This is what Donald Trump had to say (in part) to Fox News creep Brian Kilmeade: “The election was rigged by local Democrats, by state Democrats. They outsmarted State Republicans. Do you know what I do… I [run] a country and we ran it great. I did more than any other president. Then I had to campaign. We had the greatest campaign in history. We had the biggest crowds anyone’s ever had. I did 56 rallies with a number of people [that] were incredible okay, incredible, record-setting. And then I go home and I watch the television to see how we are doing and by 10:30 it was over. We won. I got calls from everybody, pros, people you know very well, saying congratulations. I say let’s not go so fast, I don’t trust these machines and a lot of bad things happen with these people. And in essentially five or six states the local people who run it rigged the election.”
My apologies for that Trump screed. I know, it was only 147 words, but it seemed longer. But my point was not to bore you with Trump’s rant, my point was not the content of the rant’s character but the character of the rant’s content. Somebody, anybody, tell me by now you couldn’t have written the above paragraph yourself. Word for word. You could have written it easily. If you have spent the last four years listening to Trump, then you can’t tell me that you couldn’t have written the above paragraph yourself — and convinced most people it came from Trump.
I have spent the last two and a half years criticizing Donald Trump here in the pages of the Palmer Report. But one area I have not emphasized, or at least I haven’t mentioned much, is how tediously unoriginal and predictable Trump is. He is so predictable that most of us already know what he’s going to say before he says it. We already know what words and and phrases he’s got in his limited repertoire (“incredible,” “strongly,” “disgraceful,” “tremendous,” “a lot of people are saying,” “nobody’s ever heard of,” “we had the greatest campaign in history,” “a lot of people called me and said,” etc.). Any of those words or phrases could be recruited to create a Trumpian rant on any subject. We’ve all heard it, over and over and over.
This is a man who’s spent the last four years telling us how great he is, how perfect, how he’s the best president America has ever had, and how awful and corrupt and dishonest everyone who doesn’t agree with him is, using some of the most staggeringly unoriginal language possible. Between rounds of golf he’s tweeted it, he’s repeated it by phone to Fox and Friends, he’s said it in interviews, in rallies, in gaggles, at ceremonies. It’s what he says just about every time he goes off script in the course of one of his rare formal speeches. Trump’s presidency has been one long, tedious, predictable, limited, unoriginal, graceless and classless commercial for himself. To find an ego bigger or a need for praise more bottomless than Trump’s I would refer you to the Old Testament. To find an example in history more repetitive or unoriginal I can only send you to Trump himself. He is unique in his quality of simple dullness.
And it’s all so predictable. Trump never says anything that we don’t know already. He only shocks us when he says these things in contradiction to overwhelming evidence contradicting what he’s telling us. No amount of evidence seems to make the slightest difference to him. It doesn’t seem to matter how obviously wrong he is. The script never really changes. The same words are used and they always say pretty much the same things.
The reason we can’t write scripts in advance for other presidents as handily as we can for Trump is because, for the most part, past presidents spoke extemporaneously about events and situations. Trump never speaks extemporaneously. Everything he says has a preset agenda, and that agenda is his glory, his greatness, his wonderful achievements, and the awful, corrupt and stupid people who say otherwise. The salient facts of the subject at hand — coronavirus, racial strife, the economy, China, Russia, North Korea — are incidental to the true purpose. Trump is in the White House to feed the monster that is his ego and to line his pockets. That’s all. He loves money, he loves himself, and he can’t bear to give it all up.
Above all, Trump is tedious. He’s not entertaining. He’s boring, predictable and he’s made completely irrelevant with his obsession about himself. For that reason alone I can’t wait to see him gone.
There are a million reasons why Donald Trump is unfit to be president of the United States, this has been another one. Soon we will be returned to the normality of a President who will respond to the needs of the American people with compassion and originality, not the tedious agenda of useless self-glorification. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.