There he was, bloviating mechanically, swivelling left and then right like some sort of animatronic prop as he read from the teleprompter, stumbling occasionally.
No, not him. Similar, but with added theatrical arm-waving, leavened by that insufferable thumb-and-forefinger gesture. And his trade-mark “believe me”.
Eight months into his presidency, we’re so used to the nonsense that blasts like water out of Trump’s fire hose yip that it’s an effort to work up any more shock or outrage. One comes to accept that Donald is a profoundly ignorant and rather imbecilic character, with his ugly, cretinous tweets, his insults, his gaffes, his unabashed flaunting of just how little he knows (usually before bragging about how fully he understands). We’re all numb. Dead inside. Thus, when he spews out a petulant “Nyah-nyah” tweet about how North Koreans are now suffering in long gas lines – who but Donald could think that the DPRK hosts hordes of gas-hungry private autos? – nobody even does a spit take. We just don’t have the energy. His dirty dealings with Russia, his corrupt profiteering from his office, his obvious determination to undo everything Obama accomplished, his embrace of frigging Nazis, it’s all too much. We’re saturated. You can only soak a sponge so much.
I’m wondering whether we can even be jolted out of our Trump torpor by sheer terror.
After his UN speech, I guess we’ll see. Before Trump’s address, many were hoping he’d read something relatively sane that his Generals had cooked up, much as he did when announcing his “new” policy on Afghanistan, but nope, we got 100% pure Grade A Donald, mouthing a travesty penned by Stephen Miller. Yes, this guy:
You might remember this dim-bulb Bannon disciple from his incandescent appearances on all the chat shows a couple of months ago, defending the Muslim ban, back when we still had the strength to worry about mere xenophobic racism. You know, the sneering fish-faced 30-something punk who more or less claimed that Trump’s power was infinite and unconstrained, as we’d all soon see.
Given its provenance, the speech was bound to be laced with malodorous horse-huckey like this:
Fortunately, the United States has done very well since Election Day last November 8. The stock market is at an all-time high, a record. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 16 years, and because of our regulatory and other reforms, we have more people working in the United States today than ever before. Companies are moving back, creating job growth, the likes of which our country has not seen in a very long time, and it has just been announced that we will be spending almost $700 billion on our military and defence. Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been.
“Geez I’m doing a bang-up job, am I right?” Of course, no companies are actually moving back, and to date he’s simply been dining at the economic buffet that Obama set out for him, but whatever. He’s great.
The United States and our allies are working together throughout the Middle East to crush the loser terrorists and stop the reemergence of safe havens they use to launch attacks on all of our people.
The “loser terrorists”. Oh, snap!
That’s not what was terrifying, though. We expect him to brag and be juvenile. What really ought to wake us back the hell up was this:
The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it. Believe me.
Tear up the Iran deal? To what end? So Iran can go nuclear after all? Does he expect the co-signatories of that deal in Russia and the EU to follow him down this reckless goat path? Does he know that his pal Netanyahu has vowed to strike if Iran attempts to revive its nuclear program, a move that might set off the whole tinderbox? Or is that the whole idea?
And that was the less frightening part of the speech. Look:
The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.
Yup. Standing there at the UN of all places, Trump threatened to eradicate an entire nation, and all of its 20-25 million citizens. He can only have meant to propose a massive nuclear attack – that’s the only way to wipe whole countries off the map. Sure, only if the US is “forced to defend itself or its allies”, and this isn’t the first time that the US has promised massive retaliation to a would-be foe, but in diplomatic speak, “forced to defend itself” seems deliberately vague. Vague enough to embrace pre-emptive action. Vague enough, certainly, to fulfill all the worst paranoid expectations of the roly poly little tyrant on the other side of the Pacific. To that end, throwing in the “Rocket Man” moniker was a nice touch. Why not? It worked with Lyin’ Ted and Crooked Hillary.
I wonder how that played in South Korea? Donald might have some idea, if he’d bothered to post an ambassador in Seoul, but of course he just hates all that State Department shit.
This kind of rhetoric might play well with the wrestling and monster truck fans that compose his base, but it would have been shocking even if uttered at one of his Nuremburg-like political ralleys. To say it in the UN General Assembly – I mean – Christ – no, really? He said that?
So OK, if you’re Kim Jong-Un, what do you do now? Even supposing you’re not paranoid and mesmerized by your own propaganda and cult of personality? Sit on your hands? Smile quietly to yourself, thinking “That’s our Donnie!”? I know what I’d do. Build lots and lots of really powerful warheads to go on top of scads and scads of really long-range ballistic missiles. Lots and lots.
This is getting more real by the hour. I’m guessing Chief of Staff Kelly was more than merely embarrassed when he reacted this way to the torrent of Trump-crap:
Time to pack it in, General. You’re not achieving anything. He can’t be controlled, or even moderated.
It’s hard to escape the feeling that Trump doesn’t actually grasp what he’s saying, that he’s just a five-year old blundering around the front lawn with the gun he found in Daddy’s night stand. Unfortunately, Dad left the safety off. If it would do any good at this point to dig a hole and stock it with canned food and bottled water, I’d be the first to tell you to get on with it, but it wouldn’t, so you may as well just buy a bottle of nice Scotch and wait to toast the incoming. Actually, buy a couple of bottles – may as well get a head start.
Pity that I’m on the wagon these days.