This past week must be one of the most action packed of the long running Trumped-Up show: I, President. – which is saying a lot. That doesn’t mean this episode deserves an award, just the reverse, and there is so much crap involved, I don’t want to touch it. But I feel a need to say something, to find some take on Trumptopia that sheds some light.
It helps me to think of this whole week as a show because that is the way Trump sees it. In December, the New York Times reported that “Before taking office, Mr. Trump told top aides to think of each presidential day as an episode in a television show in which he vanquishes rivals.” That seems to sum up Trump’s approach to both TV producing and governing, a shared hodgepodge.
Much of last week has been aimed at vanquishing the author of a big tell all book about fast times at White House High, which seemed to set the table in the days that followed as the book portrayed (I hear) Trump as the nitwit in chief of a loony tune WH. Trump’s response was to hold some meetings and do other things to look presidential.
Much that transpired revealed the opposite, but I doubt he cares. Even when he plays the fool he remains the center of attention, often more so, prompting hard working reporters to deconstruct his big lies, like the one that the random lottery that is used for a small part of immigration gives us the people those countries don’t want. Totally false, but so what, Trump pumps out more whoppers than Burger King. And regurgitates old ones. Easier for him to just keep telling a lie than for others to constantly refute it.
In those meetings Trump showed his usual lack of any grasp of complex issues and said things that contradicted Republican positions. In a televised meeting of leaders of both parties he seemed to favor a simple DACA fix (as if to show he is cooperative and kindly, calling it an “act of love”). But after the meeting he flipped positions and refused the deal, apparently deciding that love was not shared by his base.
Also, he criticized the FISA act in a tweet for not protecting him implying he was for changes in the act even though the WH had already indicated they did not want changes in the bill voted on Thursday in the House. In both cases Trump had to be reminded he was actually against what he said he was for or vice-versa.
Heh, but so what? The DACA deal wasn’t made and Trump blamed the Dems, of course, even though he was the one who changed positions. And FISA got passed after Trump stopped getting in the way. So despite floundering, Trump filled the Republican bill and was the center of attention in the process.
Of course, the shitholes comment seemed to garner too much of the wrong attention from around the world. He called African countries shitholes, while implying Haiti and some south American countries weren’t much different. However, he denied in a tweet he ever said that. He had only “talked tough,” but not those words. Also, his word spinners have construed it as reflecting his America First emphasis. Those who oppose him love those other nations more than the U. S.
With Trump it seems we often have to turn things upside down to see more clearly. While normally incurring the wrath of much of the world would seem a bad presidential move, the shithole story became THE STORY of the week, grabbing attention away from many criticisms and self-made errors by the president. It is outrageous, but our outrage works for Trump, prompting us to lose sight of his general incompetence while emphasizing his America first message and giving him the constant media coverage he hungers for, like Dracula needs blood.
So, did Trump vanquish his rivals this past week? I’d say it is hard to judge, but in his own tumultuous way he held his own. Constantly being the center of attention certainly makes him a winner of his television show. Hard to get higher ratings. And I don’t think his fan base of about one third of the country will have many complaints, so I’d say he’s a winner of his own little game.
Unfortunately, the rest of us are being forced to play it.
P. S. – I’m from a time when you didn’t completely type profanities, like sh–holes out of a reluctance to be vulgar. But I noticed the term being used in its entirety in reports and learned that while normally the word would be slightly disguised, reporting guidelines make an exception when the president says or writes it. In short, an exception is made out of respect for the president’s position. Sickenly so , we have a president who doesn’t have respect for the position himself.
Also, I got the NY Times quote I used from a piece by Eugene Robinson about how Trump seldom knows what he thinks. Robinson’s descriptions of a couple of meetings mentioned above fit with my own observations, in case you’d like to check them out at : Eugene Robinson