It was the day before last week’s cover story, “The annotated Donald Trump,” hit the streets, a piece dissecting fact from fiction in the presidential candidate’s Greensboro address in June.
A highlight: “We are going to start winning again. We’re gonna win at every single level. We’re gonna win so much that you’re gonna beg me: ‘Please, Mr. President, we’re winning so much. We can’t stand it, Mr. President. We cannot stand it. Please, a little less winning, Mr. President.’ I’m gonna say, ‘There’s no way I’m gonna do that.’”
Before we unleashed this transcribed bit of campaign balderdash onto our readership, our reporter had already been thrown out of a Trump event — not, it should be noted, the kind for which the candidate actually shows up— at a Golden Corral in Winston-Salem.
There, Earl L. Philip, Trump’s campaign director for the North Carolina effort, after a few introductory statements, pointed out Triad City Beat Senior Editor Jordan Green to the small crowd gumming their way through yeast rolls and chocolate-dipped what-have-yous.
“I can really do some talking,” Philip said, “but I can’t because we have a member of the press here.”
Let that sink in for a minute.
Candidates running for office generally don’t shy away from the print media, where their message can be amplified to thousands of people who actually care about such things. Often, it’s a candidate’s rare shot at winning over new voters through sheer strength of message.
So what does it mean when a direct representative for a presidential candidate ham-fistedly turns away press at an event in a battleground state?
Before ejecting Green, Philips mentioned that without the reporter present, he could get into what he called “the meat” — “no potatoes, all meat,” he emphasized.
And the meat, apparently, is not fit for consumption by the general public.
Insert your favorite Golden Corral joke here.
But for Trump voters, there is no irony to scheduling meetings at an all-you-can-eat buffet. There is no danger of offending anyone’s sensibilities with the kind of red meat unfit for print. And there is no discussion of the First Amendment — wherein the concept of a free press is baked right into our Constitution — when a reporter is bounced into the parking lot before the real business can begin.
Trump’s meat is a secret thing, accessible only by those who have plunked down the price for a lap or two around the buffet. And those people will eat anything.