Monday, May 6, 2019
Crown of thorns
Not even the Kentucky Derby is safe from His Trumpness's influence. He tweeted in Sunday that he thought the Derby had gone PC by disqualifying Maximum Security and awarding the race to Country House.
Trump has a way of injecting himself into any argument and making it political. This was the case when Arizona picked Kyler Murray number one in the NFL draft. Instead of congratulating the top choice, Trump gave his nod to second best Nick Bosa, a controversial defensive end out of Ohio St. who had deleted a great number of tweets supporting the president, as well as his views on Colin Kaepernick and other hot button issues.
It seems that Trump wants to make political correctness his top theme again this election cycle, railing against social media for cutting off his favorite white supremacists Alex Jones, Laura Loomer and Milo Yiannopoulos. He thinks they are all victims of a PC witch hunt and should be restored on twitter, facebook and instagram. It didn't matter that social media also pulled the plug on Louis Farrakhan and other extremists at the opposite end of the political spectrum. He chose to come to the defense of his buddy Alex, who has faced a ton of long-deserved public scrutiny this past year.
In the Age of Trump, anything can and often does become politicized. Lexi Thompson took a break from twitter after all the rage that was expressed on her page after posting a snapshot with Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh. The world's eighth-ranked women's golfer had been invited to play a round with Trump at Mar-a-Lago last month.
It used to be an honor to play golf with the President or go to the White House to be feted by the Commander-in-Chief. Today, not just individuals but entire teams turn down White House invitations because of their personal misgivings or the backlash they would get from their fans.
The Virginia Cavaliers recently said they will not celebrate their championship at the White House. Instead, Trump invited the NCAA women's champions, the Baylor Bears, who seemed quite guarded in their picture with the President. Baylor was the first major women's sports team to visit the Trump White House. Some women's teams declined, but most were never invited. Seems Trump prefers to hang out with the boys.
Then there is arts and culture, an area Trump has never shown much interest in. He got into quite a row his first year in office over Kennedy Center Honors. Norman Lear and other recipients threatened to boycott the event if Trump showed up, so the President quietly deferred. Trump wasn't as sure of himself then as he is now, otherwise he probably would have taken Norman Lear's challenge. Nevertheless, the President took a pass the second time around as well.
Trump has been more vocal about the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, which he intentionally missed for the third year in a row. He took quite a skewering from Michelle Wolf the first year of his presidency, for which Michelle received a torrent of abuse, not just from the President but the mainstream media as well, for her raunchy send up to the absent guest of honor, with surrogate Sarah Sanders caught in the crossfire.
To say that Trump has a thin skin is an understatement. The President has repeatedly called for an end to the WHCD, a tradition that stretches back to the time of Calvin Coolidge. This year, he demanded that no one from his White House attend the event, essentially issuing his own boycott. Instead, he held a rally in Green Bay, where his main topic was all the abuse he gets in the "fake news."
He's been particularly peeved with twitter, which flushed quite a few of his followers recently. He personally called Jack Dorsey into the Oval Office to address the matter. It turns out many of his "followers" are bots or other suspicious accounts. It was part of a spring cleaning that Twitter and other social media sites undertook in an effort to curb influence peddling on their platforms. Apparently what galled Trump most is that he lags far behind Obama in followers, who has nearly double his audience on Twitter. Losing any followers is a big blow to Trump's ego.
All this points to a very insecure President who has far too much time on his hands, leading political pundits to ponder who is minding the White House when he goes off on one of his twitter rampages. Trump was galled that the National Firefighters Union had the audacity to endorse Joe Biden, complaining that no president or man has done more for firefighters than he has done. Some guy named Dan Bongino tried to offer succor to the President by claiming that no firefighter he knows is supporting Biden. I thought Mr. Bongo might be a former firefighter, but turns out he is an ex-secret service agent who peddles conspiracy theories not much unlike that of Alex Jones.
Suffice it to say, we have never had a President so concerned with this social media profile and his standing in the public eye. What had once been simple affairs like inviting a sports champion to the White House or honoring an outstanding culture figure have turned into political flashpoints for the President.
Inviting the Clemson football team to the White House during the government shutdown was yet another show of his callousness toward a very real situation. He would rather fete a football team with McDonalds than reopen government so that federal employees, including his own White House kitchen staff, can get back to work. He turned the event into a bully pulpit for his own political grandstanding. Not only does he have incredibly bad taste and no regard for nutrition, he showed yet again how hopelessly out of touch he is with current events.
Trump has no real interest in sports other than as a commodity. This was the case with his failed attempt to take over the USFL back in the 80s, as well as subsequent attempts to buy the Buffalo Bills and other sports teams. The only sport he appears to have any genuine interest in is golf, but even here he treats it as a commodity, buying up a score of golf courses around the world and wooing the PGA to use his venues for their tournaments.
He had no horse in the race at the Kentucky Derby, or any real interest in the NFL draft. He seized on the controversies as a means of playing to his political base. It is doubtful his diminishing following has any interest in either event beyond the friendly bet, which in this case would have made Country House the fan favorite.
If anything, what happened to Maximum Security is emblematic of what happened to his arch-nemesis Hillary Clinton. The horse was trying to protect its lead over the feisty challenger and got called out for it. What appeared to be a sure win ended in an ignoble loss, with the long shot taking home the roses. Trump can't even get the Kentucky Derby right!