

Rusty said...

I think when he's not 'on' he's a nice person.

tim in vermont said...
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tim in vermont said...
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Humperdink said...

AA said: "Trump continued his speech, apparently without learning the news until he spoke with reporters afterwards. There must be a way to relay information to the President while he is doing a speech."

Recall W speaking when he was informed of the twin towers being hit. His demeanor completely changed. Trump's staff wisely withheld the news.

Browndog said...

Coming soon...

You will not be able to publicly criticize RBG. She will rule us from the grave. Very close to "She Has Risen".

She was not a judge. She was an ideolog in a black robe that never gave a damn about the Constitution, only her progressive religion. She publicly stated she would not use the U.S. Constitution if starting a new country.

As far as liberals stating they will burn the country down if the Senate tries to replace her before the next term-

You think they'll just sick back and let Trump relace her in February if he wins re-election?

They're gong to burn down this country no matter who wins or who is on the Court.

Birches said...

There was something childlike and pure about his reaction. I don't think it could have been faked.

And the music in the background? Wow. It's like a movie scene.

gspencer said...

She wasn't an amazing woman. She was a political hack who had utter disregard for the Constitution and her oath to it. "Do by the Court what couldn't be done by political means in the legislature" was her guiding principle.

Whatever you say said...

I would appreciate a knowledgeable supporter of RBG to list her legally important opinions. Seriously, I cannot think of anything she has written or spoken that would lead me to believe she had a brilliant mind. But then again I oppose killing babies, especially after twelve weeks in the womb.

Doug said...

Go ahead and politicize her death. She did.

Birches said...

Here's thevideo since it looks like ABC didn't post it.

cacimbo said...

Listening to NPR gush over Ginsberg, I recall what a different tone was used when Scalia died.

Larry J said...

I remember seeing something from her confirmation hearings. A conservative Republican senator asked her if a business didn’t have any black employees, would that be a sign of racial discrimination. She said yes. He them noted that in her legal office, there were no black employees. The startled look on her face was priceless as this could sink her nomination. The senator then said that he would vote for her confirmation because the president deserved his nominee. Simpler times.

Dave Begley said...

No aide would interrupt a Trump speech unless it was another 9-11 type attack.

Chanie said...

Watch the video of this reaction. He's either an incredible actor or it was genuine. I'm more of a hold your nose and vote for him kind of supporter, but the reaction showed a lot of humanity and decency. He's not the devil they want us to believe he is.

Darrell said...

Biden learned about her death 43 times last night.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Popcorn futures through the roof!

Mark said...

But let's not let her family have a funeral before planning her replacement.

Such respect!

D.D. Driver said...

I think the slight awkwardness was the use of the word "actually" which connotes that either he is surprised by his own sadness or that he suspects you will be surprised by his sadness.

jnseward said...

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a great political activist. May she rest in peace.

richlb said...

You should compare and contrast reactions to the passing of Scalia with reactions to the passing of Ginsburg.

peacelovewoodstock said...

AA>There must be a way to relay information to the President while he is doing a speech.


Biden's team has that covered.

Kate said...

I liked how he put up his hands: stop. Was it to silence the press from asking questions about what happens next, or was it to silence himself from going down that road? A lovely moment.

traditionalguy said...

Wow. Amazing timing for her death to be announced.The brave new Justice should should get the Dems rioting on cue. And that will allow President Trump to send in Federalized National Guard to watch the polls in the rioting Dem States. I smell a plan.

Ken B said...

Lots of blue checks threatening violence if he nominates a new judge. Threatening violence is chic. “Fascism” they cry. In a real fascist dictatorship, they would all be arrested.

Joe Smith said...

Trump is worse than Hitler.

I wouldn't have been so charitable.

Aggie said...

I thought Trump could have added 'Rest in Peace' and maybe condolences to the family to his comments, but that's just silly nitpicking to what was pretty clearly a spontaneous comment. Since Trump was focused directly on whomever was speaking, listening and then responding, I guess we can conclude that he didn't use or need a teleprompter - right?

Darrell said...

Trump could replace RBG with a Magic 8-Ball whose 20-sided die faces all say "The Left's Argument." No one would be the wiser.

cyrus83 said...

I think the normal way the President is informed about breaking news during a public event is someone goes over and whispers in the ear if the news is important enough to warrant it.

Even if the teleprompter or an earpiece were available to send such a message, I can see Trump not wanting the potential distraction from those devices.

traditionalguy said...

NB: Trump called Ginsberg a woman. He needs an indoctrination into permitted cancel culture categories before he can be allowed to serve as President of all the gender identities imaginable.

Sebastian said...

"take note of the utter appropriateness of what he said with no time to think"

But then, as Althouse has trained us to recognize, most of what Trump does and says is "appropriate," once you recognize the pattern in his rhetoric and the contexts in which he uses it. Which does not mean, of course, that it will not grate on sensitive ears.

MadisonMan said...

I ponder how many Democrats will react upon hearing of Trump's death. Not with such generosity of spirit is my suspicion.

Ray said...

I saw President Trump putting his hands up and closing his eyes as him gathering his thoughts. He just said I just said, "You're telling me now for the first time."

Jupiter said...

Ding. Dong.

mtrobertslaw said...

I guess Clara Spera's revelation undercuts Yo Yo Ma's observation that he has never seen nor heard of tombstone engraved with "Gee, I wish I had spent more time at the office."

Roughcoat said...

Go ahead and politicize her death. She did.

Exactly.

Also: she supported the practice of murdering the unborn. A Jew who effectively supported the mass annihilation of the innocent and helpless. How grimly ironic. Spare me her encomia.

mikee said...

Reality wins over fiction almost every time.

rcocean said...

Trump only counter-attacks when he's attacked. Otherwise, he tries to gracious and get along with people. Nobody seems to get that.

As for Ginsberg being "amazing" or "great", she wasn't anymore "Great" or "amazing" than Sandra Day O'Connor, which means she wasn't either. The difference is Ginsberg was a left-wing ideologue, while O'Connor was a moderate Republican politician who was a question mark on every case. Ginsberg, however, was a former counsel for the ACLU, who never voted with the conservatives on any important issue. Point me to her great opinions - there aren't any. You could predict her vote 95% of the time.

And people who love the legend of her and Scalia being friends, should go and read her words about their "Friendship". It was basically, gregarious friendly Scalia constantly inviting her to dinner, and Ginsberg reluctantly going along for the sake of appearances. Other than Scalia, she had no friends who weren't leftist.

jim said...

If Trump had been informed of Ginsburg's death during his speech, he probably would have said something utterly stupid and his crowd of morons would have gone wild.

His keepers would have known this and made sure he didn't know.

rcocean said...

Ginsberg's votes against the Census asking for citizenship and against Trump's clear authority to ban travel from 7 terrorist countries, just confirmed she was a left-wing hack. The obvious meaning of the Law or past Constitutional decisions was irrelevant to her. All that mattered was the politics.

Ann Althouse said...

"Recall W speaking when he was informed of the twin towers being hit. His demeanor completely changed. Trump's staff wisely withheld the news."

W needed to be informed, because he might have chosen to stop what he was doing and immediately deal with an emergency that needed his attention. The death of an old, ailing Supreme Court Justice does not require immediate attention. The only reason to get the information to him during the speech is if you think President's shouldn't be jabbering about whatever when the home audience already knows some crucial piece of information or you want to give him a special opportunity to show his stuff, turning on a dime, and speaking to the news of the moment.

It's Trump's choice and it should have already been planned. I don't like the idea of his staff "wisely" withholding things and I assume that's not the dynamic.

jim said...

Oh, off subject, how many hear plan to inject Trump pre-election vaccine?

Mary Beth said...

If Trump had been informed of Ginsburg's death during his speech, he probably would have said something utterly stupid and his crowd of morons would have gone wild.

Trump would have said something similar to what he said, then asked for a moment of silence. The crowd would have complied.

We're both speculating, but I am sure that mine is a more likely probability. Why do you think he would have said something stupid when you have already seen his reaction to the news? The fact that you think the people at the rally are morons discredits any opinion you might have on what they would do.

madAsHell said...

Trump didn't know.

Watch him change gears, compose his thoughts, and respond with appropriate words.

On the other hand, he knew she wasn't long for this earth.

n.n said...

Trump doesn't color his language. Whether you agree or not, diametric disagreement or in degrees, Ginsburg was a notable woman, jurist, and figure in our society.

J. Farmer said...

Trumo is "a narcissistic weirdo who blurts out inappropriate remark" but can also be socially appropriate. It's part of what makes his personality so peculiar. The first time I saw it was during the brouhaha over the killing of Harambe, the Cincinatti Zoo gorilla. Even though the zoo's decision was a no-brainer, Trump gave a rather reflective and measured response.

What can I say. The guy's an enigma wrapped in a cheetoh.

Cheryl said...

I thought when I watched last night that it was a genuine moment, and it felt really refreshing to see such candor from Trump. His remarks were kind and thoughtful, entirely on point and respectful. And you're right, Ann, there was such an amazing cinematographic quality to the music, the noise and wind and reporters, the two hands. Worth watching again.

Achilles said...

J. Farmer said...

What can I say. The guy's an enigma wrapped in a cheetoh.

When someone has about a 20 or so higher IQ than you it is hard for you to understand what they are doing.

Lori said...

After another energetic rally, when he turns toward the airplane stairs, he looks tired. First time I have seen him look fatigued.

Gk1 said...

If this scene happened in a bio pic movie about Trump we would decry it as phony and hopelessly cliche' but here we are.

Does anyone really believe Biden has the cognitive ability any longer to even understand this news shouted at him and then react like a sentient human being? This clip just gives me greater anxiety and unease at the prospect of electing a dementia patient.

Joe Biden's jumbled statement last night (did they wake him up?) didn't come close to expressing the shock and genuine outpouring of respect Trump had for RGB. If Joe didn't take today off (there is another press lid) he might do a better job of it than when he is sun setting.

J. Farmer said...

@Achilles:

When someone has about a 20 or so higher IQ than you it is hard for you to understand what they are doing.

If that were true, you couldn't possibly know what he was doing.

But I will concede that I don't understand what he is doing. And you don't understand what he's doing. And Scott Adams doesn't understand what's doing. And for a very simple reason: Trump doesn't understand what he's doing.

As the saying goes, "politics is show business for ugly people." We turn politicians into celebrities, and celebrities always have their fans.

Crazy World said...

This is so chilling, I love love love it.

Phil 314 said...

I was impressed with his reaction. Very human and not performative.

Jupiter said...

"On the other hand, he knew she wasn't long for this earth."

I would guess that the President had recognized the probability that RBG would die soon, that he would be informed of the fact, and that it would be well to have something graceful to say. It just took him a moment to recall what he'd settled on.

The Godfather said...

I'm struck by the comments that assume that Trump is inhuman, or at least incapable of a human reaction to the death of an elderly political adversary, when he said nothing "wrong". I don't think this is healthy for our polity.

SensibleCitizen said...

"Whether you agreed or not" is an example of Trump not finishing his sentences. He tends to think faster than he speaks, and he just truncates the end of a sentence if he thinks the point got across. It's a verbal shorthand that makes him sound like an impatient communicator.

My only piece of advice to Trump would be to start being more patient when he speaks and finish sentences.