The Slatest

We Are Living in the Second Chapter of the Worst-Case Scenario

A vandalized headstone at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia on Monday.

Mark Makela/Getty Images

There was a lot of discussion, while Donald Trump was running for president, about just how destructive his administration could really be. Would he follow through on his radical policy plans and continue to behave at all times like a peevish, cruel child, or would he govern via popular, inoffensive centrism and try to act in an at least somewhat more dignified fashion? After his first month in office, my colleague Michelle Goldberg wrote that the Trump administration’s cruel and unconstitutional attack on Muslim immigrants and his personal debasement of various norms of public integrity and decency were, in fact, as bad a worst-case scenario as could have been imagined. The ensuing week has seen the situation deteriorate further.

1. An Indian engineer in Kansas was shot and killed by a white man who reportedly shouted “get out of my country!” and may have believed he was shooting at a Middle Eastern immigrant.

2. Hundreds of headstones have been desecrated at Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia while a wave of bomb threats triggered evacuations of Jewish community centers, schools, and day cares across the country. It’s the fourth national outbreak of anti-Jewish bomb threats that’s taken place this year.

3. Old recordings of a prominent, Nazi-fetishizing “alt-right” figure named Milo Yiannopoulos—whose career has long been supported by Trump’s top adviser, Steve Bannon, and whom Trump has tweeted about approvingly—resurfaced in which Yiannopoulos defends the right of adults to sexually abuse 13-year-olds.—the publication for which Yiannopoulos worked, and on which he published an infamous column praising several white supremacists—was on Monday given an exclusive interview in the Oval Office.

4. Customs agents met a domestic flight from San Francisco to New York at an airport gate and demanded identification from every passenger in what was allegedly a search for an undocumented individual (who was not located).

5. Individuals including a children’s book author who writes about tolerance, a historian who has written about Nazi collaborators in France, and Muhammad Ali’s son Muhammad Ali Jr. have given public accounts of being detained and aggressively questioned by border agents despite (in Ali’s case) being a native-born citizen and (in the other two cases) traveling on valid visas.

6. The Trump administration apparently distributed a press release to the conspiracy site InfoWars, which has asserted that the Sandy Hook massacre never took place and Israel helped plan 9/11. The administration also seemingly confirmed that Trump and InfoWars proprietor Alex Jones occasionally speak on the phone.

Do you feel sick? I feel sick.