If you want to understand the current state of the Republican Party, take a look at Donald Trump’s and George W. Bush’s Christmas cards this year. Rather than simply express well wishes and holiday cheer, these two cards together portray a failed political party that is hopelessly circling the drain.
At first glance, Trump’s holiday greeting seems innocent enough. It’s a simple “Merry Christmas from President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump” message along with a photo identified as the “official 2020 Christmas portrait,” purportedly taken on December 10. The problem is many people have noticed something curious about the photo since Melania tweeted it last Friday.
While Melania’s image may be real, Trump’s image looks photoshopped. Several people have pointed out the uncanny similarity between a photo of Trump taken last year with Prince Charles and Camilla Bowles with this new one. Plus, a shadow effect around Trump’s body doesn’t appear realistic given the lighting, and the lack of contact between Trump’s arm and Melania’s jacket is suspicious.
If Trump’s image was faked, is it because Trump was too lazy to throw on a tux, too grumpy about his election defeat to smile, or too busy playing golf while devising ways to take America down with him to be bothered with some holiday tradition? The Trumps passed on taking an official holiday portrait last year, so recycling an old photo might have been a weird compromise to ensure something got done this year. After four years of this lazy, hypocritical, phony presidency, none of this would be at all surprising.
Bush’s Christmas card features an original painting of the Statue of Liberty from a series he painted this year celebrating immigration, according to a report from CNN, which obtained a copy. The message inside reads, “May the light of the holiday season shine bright in your heart now and throughout the New Year.” The problem with Bush’s card isn’t the sentiment, which is a veiled swipe at Trump, but what it underscores about the messenger.
Despite a New York Times report in June that Bush was not supporting Trump’s reelection, he has refused to take a public stand. Bush has denounced bigotry, lies, and conspiracy theories but painstakingly avoided uttering Trump’s name. Even as Trump has been destroying America and transforming Bush’s beloved Republican Party into a fascist cult, Bush has sheepishly hidden behind a tradition of not criticizing successors. Bush’s card serves as yet another reminder of his cowardice and fecklessness.
Since the turn of this century, the Republican Party has offered up a one-two punch against American leadership and ideals in the form of Bush and Trump. On January 20, Democratic President Biden will take over, which means that healing, unity, and progress can finally resume. Next year, when we say that Bush and Trump were the last two Republican Presidents of the United States, it needs to mean that they were the very last. America cannot afford another.