(New York Magazine) -- At his rally last night, President Trump’s characteristic threats of vengeance against his enemies took an especially chilling turn. “There was treason!” he announced, summarizing the investigation into the Mueller probe. The crowd began chanting, “Lock them up! Lock them up!”
Trump initially returned to his prepared text, itself a creepily ethno-nationalist paean to his narrow Electoral College win. “You reclaimed your destiny, you defended your dignity, and you took back your country,” he read, in a passage that probably sounded better in the original German. But the “Lock them up!” chants persisted, and, with his showman’s gift for timing, Trump turned back to his audience and paused as the chants increased, then theatrically relented to the demands of the crowd that he had stoked. “We have a great new attorney general who will give it a very fair look, very fair look,” he promised.
It is difficult to fully describe what Trump conveyed in this line without watching the video. As Trump said “very fair,” he wore an arch expression. Trump of course does not use “fair” in anything like the dictionary definition of the term. Trump’s notion of “fairness” is purely positional, revolving entirely around his own self-interest. With his expression, Trump — unusual for him — brought the crowd in on the joke. “Very fair” was a punch line.
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