At this point, any new batshit thing that President Donald Trump says comes across less as a shock and more like another punch to the face in a boxing match. If you’re an experienced fighter, you know exactly how it’s gonna feel when that glove pounds your chin, but, goddamnit, it still hurts and, goddamnit, you want it to stop. So this latest New York Times “interview” (if by “interview,” you mean, “a lunatic scrawling in shit on his rubber room walls”) with Trump is the usual serving of blithering, dithering, and withering, all tossed into a word salad that sounds like it might be English but is a colloquial bowl of chopped ideas that we could call “Trumpese.”
The usual things that crop up any time Trump speaks were in full effect here:
1. Self-fellatio – Trump praises himself endlessly for doing the most, having the most, being the most, even if it’s a goddamned lie. Here he is on his speech in Poland: “Enemies of mine in the media, enemies of mine are saying it was the greatest speech ever made on foreign soil by a president…You saw the reviews I got on that speech.” Or on the rollback of Obama-era regulations: ” I’ve given the farmers back their farms. I’ve given the builders back their land to build houses and to build other things.” Can you imagine the hategasm that would splooge all over the airwaves if President Obama had said, “I gave people health insurance”? We’d be cleaning up that goo for years. But Trump’s voters love that he acts like he’s the king. They want a king. They want to be ruled. They want discipline. Shit, basically, he’s their Dom and they’re his loyal Subs, except the rest of us have been dragged into it without a safe word or, you know, consent.
2. Shitting on others – Yeah, Trump just sprayed scat all over Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department in general. In addition to questioning the motives of Robert Mueller (as well as threatening to fire him) and bizarrely saying that Sessions shouldn’t have taken the job if he was going to recuse himself from Russia matters (remember: Sessions tried not to do so until it was revealed he lied under oath about his meetings), Trump says of his firing of James Comey, “I think I did a great thing for the American people.” The American people just want someone who’ll do the goddamn job. It’s mighty strange, by the way, to say that you did nothing wrong but wanting the investigation shut down.
2a. Shitting on Hillary Clinton – Because of course he did.
3. Cornered rat babbling – Asked about the conversation with Vladimir Putin that wasn’t reported until well after the G20 summit, Trump was like a tween caught with weed in his dresser. He wove an elaborate tale about how the chat came to be, setting the scene at the dinner all the leaders attended, who was seated where, who was talking to whom, who else might have been there, the fucking opera they watched. Then Trump said what he and Putin discussed: “Actually, it was very interesting, we talked about adoption.” The fuck? (I wish Maggie Haberman had said that instead of “You did?”) Trump continued, “We talked about Russian adoption. Yeah. I always found that interesting. Because, you know, he ended that years ago. And I actually talked about Russian adoption with him, which is interesting because it was a part of the conversation that Don [Jr.] had in that meeting.” That means they talked about the lifting of the sanctions in the Magnitsky Act, which is pretty fucking important. But a cornered rat will do that. Amid the lies and distractions, they will squeak out some truth.
4. Paranoid ranting – Everyone is out to get Trump, according to Trump. The news media, of course, but, more significantly, Barack Obama creeps into his head and he can’t help but go nutzoid insulting his beloved White House predecessor. “Don’t forget, Crimea was given away during Obama. Not during Trump,” he said, speaking of himself in the third person, which is so disconcerting. He then went incoherent until he got back to Obama: “In fact, I was on one of the shows, I said they’re exactly right, they didn’t have it as it exactly. But he was — this — Crimea was gone during the Obama administration, and he gave, he allowed it to get away. You know, he can talk tough all he wants, in the meantime he talked tough to North Korea. And he didn’t actually. He didn’t talk tough to North Korea. You know, we have a big problem with North Korea. Big. Big, big.” Jesus, calm down there, big fella. “You look at all of the things, you look at the line in the sand. The red line in the sand in Syria. He didn’t do the shot. I did the shot. Had he done that shot, he wouldn’t have had — had he done something dramatic, because if you remember, they had a tremendous gas attack after he made that statement. Much bigger than the one they had with me.” Ah, finally he can let Obama win one: Syria gassed more people under Obama than under Trump. Such a humble man, our president.
5. Just weird shit – Every interview with Trump is guaranteed to have some bizarre notes, those moments when Trump sounds like a Hollywood producer in the 1970s. You could go with his description of the Bastille Day parade in Paris (“You know what else that was nice? It was limited. You know, it was two hours, and the parade ended. It didn’t go a whole day”) or even when he jumped subjects like a weasel on meth (“The Russians have great fighters in the cold. They use the cold to their advantage. I mean, they’ve won five wars where the armies that went against them froze to death. It’s pretty amazing. So, we’re having a good time. The economy is doing great.”) But I’m gonna go with the saga of French President Macron and his love of holding Trump’s hand: “He’s a great guy. Smart. Strong. Loves holding my hand…People don’t realize he loves holding my hand. And that’s good, as far as that goes…I think he is going to be a terrific president of France. But he does love holding my hand.” Every night, Macron touches the hand that held Trump’s, and a single tear runs slowly down his face as he remembers those soft, small fingers interlaced with his.
Keep in mind that these were easy questions because the reporters know that if you ask Trump something about policy, like “Can you explain a single fucking thing about how the ACA exchanges work?” or if you challenge him, like “Why did you lie about Medicaid cuts?” he’ll just shut down like an overstimulated toddler. Even on the softball questions, he got basic facts wrong and he didn’t know when to shut the fuck up. Sure, Trump ought to be interviewed like anyone would Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or, fuck, Mitt Romney, but we all know that he’s fucking stupid so get the stupid people to talk about the one thing they feel comfortable with: themselves.
It’s not shocking anymore. And we need to be careful about that. The thing about a boxing match is that the fighters can never let it get boring and rote. It might be exhausting or excruciating. But you gotta stay in the moments or you’ll find yourself flat on your ass, without health care, with your country at war, with your voting rights gone, and with your environment collapsing.
Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on July 20, 2017, on The Rude Pundit, a website featuring commentary by Lee Papa. It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Papa.