Donald Trump's tribute to Phyllis Schlafly was still about Donald Trump
Conservative anti-abortion activist Phyllis Schlafly died Monday at age 92. It's hard to muster sympathy for an unrepentant homophobe who fought tooth and nail to block a constitutional amendment that would have guaranteed equal rights for women, even if she is dead. However, Donald Trump seems largely immune to the bounds of such logic.
Here is the GOP presidential nominee with his most Trump-like pivot yet — away from Schlafly's death and toward his preferred topic, Donald Trump:
Schlafly is not here to tell us whether she'd appreciate Trump using her death to promote his campaign. What does seem certain is she'd want her name spelled correctly. The above tweet is actually a revision; the original post Trump shared with his 11.3 million Twitter followers, which was deleted and replaced soon after, referred to Schlafly as "Phillies Schlafly," which is not her name:
Past instances of Trump using other people's deaths to promote himself include when he responded to the killing of 50 people at a gay night club in Orlando, Florida, in June by thanking supporters for congratulating him:
The nightclub shooter, Omar Mateen, was Muslim. Trump seemed to think he'd been vindicated because he called for a ban on Muslim immigrants entering the United States, as well as a registry to track Muslims currently living in the U.S. Mateen was born in Long Island, New York, and raised in Florida.
The most recent example of Trump's post-tragedy Trump-centricity came when Nykea Aldridge, the cousin of NBA star Dwyane Wade, was shot and killed in Chicago in August. Trump used the 32-year-old's killing to woo black voters, who he says live in near-dystopian conditions under Democratic governance.
"Poverty. Rejection. Horrible education. No housing, no homes, no ownership. Crime at levels that nobody has seen. You can go to war zones in countries that we are fighting and it's safer than living in some of our inner cities that are run by the Democrats," Trump said to a mostly white crowd gathered in Akron, Ohio, in August, according to the Washington Post.
Trump seemed to think Aldridge's death would prompt black voters to rally behind him:
The above tweet is also a revised version; Trump initially published the same tweet, but with Wade's name misspelled as "Dwayne Wade."
"Just what I have been saying." he added. "African Americans will VOTE TRUMP!"
In reality, Trump is facing historically low backing from black voters. One August poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal found their support hovering at 1%.
Phyllis Schlafly wholeheartedly supported Donald Trump while she was alive — as indicated by the book she wrote endorsing him, and her persistent advocacy for similarly horrible causes over the course of her lifetime. It's unfortunate that Trump could not show her the courtesy of spelling her name correctly — or affording her the simple luxury of letting her death be about her.