Yes, President Trump. ‘We Need the Blessing of God.’ And So Do You. (But I Think You Finally Know That.)
Former President Donald Trump held his first two 2024 campaign events Saturday, first in New Hampshire and then in South Carolina. By Trump standards, these were relatively low-key affairs in small venues. Not the usual raucous Trump rallies that make Ozzyfest look like an evening at the Met.
In New Hampshire, the first primary state, he was the keynote speaker at the GOP’s annual party meeting. (By the way, Google is still fixing search results. Virtually every article that comes up when you google “Trump New Hampshire” is negative and from liberal news sites.)
In South Carolina, a crucial, bellwether primary state, he spoke with an invited audience within the compact confines of the South Carolina State House.
Sure, by Trump standards this is like the Rolling Stones playing a club. But you know what? Sometimes the Stones do just that. In a club, you can’t coast. No flash, no fireworks. You can’t get by on just famous riffs. You have to bring the substance. In Trump’s case, he had to bring it to party leaders in these two crucial states. Knowing how much of the RINO-run national GOP apparatus still loathes him, and is putting its weight behind a potential DeSantis bid, Trump’s got to solidify what he can at the state level. That’s good strategy. So is keeping things a bit low-key. “Muted” as Axios described it.
He’s Lost His Fire?
But curiously, now we’re seeing an effort to use Trump’s more somber, low-key approach against him. We’ve seen stories last week that these two appearances would be an effort to re-invigorate his campaign after its “slow start.” (That hadn’t started yet.) That Trump’s slowed down. New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu after the New Hampshire event said Trump didn’t “bring the fire, the energy.”
“He’s not really bringing that fire, that energy I think that a lot of folks saw in ’16. I think in many ways it was a little disappointing to some folks.”
Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH) on one of former President Trump’s first 2024 campaign stops in New Hampshire. #CNNSOTU @CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/uNeau5gDqj
— CNN (@CNN) January 29, 2023
You get the Catch-22 coming from the establishment GOP? When Trump is in bombastic mode, “He brings too much drama and chaos. We need Trump’s policies, but with someone more mellow!” When Trump is more somber, “He’s lost his fastball. His time has passed. Time to move on.”
But Trump’s on the Right Track
But Trump is on the right track.
In the 2016 campaign, Trump was about my 15th choice. I didn’t like the insults and the bombast. That is until one day when I heard Ivanka Trump on Hannity’s radio show. She was saying, “My father doesn’t need to do this. He’s a builder. He loves the life he has.”
Oh my, that’s right. Trump is a builder. That’s who he is. His vocation. His nature. And a builder doesn’t do anything without surveying the land, drawing up detailed plans, ordering the materials. The building is in a sense complete before the first shovel hits the ground. In Trump’s case, he built some of the most beautiful skyscrapers and resorts on the planet.
The light bulb went on in my head. Trump was carrying out a blueprint with his campaign . He had already figured out how he was going to win the nomination. All the nastiness, all the attention grabbing stuff? Not personal. All strategy. His strategy was to suck up all the oxygen. Asphyxiate the lesser candidates, and pluck off the rest one by one.
When I realized that the obnoxiousness was a plan, I was like, “Whoa.” I didn’t like the insults. But I realized if he had the primary figured out, he already had a plan for defeating Hillary and a clear blueprint for what he wanted to do as president.
Well in 2024, Trump doesn’t need to do that. He should not do that. It won’t work. As a matter of strategy, Trump’s hurdle in 2024 isn’t defeating a field of very strong candidates without having any record. After all, he could walk into any debate (against an inevitably weaker field) plop his massive stack of accomplishments as president on the podium and say, “When you can match this, then we’ll talk.”
No, Donald Trump isn’t running against DeSantis or Nikki Haley or whoever joins the fray. His one opponent is Donald Trump. His hurdle is the Trump Drama and “Mean Tweets.” DeSantis isn’t a problem. It’s “Orange Man Bad.”
The Good and the Bad
In both New Hampshire and South Carolina Trump stressed that we are going to need a president who is “ready from day one.” True. We can’t afford someone with a learner’s permit when the car is speeding toward a cliff. But we also can’t afford Trump losing focus of the Big Stakes.
Over the weekend, Trump took another shot at DeSantis on Truth Social, using his name for DeSantis “DeSanctimonious”
I know labeling is a Queens thing. But forget the name calling. Forget DeSantis, Mr. President. You’re punching down. Just admit DeSantis is a great governor for Florida. And if you must, toss in, “But so was Jeb Bush.” Any time wasted on DeSantis is time taken away from Joe Biden, the socialists, globalists and the Deep State.
Understand, first, DeSantis has to stand on a debate stage with you … and as good as he may be, he doesn’t have the juice. Think he has more game than Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry … or for that matter, Hillary Clinton? You stand tall and upbeat, he will look like a sideman. Scottie Pippen to your Michael Jordan.
Second, to win the nomination, DeSantis or other Republicans will have to go through your fervent MAGA Army. Let them deal with your competition.
Third, and most important, nobody wants to hear you rip DeSantis. The stakes are too dire, and it makes your 2024 hurdle that much higher. Again, you’re your toughest opponent.
So, Mr. President, what’s your blueprint for victory this time? Riding the better angel of your nature. Showing the side that others who know you see. The soft spoken, generous, gracious, hysterically funny builder. “The Builder” wins in 2024. NOT the bull in a china shop. NOT the showman.
As I joked the other day, your first tweet should be “Mean tweets are soooo 2016.”
But First and Foremost …. A Reliance on God
While snarky comments seem reflexive and rote at this point (like the one attacking DeSantis), President Trump did end his speech in South Carolina with a statement that bears attention. It’s his key to success and failure in 2024.
Donald Trump’s closing statement in his campaign event in South Carolina.
MORE: https://t.co/T2hE8OLads pic.twitter.com/sypdFNK4ma
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) January 29, 2023
“God bless you,” he says, and then ad-libbed and seemingly from the heart, a revelation: “We need the blessing of God. We’ll turn it around fast.”
If Donald Trump really “gets” that in the depths of his soul. He wins. Not just that we as a nation need the blessing of God to get out of this fix. But that he needs the blessing of God to help get us out of this fix. He needs to seek God, rely on God, and be lifted by God. To be humbled by God. All the experience, savvy, stubbornness and smarts can’t do it. If he gets that “I need the blessing of God,” the impact will be a wonder to see.
But does he fully get it?
This weekend saw a warm and beautiful moment when Trump stopped by the famous Zesto restaurant in Columbia, SC. A worker asked if she could pray for Trump, took his hand and prayed over him.
This is the real @realDonaldTrump the media won’t show you! pic.twitter.com/APKZJ2vMEt
— Margo Martin (@margommartin) January 29, 2023
It’s hardly the first time Trump has been willing and eager to be prayed over, as those who were on on his faith council will tell you.
He’s also sought it out. Like the time in 2019 he unexpectedly stopped at a church in McLain, Virginia on the way back from a golf outing to get prayed over right before an important trip to Europe.
Blowing Kisses to Heaven as the Rains Came Down
But I also think back to a rally Trump held in Miami days before the 2022 midterms. Drenched by a torrential rain, Trump was never more aspirational, more anointed. Despite the dark days, Trump promised a return to America’s greatness.
“We are a nation that loves to be rained upon.”
Trump delivers full 15-minute closing remarks at rally as Florida rain POURS down in biblical fashion:
“We are a nation that loves to be rained upon.”
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) November 7, 2022
When he finished, Trump looked upward and blew a kiss to heaven. A spontaneous thank you.
Concluding his remarks to a Miami MAGA rally in a rainstorm, Trump blows a kiss to the heavens … pic.twitter.com/3J7AejISuA
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) November 7, 2022
Mr. President, the choice is before you. You can forget you need God’s blessing, and you can fling insults and arrows like it’s 2016, but you’ll blow your chance of returning to the White House. Keep aspirational, keep blowing kisses to heaven, and blessings will again rain on our nation.
I believe that in your gut you know this.
Al Perrotta is the Managing Editor of The Stream, chief barista for The Brew and co-author, with John Zmirak, of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration. You can follow him at @StreamingAl at GETTR, Gab, Parler, and now at TRUTH Social.