Every day there’s something on the television screen that you’ve never seen before. Something that you want to capture for your own historical record. The departure of Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States, has produced many. More than any other president in the history of the country, to borrow a phrase from Mr. Trump.
Here are a few of the shots I grabbed my camera for. They are just from the past ten days. Only one more day, and he’s gone. But I think there will still be newsworthy, even historic, images on our tv screens for quite a while to come. He may be going, but I doubt he’ll quietly retreat.
But I gave up predicting what Trump might do a long time ago. Soon into his term, I didn’t think he’d make the full four years. He’d quit – bored by all the work people expected him to do. Be impeached – for just about anything he was doing. He was impeached, but his fellow party members made sure it didn’t come to anything. The 25th Amendment. A military coup to take power away from a madman. I actually saw that as an option preferable to him remaining as president!
A Teflon Horseshoe
None of those things happened. He’s got a horseshoe – the luckiest horseshoe ever – firmly up there somewhere. The Teflon President, Ronald Reagan, has nothing on The Donald.
Trump has often been compared to Richard Nixon, the last president before him to be impeached for political chicanery. But Matt Tynhauer, director of The Reagans, compares Trump to Ronald Reagan. It is a compelling argument, in terms of the two men’s media styles, their responses to domestic crises. and the international political havoc they wrought. Also in their long-term effect in moving to Republican Party to the right, the evangelical, and the lunatics. Reagan gave voice to the Moral Majority, which led to the Tea Party, which led to – well, a siege of Capital Hill by Trump supporters.
I will miss Donald Trump, though. Living in a Biden presidency, I think, will be like being back with Dad after a wild weekend with crazy Uncle Donny. You never knew from one minute to the next, with Trump, what would be headlined in the news. “He did what?” was a phrase often heard in our household. Sometimes whatever it was made us laugh ’til we cried. Other times, we just cried, or got really angry. Four years of watching a nation unravel.
I will also miss the First Lady. Melania, we hardly got to know you! Her clothes spoke for her mainly. Fitting, I guess, for a model. But what messages they so often gave! Where were the handlers, the image managers?
Sometimes, though, Melania herself speaks. Maybe best of all was her heal-the-nation statement following the attack on Congress. After expressing her disappointment that people had been mean to her, she wrote:
“It is inspiring to see that so many have found a passion and enthusiasm in participating in an election, but we must not allow that passion to turn to violence.”
I hope this sentence is put on a plaque and displayed prominently in the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library. Right above a picture of QAnon Shaman sitting in the Vice-President’s Senate seat. Or the mob beating a guard with a flagpole, American flag still affixed. It’s like Participaction endorsing dine-and-dash: Eat healthy and get your exercise!
And a park!
The Trump legacy will maybe best be found in a New York park. The Donald J. Trump State Park in Westchester and Putnam Counties. He donated the 486 acres to the state after being unable to turn it into a golf course. He got a substantial tax deduction for doing so. It hasn’t been developed as a park either. It is vacant land. There is, apparently, lots of road signage for it, but nothing there. That’s beautifully emblematic of Donald Trump. And it’s likely the only land that Donald Trump has ever protected. For both those reasons, I think the state of New York should leave it exactly as it is, both the land and its name.
Goodbye, Trump family. We’ll never forget you. And don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
and also see…
- From way back in the early Trumpian era, here’s my First Hundred Hours, when I couldn’t really imagine that it could get much worse.