The President is trolling us.
He cannot govern us, but his reality-show based administration has mastered the art of insults. He’s the Don Rickles of politics without any of the fun—just the insults via the latest tweet. Donald Trump has mastered the tweet. He’s perfected it to an art form, whittling down the entire complex operation of the United States government to a 140-character tweet. We’ve read appellations from “fake news” to “little rocket man,” admonitions from “sad” to “winning” and issues from abortion to xenophobia.
Think of his tweets as breakers or bumpers used to promote news and entertainment on television and you’ll get the idea. It’s all a show—not necessarily a great one, but the president does know how to rile people up, bless his heart (as they say in some parts of the South). What a hockey puck. You love him or you hate him, but everyone’s talking about him. He’s probably never been happier.
He delights in Friday afternoon “news dumps” for weekend intrigue and drama. He courts excess in nearly every move (except in some of his scripted speeches which are merely shallow, dull and lifeless) in order to thrill, aggravate, anger, enthrall and divide us. There’s a special place in hell for the producers at The Apprentice who invented this guy. Actually, they’d be better producing this reality show than those who are currently producing POTUS, his new show.
All the president’s men and women disagree. The president is very good at telling us the truth, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in direct response to me during last Friday’s press briefing. It is the media that’s more in need of being factual and truthful, said the representative of a president whose other surrogates have defended the use of “alternative facts” and have told us not to believe our lying eyes on the size of the president’s inaugural crowd.
So the president is just peachy.
Stephen Miller, who is as blank-minded as he is capable of a blank, soulless stare, tells us the president’s power won’t be questioned. No one on the president’s production staff could write an episode of Gilligan’s Island, much less direct a reality show today. Yet, here they are tasked with doing so.
The show stars an irascible grandfather whose key reference to television probably is Gilligan’s Island. He wants those kids off his lawn, and he wants to produce and star in a reality show before he dons a cape and soars through the stratosphere as the superhero to end all superheroes. While some say he probably chants “Hail Hydra” in front of the bathroom mirror every night trying to use his best Robert Redford voice, he undoubtedly sees himself as Captain America.
Trump considers himself a populist who has tapped the country’s main vein and knows how to manipulate it.
The president’s inability to deal with reality—versus bending reality toward his comic-book mentality—is slowly causing his base to abandon him. In return he finds himself playing more and more to those he can count on to stand up and cheer. This is a base that includes David Duke, the Nazi party, Russian “business” men and anyone who owns a lot of white bed sheets complete with eye holes.
Meanwhile, sane people in the GOP are beginning to back away slowly—but at an increasing pace and rate from Trump. The latest to blast the president for his tweets and lack of style is Senator Bob Corker who, in a New York Times article, accused Trump of racing without understanding into a potential “World War III” while he produces his reality show administration. Every day is a challenge to control him, Corker said of the president.
Many in government from both sides of the fence are nodding their heads in agreement, though few have said as much publicly on the GOP side of the aisle. So, Corker’s admonition is particularly worrisome for the president because Trump cannot contain Corker for the next 15 months before his self-imposed retirement from the Senate. Since Corker is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he can be problematic and add to the drama stirred by the president—at least until the midterm elections. This means little, if the last nine months are any indication, for the P.T. Barnum clone who has taken over the presidency. Trump will continue to tweet, scream, rant and rave. You can agree with him or you can disagree with him and he really doesn’t care.
We can yell about the visuals of a rich, old, white man tossing paper towel rolls to homeless disaster victims in Puerto Rico; he will just tell you how the people loved him. Corker can call him anything he wants, from a sideshow barker to a mad despot, and Trump will not change. At the end of the day Donald Trump only serves Donald Trump. He loves the adulation and he loves the drama. Since he’s no more a Republican than he is a Democrat, he doesn’t really owe allegiance to any party and doesn’t care if he angers the hierarchy of either party. He considers himself a populist who has tapped the country’s main vein and knows how to manipulate it better than anyone else. That he has limited success isn’t a matter of concern for him. He’ll tweet that he’s a success and that becomes his reality—and for many of his followers they react the same.
But for those of who are enamored by facts and logic, at the end of the day, Trump’s activities boil down to the “Big Ds.”
Deny Through his tweets and his public addresses, he denies facts that conflict with him and denies he’s ever done a thing wrong.
Defend He defends everything he’s done, even if one action is contradictory to a previous action.
Deflect It is always the fault of Hillary, Obama, Congress, the kid at the lemonade stand—anyone but him.
Disrupt and Divide And at the end of the day, this is his chief strategy. If he can divide us and isolate the opposition into manageable groups. he has a better chance at controlling dissent.
His P.T. Barnum mentality loves the big tent, the big show and the attention. His divisive nature is leading us down a path we’ve never traveled, and people like Corker are becoming more and more emboldened to speak out. It is as if we are watching a demolition derby billed as the Indianapolis 500. It isn’t running anywhere near as smoothly as it could—in fact it’s downright terrifying—but you can’t look away. Many of us just want it to stop.
And of course the Mueller investigation continues.