THERE MAY BE SOME POINT IN GETTING INTO A LATHER here about the crazy stuff Donald Trump has said and done, but it would be a really small one. Very, very small. Like, for instance, his hands.
As we type, in the first week of August 2017, here are some highlights from a simple Google search of current news stories pertaining to the American president.
- He has just fired his communications director Anthony Scaramucci who’s been in the job for less than a fortnight. (He will later tweet that it had been ‘a great day in the Whitehouse’.)
- He has apparently described the White House as ‘a dump’ to explain his regular visits to a local golf club. (He will later call this fake news.)
- He appears to have invented a phone call from the Boy Scouts in which they thanked the president for a speech he made to the Boy Scouts National Jamboree, describing it as ‘the greatest speech that was ever made to them’
‘How do you put your shoes on in the morning? How do you exist and be so dumb?’
– Howard Finkler, who was so horrified by the prospect of a Trump presidency that he wrote a novel about the man, called Pussy
By the time this chapter is read by the proofreader, let alone by you, the reader, these little episodes will have long been buried in an avalanche of almost relentless news and outrage surrounding the Trump administration. It is its principal product. It is the mallet that relentlessly hammers the wedge into the great chasm that is American politics, a chasm that has rendered president after president before Trump unable to get meaningful things done while in office, and which is widening at an exponential rate under Trump.
For the occupant of a position that is supposed to emanate the decorum and seriousness of the world’s most powerful individual, Trump is a cartoon jackass, a Simpsons character made worse by the fact that he’s actually been a Simpsons character. Not to mention a reality TV star who, not long ago, would have made more sense in an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians than in the White House – and, come to think of it, still would.* A guy who we all thought was hamming it up, until we realised he wasn’t. Until he was, despite all the publicly known facts about his unsuitability for the job, elected as president of the United States of America.
So, to get back to where we started, there is almost no point, therefore, in recording Donald Trump’s many and various crimes, abominations and embarrassments here.
Oh, but we can’t resist.
He has hair that defies the natural laws of the universe.
He is orange!
He is more sensitive than a millennial snowflake and gets upset when you make jokes about, among other things, his very, very small hands.
He is the leader of the free world but seemingly spends more time sending cry-baby tweets than doing any actual leading.
He has the vocabulary of a 5th grader.
There is, in fact, a plausible case to be made that he is in an advancing state of dementia, as opposed to simply being a narcissist and egomaniac. (He is the oldest US president to take office.)
His favourite word is ‘I’.
He has a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor for a cameo in the 1990 movie Ghosts Can’t Do It.
He didn’t realise that being president of the United States ‘would be more work than in my previous life’. As Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert and others asked of this frank admission of his: did he think that running the free world would be easier than appearing on a reality TV show and selling luxury meat?
He has reduced the presidency of the United States to a laughing stock.
Okay, we have to stop it there. We could go on for pages and pages and we haven’t even got to the bad stuff. The personality defects that militate against wise leadership. The tactlessness, the divisiveness, the unfounded confidence in everything he says, the dearth of emotional intelligence, the effortless offence-causing – complemented by his own ability to take offence at almost anything in return. The fact that he has no meaningful experience as a politician whatsoever – see that luxury-meat point above.
Donald Trump’s faults are manifest and they are many, and the unremittingly furious ‘liberal’ – by which Americans mean left-leaning – media will continue to record them in gaudy, glorious detail until his dying day. But those same newspapers and websites really ought to try harder, because ceaseless squealing about Trump isn’t going to change anything. A Trump administration was just as absurd an idea before the election as it is after, which explains, as of August 2017, that while his overall approval ratings are reasonably poor, those parts of the US that voted for him remain relatively loyal. To OpEd editors sitting in LA and New York, this appears to be regarded as a kind of madness. It is perhaps easier for them to understand Trump more as a desperate act of self-harm by a section of American society in trouble than as a considered response to the status quo. This is a section of society so completely removed from the wealthy, cosmopolitan seaboard conurbations that they even have a name for it: fly-over states. These are the states you fly over on your way from one blue coast to the other.