Book cover image of "Toddler-In-Chief"

The Toddler-In-Chief Loses His Mud – Again … Writer’s Lounge

 

The Toddler-In-Chief Loses His Mud – Again … Writer’s Lounge

In a recent essay, we discussed the psychological underpinnings of Donald Trump’s fragile mental state in light of the devastating and disorienting effect that losing precipitates within the functioning of a psychopathic narcissist.  

Unhinged – Trump’s Mental State And The Risk It Poses Until He Leaves Office

And we predicted (no great accomplishment or evidence of prophetic ability), with even as much unraveling we’ve seen of the impeached president during the last four years, there would be more and at an accelerated pace in the last 2 months of his term.

Well, here we are back again a week and a half later, with fresh evidence in no particular order from this past week.

The entire week was consumed by Trump’s mind numbing repetition of preposterous and disproven claims about the election results, including calling one GOP election official in GeorgiaSecretary of State Brad Raffensperger, an “enemy of the people” and berating Brian Kemp, the Republican governor of that state as “a disaster” and rueing that he ever endorsed him. “The governor’s done nothing. He’s done absolutely nothing,” Trump said. “I’m ashamed that I endorsed him. But I look what’s going on. It’s so terrible.”

It wasn’t always so. Back in 2018, Trump touted them in a Tweet:

Trump praises Georgia Secretary of State and governor in 2018 tweet
Trump figures he got Raffensperger the job and expected a quid pro quo on disqualifying ballots Trump doesn’t like. The same for Kemp. You fail that test and by Trump’s calculation, you are everyone’s enemy (but mostly his). Trump has now made his expectations even more explicit.

“Why won’t Governor [Brian Kemp], the hapless Governor of Georgia, use his emergency powers, which can be easily done, to overrule his obstinate Secretary of State, and do a match of signatures of envelopes,” Trump tweeted. “It will be a ‘goldmine’ of fraud, and we will easily WIN the state…”

No, Donnie – you lost the state. The signatures were examined and matched during the ballot processing and Trump is accusing everyone involved in that process in a conspiracy against him. What Trump is demanding is illegal on it’s face and devoid of any factual or legal foundation. That’s why Brian Kemp is not even considering going there. What else is new?

Here, I would mention the possibility that as Trump wages war on Republican elected officials such as he is doing with these two men in Georgia – his doing so might accelerate a denunciation of and distancing from Trump by members of his party. Members who, up until now, have consisted mostly of retiring or recently retiring Congressional representatives and governors who are in swing states that are more immune from retribution by Trump’s voters.

Trump has assembled a circular firing squad, in which role he plays the commandant issuing the order to fire. It could backfire.  As to the probability factor and the ultimate extent and impact of such a contingency, it is something that remains to be seen.

We’ll next reset the viral “Diaper Don” eruption. The video below, featuring Noel Casler, an executive producer of The Apprentice, explains itself:

 

In light of Casler’s account, Trump’s comments about how he percieves they way the election process disinfranchised his re-election, is pretty damned hilarious:   

“This election was over and then they did dumps. Big, massive dumps.”

Big massive dumps. I suppose he would know about those as much as anyone would. Also, part of that dealt with the ridiculous setting of Trump’s Thursday afternoon press conference.

The hastily (unplanned) press conference yielded a makeshift set up in one of the White House conference rooms, the Diplomatic Reception Room – a ground floor room that leads to the South Lawn –  ordinarily not employed for presidential press briefings (if this episode could be called that).

White House staff will deny this until their gray hairs sprout gray hairs, but I would wager any amount that the desk that was situated in that room for His Majesty The Prez, was a leftover prop from some event or video presentation for kids in which they were able to take turns play acting in the role of president.

Wait – what? Trump has been doing that for four years? OK, fine – I would be the last to dispute that. But the desk and the person sitting behind it were comical. The desk having been dubbed the “Tiny Desk”, brought to mind NPR’s frequent musical feature, the “Tiny Desk Concerts.”   I reckon we can be thankful that Trump didn’t opt to serenade the members of the press core.   

If his claim that he has a feeling for music is as accurate as his boasts about making deals, building walls, brilliance at diplomacy and excellence at managing a crisis – it would have been ugly. The scene was ugly anyway. 

 

Trump in the Diplomatic Reception Room sitting behind the now notorious "Tiny Desk" conducting a press conference on November 27, 2020

The photo, which became a fireball streaking across social media, was taken by CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins, who has been a target of Trump’s disrespect and hyper-misogyny for the entire run of his term. The reaction on Twitter was widespread and humiliating for Trump.

Tweets about Donnie and the tiny desk

Trump’s outrage about the reporting that resulted in the hashtag #DiaperDon making several full orbits across social media (230,000 mentions), and some even renaming their Twitter accounts in snarky tributes  – took the form of calling for the privileges of the fourth estate (media and press) to be curtailed at his whim.

Trump tweeted:

“Twitter is sending out totally false ‘Trends’ that have absolutely nothing to do with what is really trending in the world. They make it up, and only negative ‘stuff’,” Trump tweeted without providing evidence in the early hours of Friday morning.  “For purposes of National Security, Section 230 must be immediately terminated!!!” 

Trump tweet calling for Section 230 relating to media sanctions of false information

And with this, Trump simply invited more laughter and scorn:

Meme with Trump sitting in a child's playroom furnished with Playskool furniture and learning toys

And I liked this one as well. It’s quite possible Trump is thinking of a physical location that needs done away with:

screenshot of a baseball stadium with seating locations illustrated

What was clear was that this was just one more in a long string of complaints about ‘unfair’ and ‘false’ coverage of him and calls to remove the discretion of the media in what and how they report on him. He’s brought up Section 230 on many occasions. In May, the president signed an executive order seeking to empower federal regulators to amend Section 230.

What is unclear, and doubtless unclear to him, is what trending topics on Twitter and elsewhere, has to do with national security. That is, of course, because it has zip to do with it. But don’t try to tell a crying baby that. It won’t cut any ice.

Speaking of that, Trump’s appearance behind the tiny desk on Thanksgiving evening, turned out to be one of his most disgraceful performances in a long string of them. There was this encounter between the aforementioned Kaitlan Collins and Trump:

Trump: Listen, excuse me. Excuse me.”

Collins:  “If I may.”

Trump:  “When they don’t allow a poll watcher, which is a sacred person in our country. People don’t know what a poll watcher is. A poll watcher is – it’s considered sacred in our country. When they throw them out of rooms.”

Collins:  “But that’s not true. They didn’t do that.”

Trump:  “Sure, it is.”

Collins:  “Your attorneys admitted they were in the room.”

Trump:  “Excuse me. No, they didn’t. My attorneys did not admit anything. And it’s all different places.”

A few things to note here.

First, it is interesting, but in keeping with Trump’s habits, that he insults the intelligence of essentially everyone but himself, saying that “People don’t know what a poll watcher is.” Pardon me, the hell I don’t.

Even people with a vague concept of a poll watcher, recognize that it is someone who is authorized by election authorities to observe, but not interfere with the voting and vote counting process. 

If there is one person that is ignorant of most every aspect of how elections are conducted, it is obviously Trump. The clue was that he was forming the sentence “a poll watcher is …” and then shifted gears to poll watchers being “considered sacred in our country” and then the falsehood about them having been thrown out of rooms.

He put a query into the search engine of his reptilian brain and nothing came back. That happens to Trump often.

But this was not the most revealing outburst. Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason, asked the president whether he would concede if the Electoral College voted to officially make Joe Biden the winner of the US election on the appointed day of December 14.

Trump attempted to deflect and side step and Mason persisted, eliciting Trump’s reaction, “Don’t talk to me that way. You’re just a lightweight. Don’t talk to me that way. I’m the president of the United States. Don’t ever talk to the president that way.”

Mason shows restraint. My hat is off to him for that. It’s off to all members of the White House Press CorpsI would not be cut out for that role. My retort would have been, “Yes, Mr. Impeached Lame Duck President.”

On a final note, Trump’s gaslighting of America continues apace. During the above referenced presser behind the tiny desk, Trump answered another reporter who also asked if Trump would vacate the premises if President-elect Joe Biden was certified by the Electoral College. Trump responded dismissively, “Certainly I will”, adding, “but you know that.”

Actually it came out more like …

meme featuring image of Curly Howard of the Three Stooges with his signature comment, "Why Soitenly!"

Scarcely did a day pass since Trump’s assertion that he would voluntarily depart the White House on January 20, than he contradicted that statement entirely, with this absurdity:

“Biden can only enter the White House as President if he can prove that his ridiculous ‘80,000,000 votes’ were not fraudulently or illegally obtained. When you see what happened in Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia & Milwaukee, massive voter fraud, he’s got a big unsolvable problem!” Trump tweeted on Friday.

Not shocking anymore but still cringeworthy, was Trump’s puerile concern about whether someone other than himself might receive credit for the vaccines that may be distributed on a limited basis before year’s end. “Don’t let him (Biden) take credit for the vaccines,” Trump said, “because the vaccines were me, and I pushed people harder than they’ve ever been pushed before.”

No expressed concern for the tragic (and largely unavoidable) suffering and death, now on another upswing, just whether he can claim bragging rights about hounding vaccine manufacturers, which accurately speaking, subtracted not one day from the timeline of the delivery.

We also know that Trump has never devoted concentrated efforts or genuine hard work in the management of COVID-19. His priorities have been self aggrandisement, appeasing his political base and golfing.

So, as David Frost would famously say in the golden age of television, “That was the week that was.” Gird up your loins for the ones to come.

 – Richard Cameron

Editor’s Note: Credit for featured image goes to the cover art work from Daniel W. Drezner’s book, “The Toddler-In-Chief – What Donald Trump Teaches Us about the Modern Presidency.” University of Chicago Press.


cover image of National Compass' web based book, "Trump's Betrayal"

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Movie poster image of animated Christmas feature, "Klaus"

Klaus

Rated PG – rude humor and mild action

Now available on Netflix

Every holiday season sees the release of a glut of holiday-themed films. But every once in a while, one stands out from the rest. Klaus is one such film.

Netting Netflix’s first Oscar nomination (Best Animated Feature), Klaus tells the story, Jesper (Jason Schwartzman), the spoiled, loafer son of the head postman.

In an effort to set his son on the straight and narrow, Jesper is sent by his father to the far north fishing village of Smeerensburg to establish, in his words, “a working post office.”

While quick to discover that this world is far different than his plush life on the mainland, the reluctant postman works out a scheme between himself and a reclusive toymaker, Klaus (J.K. Simmons), and with the aid of the local schoolteacher, Alva (Rashida Jones), unwittingly creates Santa Claus.

Rarely do films take on the origin story of the man in the big red suit as creatively as director Sergio Pablos. He manages to infuse groundbreaking traditional animation, European folklore and great character and story development into something truly special.

The anchor of the film is the relationship between Jesper and Klaus. Without it, the story would not be as special as it is. Here, these tried and true backstories – a spoiled rich kid meets up with a reclusive loaner with a tragic past – takes on a deeper meaning as the story progresses.

A relationship that deepens further as Alva and the Sami people also become involved in Jesper and Klaus’ scheme.

Of course, no great story is without conflict. Smeerensburg is the center of the decades- long feud between the Ellingboe and Krum families, led by Will Sasso and Joan Cusack (in what is perhaps her best performance since the Toy Story franchise).

The tension boils over when the letters by Jesper and toys by Klaus start to put an end to this feud, with one selfless act sparking one selfless act after another between the younger Ellingboe/Krum members, slowly eliminating the fued.

The old woodsman’s phrase, “A true selfless act always sparks another,” becomes a sort of motto for Jasper, Klaus and, later, the Smeerensburg townsfolk.

There are few movies where the end brings tears to your eyes. The conclusion is simply one of the best in a film to date. It wraps up the multi-layered threads and stories, and brings a sense of hope that Klaus, Jesper, Alva, and the rest of the Smeerensburg clan will be just fine.

With its breathtaking animation, timeless message, and unforgettable characters, Klaus is a must watch this holiday season.

-Tiffany Elliott



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