This is a moment for care and compassion.
Mental illness, although minimized and mocked
by this President on a number of occasions, is a very serious problem and it’s clear that Parscale is struggling at the moment. (He is not alone in this; according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness
44 million Americans experience mental illness in a year.)
Which makes the Trump campaign’s initial comment on Parscale’s hospitalization all the more, well, gross.
“Brad Parscale is a member of our family and we all love him. We are ready to support him and his family in any way possible,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement to CNN on Sunday night
. “The disgusting, personal attacks from Democrats and disgruntled RINOs have gone too far, and they should be ashamed of themselves for what they’ve done to this man and his family.”
(Murtaugh did not elaborate on who he was referencing with that last line).
Like I said, gross.
Here’s the reality.
Parscale was fired as campaign manager by Trump, not by “Democrats and disgruntled RINOs.” He was removed from his job atop the campaign after Trump’s Tulsa rally — an event the President hoped would signal a glorious return to the campaign trail post Covid-19 — wound up as a sparsely attended affair that served as a testament to the fact the virus remains uncontrolled in the country. As CNN wrote in mid-July when Parscale was demoted
“Trump has repeatedly criticized Parscale in meetings over the turnout. Parscale was unaware that he was being demoted until a few hours before the Wednesday night announcement, a source familiar with the situation told CNN.”
And that was far from the first time the President had savaged Parscale. As CNN reported in late April
“Within moments, the President was shouting — not at the aides in the room, but into the phone — at his campaign manager Brad Parscale, three people familiar with the matter told CNN. Shifting the blame away from himself, Trump berated Parscale for a recent spate of damaging poll numbers, even at one point threatening to sue Parscale. It’s not clear how serious the President’s threat of a lawsuit was.”
Candice Parscale told police that her husband “suffers from PTSD.”
What, exactly, does any of that have to do with “Democrats and disgruntled RINOs?” Yes, there has been scrutiny of the way in which Parscale ran the campaign and the decisions he made about how it spent its money
. But those are far from “disgusting personal attacks.” Rather they are the standard fare of covering campaigns. And, just as a reminder: Trump fired Parscale for just those reasons!
The idea that, in the face of the reporting about Parscale’s mental troubles — as well as reported signs that he had become violent with his wife
— the Trump campaign would somehow seek to score political points against Democrats and Republicans who don’t back the President is stunning stuff.
There are moments that should be beyond politics. This is one of them. The Parscales are clearly in distress. His struggles with his mental health are not political — or at least shouldn’t be. Even Murtaugh seemed to realize how tone-deaf his initial response was, releasing another statement Monday saying simply: “Our thoughts are with Brad and his family as we wait for all the facts to emerge.”
Better. But not nearly good enough.
How to get help: Call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It provides free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people in suicidal crisis or distress. You can learn more about its services here, including its guide on what to do if you see suicidal language on social media. You can also call 1-800-273-8255 to talk to someone about how you can help a person in crisis. For crisis support in Spanish, call 1-888-628-9454.