At some point, maintaining your own grip on reality means accepting that the President of the United States has lost his. The man’s brain is not good, you see. One way you can tell is that he spent his Sunday going absolutely intergalactic on the Tweet Machine, offering his considered opinion on Fox News’ weekend programming, decrying the scourge of Saturday Night Live—which he seemed to accuse of colluding with Russia—and, of course, forwarding some caps-heavy ruminations on the many investigations into him and his associates. Oh, and he also wished folks a Happy St. Patrick’s Day, shortly before the party he leads tweeted an attack on Beto O’Rourke linking his 1998 DUI arrest to his Irish ancestry—you know, because the Irish are alcoholic criminals. Some throwback bigotry!
But the cornerstone of the weekend meltdown from Donald Trump, American president, were his complaints about what was coming to him through the TV—the medium that is, without exaggeration, the governing force of his own private reality. He kicked things off with a high-pitched whine about SNL, a comedy show that makes fun of political figures by putting makeup on famous actors and having them read a transcript of what the real person said the week before.
But then it was time to attend to the core matters of state: why aren’t my favorite TV people on my TV saying nice things about me?
After tweeting a Fox clip directly, the United States president proceeded to attack a local Union leader, seeming to blame him for G.M.’s decision to close a plant in Lordstown, Ohio, at the cost of 5,400 jobs.
Then it was back to the president’s main duty as outlined in the Constitution, to serve as the nation’s top television critic.
The president then went on a Retweet Spree. He retweeted one of those professional MAGA fan accounts that, shockingly, agreed with his take on Fox News Anchors Offering Insufficient Praise for the Leader. Trump shared a message from a definitely real account assuring him that millions of Americans like Trump more than John McCain. The president shared multiple articles from “ilovemyfreedom.org.” And finally, he retweeted a supporter of QAnon, a loopy conspiracy theory based on anonymous posts on an Internet forum.
This was apparently a huge boost to the followers of “Q”. An authorless book associated with this “movement” was already in the top 75 books on Amazon. The book claims, among other things, that prominent Democrats murder and eat children.
After the Retweetapalooza, it was almost over. But not before Trump bragged he’d talked to Mary Barra, the GM CEO, about the Lordstown plant closure—once again suggesting the union was to blame. He did not bother to claim the call had accomplished anything. Then he said Democrats tried to steal the 2016 election. And then there was this:
Good night, Mr. President.
Once again, we’ve been subjected to an extended public presidential meltdown. It appears the World’s Most Powerful Man spent his Sunday watching Fox News and reacting explosively to whatever came on screen. It might seem like this is no way to run your life, much less the country, but that’s why you’re not an Artful Dealmaker and The Leader America Needs.
Throughout, we were also subjected to feeble pushbacks like the one from Senator Lindsey Graham, who piggybacked on John McCain to smuggle himself into political prominence. Now Graham, who once maintained Trump was a “kook” who’s unfit for office, has now attached himself at the hip to the man who dragged McCain’s name through the mud in life, in severe sickness, and in death.
What a nice encapsulation of the kind of moral and political decay of this nation, a collapse that has given this president the time and space to trample our republic. The Mad King rants and raves as the messages filter into his brain from the TV, while the cowards in Congress tell us all in Very Serious Tones that, while it may appear he has no clothes, he merely takes an unconventional approach to dressing himself each morning. Meanwhile, he continues to ratchet up the talk of political violence.