You know, I have to hand it to Trump in one respect. He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. Trump once famously remarked that “all press is good press.” Like most normal people, I thought that the increasing deluge of negative press coverage of his personal and political miscues would have disabused him of that notion. Instead, it has only reaffirmed his position in his own mind.
When most people act out for attention, they’re doing it for one of two reasons. Either they’re trying to gain approval and validation for their actions, or they’re crying out for help. Trump is doing neither. Whether people are praising him or ridiculing him is unimportant, they are talking about him, and that is all that matters. Remember, this is a guy who used to call the New York tabloids, impersonating his non existent public relations guy, bragging about his extramarital infidelities trying to get the press to write about them. The public reaction wasn’t the important thing, the fact that he was being talked about was critical.
The current Rob Porter scandal is a perfect example. This should have a one-and-done news cycle. Douche bag physically abuses his two wives. Douche bag gets caught and called out on it. Douche bag either resigns or is fired, with the requisite White House condemnation. End of story. But not this time.
Look at the coverage. Tuesday and Wednesday focused almost solely on Porter and the allegations. Thursday the issue started to shift to speculation of John Kelly and his possible mismanagement of the scandal. But then, on Friday, Trumpenstein started tweeting and spouting like an Orca coming up for air, and suddenly he was the center of coverage on the issue. It takes a true narcissist to find a way to make a story about some asshole in a hat clocking his wife secondary to Trump’s reaction to it. And yes, Trump is supremely pissed at John Kelly right now, not for Kelly’s botching of the scandal, but because the way Kelly botched it is getting him almost as much attention as Tweetledumb himself, which is intolerable.
And it’s only going to get worse. Axios is reporting that the Trump strategy for 2018 is already coming into clearer focus. While the GOP in general desperately tries to extol the virtues of their Daddy Warbucks lovefest tax giveaway, Trump himself is going to be carefully scanning the headlines of Fox and Friends, Infowars, Breitbart, and the Drudge Report for any and all social issues he can exploit to rev up his base to show up in November and vote red.Trump is going to pound the living daylights out of his tax plan, economic growth, and his Herculean struggle to “build that wall!” Trump is also going to be homing in on raw social issues that will jack up his base, things like slamming NFL players for kneeling in protest for the national anthem.This is the kind of finely crafted messaging we can look forward to hearing from the White House this year.
OK, I must be losing my edge as my impending senility approaches, but to me this is the stupidest plan since idjits thought they could survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel by stuffing the damn thing with pillows. In losing the popular vote by three million souls who graduated daycare, Trump topped out at 45%. Since then, all of the what-the-hell-let’s-give-him-a-shot fools have bailed for the hills,leaving him under 40%. Have you seen any GOP congresscritters coming out of the woodwork to back Trump up on the Porter cock up? While they would love to hold Trump’s 39%, they also don’t want to drive the other 61% forever away from them. So, they’re keeping their heads down, and their mouths shut, just praying that His Lowness won’t notice them and tweet them into a primary from the far right. Without Trump personally on the ballot, I’m not sure that him castigating uppity black football players disrespect to the flag will drag them away from monster truck rally reruns on a Tuesday afternoon in November. And if Paul Ryan’s constituent is anything to go by, a whopping $1.50 a week may not be enough to convince people to go out into the cold November rain to vote for more pennies from Heaven either.
So, buckle up, this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better, it’s going to be extreme stupid time. From now until November, Trump is going to latch onto any even minimally divisive issue he can find, to gin up emotions in his brain dead base, and also to bask in the glory of the attention. After all, the attention is really the only thing that matters here. SAD!
A note from the author: If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy my e-book, President Evil: A common man looks at Trump and the 2016 GOP primaries.