If Donald Trump were to confine his wee-hours tweets to honest, accurate commentary, we’d read something like this: “buk buk bwaaawk!”
Yes, the “leader” of the Free World is a chicken. The White House staff knows it’s time to wake up and smell the excrement when the Oval Office Rooster crows.
The Coward-in-Chief is a lily-livered, fear-ridden bully who now enjoys the ultimate bully pulpit.
We knew Trump was a pathetic, pompous poseur when his primary public persona coalesced around dodging responsibility for a series of ruinous bankruptcies, and denying each new addition to his even longer sequence of sordid extramarital affairs.
Am I the only one who has trouble keeping track of his wives and heirs? Melanka, is it? Ivania? Shucks, I lost count of his mistresses back when his latest previous best friend forever, or one of his many lawyers, leaked details of his menage-a-quatre with Itchy, Scratchy, and Scabby (aka the Bargain Sisters).
The generic bully is a coward who flees a real fight. He relies on menacing words and aggressive postures, grunting and snorting threats of violence to intimidate his rivals. Like an over-the-hill chimpanzee. So long as none dare confront him nose-to-nose, bullying will remain his tactic of choice for conducting social discourse.
In this context, some comments from the Prince of Orange.
If someone at a Trump rally looks like he’s “getting ready to throw a tomato, just knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, just knock the hell — I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.” And the Mexicans will pay for the wall.
After a conservative legislator was convicted of assaulting a member of the press corps, Trump exalted, “Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my guy.” It’s not like Trump could carry out a body slam himself — those heel spurs still bother him a lot — so yes, he’d have to pay a guy to do it for him. Wouldn’t be the first time.
T laments the “problem” that “nobody wants to hurt each other any more.” Well, quite a few people do want to hurt other people, and do so with dismaying frequency and lethality. Apparently Trump’s plan is working.
“I’d like to punch him in the face.” The brave little president didn’t actually punch anyone, of course, but boy did he want to!
The cowardly bully assaults his victims with insults, not fists. Trump obsessively resorts to terms like “horse-face” Stormy Daniels, “Lyin’ Ted,” “Crooked Hillary.” Certain “deplorables” (also a pejorative, but at least an articulate one) uncritically incorporate those labels into their distorted world-view.
Trump’s exploitation of the reality-show fad targeted “contestants” who couldn’t fight back, enabling him to display his total control of both the situation and the lesser beings over whom he reigned.
But a bully reflexively fears genuinely powerful people, people who can’t be bullied, who will bully right back. Publicly confronting them could unmask Trump’s inadequacies, depriving him of the ability to spin his failures prior to public scrutiny.
T insisted a meeting with Putin convene behind closed doors, no witnesses other than a Russian translator. No cameras or scribes. Later, Trump could boast to the waiting world how incredibly tough he was with Putin. Skewered the Russki with his steely gaze! Putin trembled, begged for mercy, and halted all the election tampering which might or might not have happened.
Outcomes suggest that the only concessions came from Trump. Likewise the similar “summit” with Kim the Un. Kim and Putin got what they wanted because Trump believed there was no risk his private groveling would see the light of day.
A bully’s tough talk compensates for his deep sense of insecurity and inferiority. Surrounded by people who are his moral and intellectual superiors, he senses that a real-time dialogue would reveal his shortcomings in all their impotent glory. So the bully uses surrogates to confront scary situations. He sends “his” soldiers to fake a patina of credibility for the contrived “national security” crisis posed by a ragtag band of impoverished refugees at the border.
Trump tries to surround himself with obsequious drones who fawn over his self-professed mastery of people and events. Sometimes he slips up.
Trump complained that had he known Jeff Sessions would recuse himself from the Special Counsel’s investigation (rendering the AG unavailable to serve as Trump’s agent provocateur within the DOJ), he’d have chosen someone else for the job. But when Sessions didn’t bend over to kiss his — ring — Trump needed a politically palatable way to discard him.
So he employed another weapon from the bully’s arsenal, passive-aggressive sniping. Sessions is a scurrilous ideologue, but nonetheless competent. Constantly illuminated by the public spotlight, Sessions could reveal Trump as a dotard if they engaged in a public face-off or face-down. A straightforward “you’re fired!” could create political liabilities; Trump figured it should be postponed until after mid-terms if possible. Meanwhile, he played the Bully Card, disparaging Sessions via tweeted innuendo, working to subvert his credibility, setting him up for a fall.
Hiding behind derisive tweets when firing high-ranking colleagues betrays a gutless lack of basic decency — cowardice, in a word.
Most of the world sees through Trump’s charade (OK, not the Poles), recognizing that American power and prestige are now serving the selfish interests of a coward and a bully. Can we ever Make America Good Again?
Jon Hauxwell, MD, is a retired family physician who grew up in Stockton
and lives outside Hays.