Last night twitter was awash with jokes about the room-temperature fast food buffet spread at a reception the White House held for the Clemson Tigers, the winners of the College Football Playoff National Championship.
To be fair, OMG WHAT THE FUCK.
The image is so jarring. The White House. The Lincoln portrait. Trump with his pained smile. Grimace? Smimace? Grile. The jazz hands. The hamburgers. Piles and piles of hamburgers swaddled in their printed paper.
Our brains do a funny thing– when we see things that are surprising and jarring, we often laugh. That’s where you get the concept of Schadenfreude. For whatever reason, one of our deepest human instincts is to laugh when someone falls.
But at the same time, the more we draw out the laughs, the less funny it gets. The more we try and make jokes about how déclassé it is to serve a cold, stale smorgasbord to award-winning athletes, the more we bypass the true meaning.
The real meaning is: Trump is proud.
For all his “plaster everything with gold leaf” style, we know that he prefers fast food and Diet Coke. He is probably over the moon that his five-star chef is not around to produce regular White House fare.
This is Trump without a babysitter. Finally, he gets to have his way.
And if there’s a better metaphor for his aims in office, I don’t know one.
The shutdown isn’t a bug. It’s a feature.
Almost at the midway point of the Trump presidency, the administration has a much higher than normal number of key vacancies– positions that haven’t been filled or where no one has even been nominated. This includes ambassadorships
Yet the administration has been filling Federal Circuit Court judgeships at a steep clip. So it’s almost as if… wait for it… the administration has priorities that are less about governing and fully functioning, and more about ideological purity.
The shutdown is Trump’s absolute happy place. He’s got absolute power (oh how he loves looking strong), he’s got fewer people telling him what he can and cannot do, and so far, Mitch McConnell (surprise surprise) and the Republicans in the Senate area refusing to do a damn thing about it.
We’re now past the threshold where this is the longest government shutdown in history. And Trump is having the time of his life. He gets all of the attention, he alone is responsible for whether it continues or ends, and it allows him to display his dominance, while delivering absolutely nothing, and people suffer.
This may be how his presidency ends– with him passing out in a breath-holding contest. Unfortunately, the breath he’s holding is also ours.