Trump is Everyone's Crazy Uncle
How Trump is Wearing Us Out
We've all had this experience; getting stuck talking to someone that we'd really rather not be talking to. We nod politely, and then use the first rationale we can find to excuse ourselves from the conversation. At that point, we have the relieved luxury of ignoring them altogether. The neighbor at the barbecue ranting that all Muslims are dangerous, the woman at the supermarket mumbling that the CIA is spying on her, or the unhinged uncle at Thanksgiving who explains to anyone who will listen that Obama is not an American citizen.
We can just smile and say, "pardon me, I'd like to get some of those peas, please."
Trump, however, is different. He's the president of the United States. So even though Trump is about as well-informed as your average reality show star, he's also the most powerful man in the world. This means that unlike other reality stars like Snooki, the press is pretty much obliged to cover everything Trump says. We've all been cornered by the unhinged uncle, and now we can't get away......for the next four years. Trump can hold all of us hostage, knowing that everything he says has to be covered in the news, even as he bashes the press for covering it.
This is going to be the longest, most awkward Thanksgiving ever. At least Vice President Pence has the good taste to keep a low profile for periods of time. Pence is the conservative uncle who lets us watch a little football and digest our turkey in peace. Pence understands that for the most part, it's not a bad thing for politicians to be boring. Politics is SUPPOSED to be boring. Trump, on the other hand, seems determined to entertain this country right into a ditch. I don't think that's what Trump had in mind when he became president and said he wanted to hit the ground running.
Trump's presidential-sounding speech to Congress provided brief hope that he was growing into his new role. And by presidential, I mean Trump didn't go off on any tangents about celebrities he doesn't like or make up any conspiracy theories. But then Trump ruthlessly crushed all that good will by reverting back into Trump-mode and complaining that Obama had put a "tapp" on his phones.
Even if that were true, and I highly doubt that it is, that's the kind of serious charge that a president should not be making in a tweet with no evidence, no details, and no prior disclosure to his own staff. Just for good measure, Trump followed it up with a tweet complaining about the "pathetic" TV ratings for The Apprentice, and blaming host Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yes, that happened. The hallowed office of the presidency was used to criticize a reality show host. Really, doesn't the leader of the free world have more important things to worry about? When did it become part of the Republican Party Platform to attack Austrians who host reality shows? When exactly did the Grand Old Party begin holding its own leader to the same standards of your average internet troll?
The fact that Trump sent these tweets consecutively worries me even more. Does Trump understand that accusing someone of poor TV ratings and accusing someone of presidential treason are not the same thing? Or is it all the same to Trump, because he just lashes out at people randomly with no comprehension of the consequences? Who accuses a president of the biggest scandal since Watergate and then basically says, "Hey, you know that TV show that I still executive produce for some reason? The show sure stinks without me, doesn't it?" That's like a prosecutor telling a jury that the defendant is a horrifying serial killer, and then segueing into a critique of the new Star Wars movie. I imagine that an opening argument like that would create one mightily confused jury,
Trump also took some time at the National Prayer Breakfast to trash Schwarzenegger as well, thereby missing the event's entire point.
Trump does know that he's the president, right? That he's not just starring in another reality show?
In 1979, Peter Sellers starred in the movie "Being There," a comedy about a man totally disconnected from reality who inexplicably becomes president of the United States. At this point, that film looks practically clairvoyant. I half-expect Trump to unzip his orange head any day now and reveal Peter Sellers underneath, laughing uproariously.
However, the social experiment that we are currently trapped in is not going away anytime soon. Bearing that in mind, I think it would be in our president's best interest to avoid tweeting anything for a while. Perhaps he should consider taking a little bit of time to run his tweets past his staff first, to make sure they're accurate. While he's at it, Trump could also do a little fact-checking before conducting interviews, so he could avoid doing things like wondering aloud why the U.S. had a civil war. Since I'm dreaming here, I may as well also wish that Trump would consult with lawyers before signing his executive orders to make sure they won't get thrown out in court. (The courts throwing out Trump's travel ban was followed by Trump tweeting in all-caps, "SEE YOU IN COURT!" Which doesn't even make sense, considering that court is where he had just lost.) Just generally, it would be nice if Trump displayed that he's capable of acting like a functioning adult.
I'm starting think that it's no coincidence that the word Twitter starts with "Twit." Can you imagine what Trump's staff has to go through every time Trump says something controversial? By now they're probably used to asking the question, "so, what did the boss tweet this time?" and then drawing straws to decide who will defend Trump's comments and then be promptly satirized on Saturday Night Live.
Of course, it would be nice if someone could take Trump's twitter account away. But that's the problem with being president of the United States, you can pretty much do whatever you want. Try to tell Trump what to do and he'll just fire you, and then he'll stay up all night tweeting every passing thought that floats through his cloud of blonde hair.
I'm sure Trump's supporters find this all very entertaining. They like his undisciplined, anti-political persona, and imagine that Trump is sticking it to the political establishment on their behalf. But they need to understand that whatever Trump says, his message isn't really about them at all. The message is always about Trump. Like a child desperate for attention, Trump is essentially saying, "please look at me. Lookit, lookit, lookit! WATCH MEEE, EVERYBODY!"
Trump has only been president for a hundred days, and already I am exhausted.