Writing about Donald Trump is a lot like gazing at the ceaseless tides of the ocean lapping against the beach, if the beach were strewn with garbage and discarded condoms and the waters themselves were mostly mucus-clogged spit. That is: Donald Trump does so many utterly crazed, despicable, disgusting things, and he does them so quickly, that it’s hard to keep track. By way of example, let’s talk about the last 24 hours of Trump’s life.
Trump possesses a short-fingered man’s innate anger and resentfulness, a defensive need to lash out at every human being he thinks might have wronged him, or is thinking of wronging him (or whom he just doesn’t like because of something reasonable like their religion). He also doesn’t possess a politician’s usual sensitivity to public opinion, or a normal human being’s sense of personal shame. That means we don’t go through the usual apology cycle that characterizes most public figures and their missteps: You fuck up, you refuse to say you’re sorry, you eventually say you’re sorry, you try to move the public’s eyes towards something else.
Instead of doing any of that, Trump has taken an entirely different approach: he does something that would be career-ending for any normal person and then just moves on, jeering and attacking and denying and lying his way out of it until everyone gets tired or distracted by the next terrible thing he’s done.
In the past day, he has:
- Continued insulting the Khan family, whose son, Army Captain Humayun Khan, died in 2004 in Iraq. (A top Trump adviser, noted racist Roger Stone, doubled down by suggesting falsely that Captain Khan’s father Khizr is an agent of the Muslim brotherhood.)
- Suggested that if his daughter were sexually harassed at work, he’d tell her to just quit, implying that women who get harassed in the workplace bring it on themselves.
- Accused two different fire marshals of having “political reasons” for not letting his campaign cram thousands of extra people into a room.
- Called Hillary Clinton “the Devil.”
- Claimed the election will be rigged against him.
- Posed with a bizarre rictus of a smile next to a bucket of KFC, which wasn’t insane or offensive so much as it was just kind of weird-looking.
- Joked at a rally, upon being gifted a Purple Heart, that it was “much easier” to do that than to earn one. Purple Hearts are awarded to soldiers wounded in combat. Trump was a draft dodger.
- Kicked a baby out of a campaign rally.
- Refused to endorse Paul Ryan or John McCain, because both men publicly struggled with the decision to endorse him before eventually doing so. “I’m just not there yet,” Trump said, echoing something Ryan said months ago. It proved that while Trump may not know much about Crimea, he will remember every single slight that has ever befallen him forever.
- In that vein, he entirely fritzed out when President Obama suggested that Republicans should retract their endorsements of him. He sent out a furious tweet or two:
Followed by an enraged statement that begins with a criticism of President Obama, segues at some point into a criticism of Hillary Clinton, and blaming both of them for creating ISIS. Here’s just the first paragraph:
“Obama-Clinton have single-handedly destabilized the Middle East, handed Iraq, Libya and Syria to ISIS, and allowed our personnel to be slaughtered at Benghazi. Then they put Iran on the path to nuclear weapons. Then they allowed dozens of veterans to die waiting for medical care that never came.”
- Also, he apparently found time to sign an anti-porn pledge.
Is that it? Have I even remembered them all? How is it even possible for one man to have this many hours in the day, and yet so many ways to misuse them?