On Friday, Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. If you had told me even six months ago I’d be typing that sentence, I would’ve handed you a twenty and suggested you think about ditching the crack.
It was a dark, dreary, spectacularly ominous day in DC. The mall looked pretty empty. Former Presidents Clinton, Bush the second, and Carter were all in attendance. Slick Willy may have gotten caught staring at Melania or Ivanka. W got bested by a rain poncho. Outgoing president Barack Obama appeared pensive, like his mind was whirring a mile a minute as he processed it all from every possible angle. In between benevolent plastic smiles, Hillary looked ready to shank someone. Vice President Mike Pence sported his usual “I just sharted my pants and I’m trying to figure out how long I can get away with not changing them” expression. Politics as usual.
What was absolutely not normal, however, was President The Donald’s speech. If you woke up from a coma and that was the first thing you saw, you’d think America had become a hellish dystopian wasteland ruled by gangs, crime, drugs, and evil bastards demanding you tithe your first born lest you face the lash. That’s not any America I know. We’ve got our problems for sure, and certain areas could use some help catching up, but we are absolutely trending in the right direction. We have been for a while now.
I also find it interesting that if you take his speech and replace every negative reference to “the establishment” or “the government,” with “the 1%” or “the business elite,” large portions of it become super spot-on. If we assume that a key goal of his platform is to twist populism into protecting billionaires like himself and his pals from a rising tide of frustrated Americans (and I absolutely do), then this is a masterful job of manipulation and deflection.
Also, I learned that his middle initial, J, stands for John. Not Jonathan or Johnathan or the like. Just John. It’s irrelevant, but I still find it odd.
I’ll give him this, though: standing up there and telling all the representatives, senators, governors, and former presidents surrounding him that they’re horrible at their jobs took some serious balls. Kudos to the former presidents for sitting through it with dignity, or at least what passes for it when you get caught ogling another man’s wife or you lose a hard-fought battle to a sheet of plastic. I can’t picture the current president doing the same were the roles reversed (other than the leering, of course).
It gets weirder. Remember that relatively empty mall I mentioned? Various outlets have reported attendance to be lower than both of Obama’s inaugurations. The White House, however, sent deer-in-the-headlights Press Secretary Sean Spicer out to the press conference podium to refute those reports in a manner that can only be described as “they’ve got my family suspended above a pool of hungry sharks.” Seriously. Watch this. It’s nuts.
Shit like that is what makes people think the president’s a dictator-in-training. It’s evidence of a deranged, narcissistic personality that can’t handle any sort of criticism or perceived loss. His pathological need to be the best at everything is absolutely going to fuck the rest of us somehow—and this, above and beyond anything else, is why I’ve spent so much time rambling against him. The Trump brand itself, which is based on always winning, may be his single biggest conflict of interest.
Had the White House left the attendance thing alone, talk of it would’ve fizzled out in a day or two. Immaturely poking it in the eye with a stick just made it immortal (author’s note: please don’t stab your eye in an attempt to make yourself live forever). All it would’ve taken to wipe it away was a quick, genuine “Welp, I’ll give more people a reason to come to my next one!” Problem solved! Now you’ve taken a perceived weakness and turned it into an admirable goal, efficiently and positively.
But nope. Dude just can’t handle his shit, especially when Obama’s involved. Guaranteed he had his aides digging through every nook and cranny of the White House just in case Barack forgot to grab his secret Kenyan birth certificate out of its hiding place. Pssssssssssst: it’s in a waterproof bag in the toilet. No, further down the drain. Further. Keep going. Get a snorkel. And it’s magically sealed so only a POTUS can touch it. Get in there, Donnie!
Can’t wait to see how he pegs attendance at the women’s marches as “like 20,000 or so.” I went. I’ll have thoughts on that tomorrow once I’ve processed it all.