As the sun sets slowly on Trump’s presidency and we bid a not-so-fond farewell to the ex-resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, presumably leaving for exile at Mar-a-Largo, it’s worth reflecting: After all he’s said and done, what have we really learned from The Donald?
By this, I don’t mean some sort of high-minded platitude, such as “Democracy is a fragile thing.” Rather, I am referring to what of value, that one can put to practical use, has Trump actually taught us?
With his never-ending seeking of attention and self-promoting, Trump interjected himself as an increasingly constant presence in the infotainment firmament for decades. He was one of those human barking seals who lived in dread that five minutes might pass and he wasn’t the center of attention. Since entering the political arena, through his wily manipulation of mass and social media he became such an ever-present fixture in daily life that Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels would have drooled with envy. Via the tools of broadcast and cable TV, the Internet, Twitter, etc., the public has been bombarded with 24/7 Trump far more frequently than Hitler or Mussolini were ever inflicted on their publics.
Furthermore, as the Washington Post chronicled, Trump is the most documented liar in human history. The mendacity of his pronouncements has also regularly been matched by sheer imbecility and buffoonery, as well as sneering contempt. Here’s a pupu platter of the Trumpian bombast of his “America Worst” debacle that stands out most to me:
During his racist crusade to discredit America’s first Black president, on national outlets Trump boasted with great certitude that he’d dispatched investigators to Hawaii who “cannot believe what they’re finding” about Barack Obama’s birthplace, as he told NBC’s Today show April 7, 2011. Of course, five years-plus later the conman cursorily confessed “Obama was born in the U.S.” and that his theory had “birther” defects. (There’s Still No Evidence That Trump Sent Investigators To Hawaii To Dig Up Dirt On Obama | HuffPost)
In 2016 Trump also boasted about the star-studded extravaganza the GOP would stage at the convention, but like his Hawaiian Eyes’ lies, those promises turned out to be empty-handed when washed up Z-listers like Scott Baio (who?) spoke at the RNC. (Not-so-famous celebrities speak at Trump convention (usatoday.com))
Gratuitous, casual cruelty, too, is a Trump trademark. When Representative Rashida Tlaib, a member of the lefty “Squad” Trump reviles and the first Palestinian-American Congresswoman, rejected conditions set by Israel’s government regarding a planned trip, Tlaib scrubbed a visit to see her 90-year-old grandmother in the West Bank. On August 16, 2019 the meanspirited president tweeted: “The only real winner here is Tlaib’s grandmother. She doesn’t have to see her now!” (Trump Applauds That Rashida Tlaib’s Grandmother ‘Doesn’t Have To See Her,’ As Rep.’s West Bank Family Supports Her Decision (newsweek.com))
Of course, the “American carnage” canon includes Trumpian “classics” such as his post-Charlottesville musing about the white supremacist riots that there were “very fine people there, on both sides.” (One imagines he’d say the same thing about the Civil War and World War II.) For sheer hilarity, who could ever forget the self-proclaimed “stable genius” asking April 23, 2020 – on live TV, no less! – if “injection” of “disinfectant” and “light inside of the body” (Coronavirus: Outcry after Trump suggests injecting disinfectant as treatment – BBC News) that could treat coronavirus – before, you know, it just went “away… like a miracle”? (All of the times President Trump said Covid-19 will disappear (cnn.com))
However, when it comes to out-and-out dishonesty, the orange ogre’s electoral rants are his biggest Big Lie. Trump’s “election fraud” spiel fueled the “Stop the Steal” zeal. On Jan. 6 Trump’s chumps were told: “I’ll be there with you… We’re going to walk down to the Capitol… You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.” (PolitiFact | A timeline of what Trump said before Jan. 6 Capitol riot) But instead of showing strength, after whipping the Trumpsters up into a frothing frenzy, the privileged, pampered “populist’s” false bravado turned out to be just more of his fake news.
President “Bone Spurs” turned tail and skedaddled back to the White House to watch the MAGA mob do his dirty work for him on TV in complete comfort, Secret Service-supplied safety – and reportedly, glee. True-to-form, when the presidential putsch flopped (like the rest of his reign), Trump promptly threw his deluded followers under the bus and refused to take any responsibility for the “wild” events he’d set in motion. (‘Be There. Will Be Wild!’: Trump All but Circled the Date – The New York Times (nytimes.com))
The lunatic loser’s legacy of lies, et al, is endless. Trump’s dumps are a treasure trove of disinformation and insanity that – like his presidency – can be summed up in four words: “Shocking – but not surprising.”
Nevertheless, amidst all his nonsensical, blustery blathering and ballyhooing, I must admit that there is indeed one truly worthwhile thing I actually did learn from Trump, that I do regularly apply in my daily life. And I’m someone who believes in giving credit where credit’s due. This nugget of invaluable info is derived from Trump’s infamous 2005 Access Hollywood tape.
I hasten to stress that it is most definitely not his despicable confession about sexually abusing women by “grab[bing] ’em…” Rather, it’s what Donald the newlywed told Billy Bush as he prepared to meet a younger, attractive actress the 59-year-old hoped to impress and woo:
“I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her.”
When this recording was revealed in October 2016, I happened to be suffering from dry mouth at night. My dentist was unable to cure this annoying malady. Before hearing Trump’s tirade, I’d never tried Tic Tacs, but he gave me an idea. Taking a cue from tacky Trump I bought a plastic box of those breath mints and voila – while disinfectant doesn’t cure COVID, Tic Tacs successfully do treat dry mouth (although they’ve done absolutely nothing for my love life).
There you have it – after being subjected to Trumpianisms for decades and a veritable deluge of overexposure for the past five years, these are the single, solitary words of wisdom and thing of value America’s President imparted to me. So, as the Bidens prepare to storm the Executive Mansion and The Donald ignominiously slinks off to Palm Beach (or Pyongyang or Riyad or some undisclosed location that doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the U.S. and Letitia James), for schooling me on Tic Tacs, I say: “Thank you – and let the White House door hit you on the way out.”