Donald Trump’s admiration of the world’s despots has never been much of a secret. Even as he was running in 2016 we heard stories of his emulation of Saddam Hussein, who occupied ten separate palaces while his people lived in poverty and oppression, or how he kept a book of Hitler’s speeches by his nightstand.
Trump wishes he could rule with the impunity of his counterparts in North Korea or Russia, but because he can’t just yet, he’s willing to play the part as much as he can. That’s why tomorrow’s “Salute to America” with a fighter jet flyover and army tanks on Washington Mall is such an important event – one he’s surely been planning since his inauguration.
One thing that the parade and his inauguration are likely to have in common, if nothing else, is a staggeringly low degree of attendance. Hoping to make sure there’s enough people occupying the preferred seats at the event, the RNC is giving out VIP passes to donors, while the White House is letting its own staffers draw up to ten tickets in a lottery. It doesn’t exactly seem like they’re counting on a huge crowd with that many tickets to go around.
The staff seems to be going to these lengths to avoid whatever tantrum Trump is likely to throw when he gets a taste of how unpopular he actually is. He may not be particularly happy if he finds out that multiple TV networks have decided not to air the event. There is also a good chance that the number of protestors may outnumber actual attendees. One veterans’ group intends to hand out t-shirts honoring John McCain, while the Trump baby blimp is permitted to be at the Lincoln Memorial, with Trump baby balloons for sale.
Donald Trump may be facing a multiplying number of scandals. But his reaction to this event and its poor attendance and coverage is likely to take precedence in his mind over most of them, if not all of them – and it’s a headache his staff is hoping to avoid.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making