You Can’t Get There From Here

David Roth is on fire. Writing for The Concourse, he eviscerates Donald Trump with such eloquent words I wanted to immediately read it again after finishing it. His last three paragraphs deliver the coup de grâce.

Trump is so relentlessly dishonest and so plainly diminished and so sorely overmatched that, at this point, he can only be taken at his word. This isn’t to say that you should believe what he’s saying, although you surely don’t need me to tell you that. It just means that what he does, from here until whenever his helicopter leaves the White House lawn for the last time, will never be anything but what it appears to be.

If he appears to be confronting an emerging truth that makes him look bad with a flailing childish insistence that Actually The Opposite Is True, it’s because he is. If it looks like he’s numbly ventriloquizing the rancid words of one of the aspiring genocidaires tasked with writing his more high-flown addresses, it’s because he is. If it appears that he is taking some cruel promise made idly at some point in the past and then spinning stupid stories to justify seeing that promise through, it’s because that is just what he’s doing. Trump repeats the same five or six phrases like a defective Teddy Ruxpin not because he’s trying to brainwash or brand but because he can only hold like 175 words in his head at one time and is just kind of mushing the button that seems most appropriate for the situation over and over again. There will be no new work done until he’s out of this job, not just because the venal and idiotic criminality that has defined his life belatedly appears to be catching up with him but because it simply isn’t in him to do new work, and because his current job transparently doesn’t matter to him at all. He’ll believe that he’s getting away with it—that he’s winning and commanding and leading—until the cuffs close or the lights go out, and he will always act that way. He will spend the rest of his life trying to demonstrate that he was right about whatever it was that he said or did before.

There is no reason to overthink any of this. Trump himself surely is not. He will not fix any of it, of course; that’s not what he does. Instead he will just say that it is not broken, or already fixed, or that it was always supposed to be that way, or that someone else did it. Nothing will ever matter more to him than that work, and yet he’ll never work any harder at it than he is right now. When the time comes to stand and deliver, he will extrude the first trembling clot to clear his platinum-plated cloaca, and then he’ll point at it. When something else lands on top, he will point at that. That’s mine, he will say, I made that. And then, sometime later, he will say someone really made a mess.

January 26, 2019


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