What Defeat Sounds Like: A Hapless Trump Flails After Crushing Week

This was an objectively disastrous week for the White House, capped off on Friday by two of the more grievous body blows yet to an administration that was already on the ropes.

The bad press around the shutdown went into overdrive as tales of federal workers lining up for “free hot meals” conjured memories of the Great Depression just a month after the worst December for US stocks since, well, since that same Great Depression.

As furloughed workers stared down the prospect of a second missed paycheck, Trump dispatched another elderly billionaire, in Wilbur Ross, to do some damage control on CNBC. That quickly devolved into a God-awful PR debacle, when Wilbur said this on national television:

I know they are [going to homeless shelters] and I don’t really quite understand why because as I mentioned before, the obligations that they would undertake — say borrowing from a bank or credit union — are in effect federally guaranteed.

Meanwhile, air traffic started to grind to a halt as a shortage of air traffic controllers triggered flight delays, a rather poignant sign that the dominos were starting to tip for an economy that Kevin Hassett warned could flatline in the first quarter if the shutdown wasn’t resolved.

On Friday morning, Trump woke up to news that heavily-armed FBI agents had arrested longtime associate Roger Stone. The indictment read like a the script of a mob movie – literally – and featured the word “Trump” 29 times.

Hours later, a visibly dejected Trump strode out into the Rose Garden and folded to Nancy Pelosi, reopening the government with exactly zero dollars earmarked for his wall. Right-wing hardliners went nuts in fits of (feigned) incredulity. “Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States”, Ann Coulter tweeted.

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Given all of that, it comes as no surprise that Trump spent Saturday morning ranting on Twitter about caravans and FBI conspiracies.

“If Roger Stone was indicted for lying to Congress, what about the lying done by Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Lisa Page & lover, Baker and soooo many others?”, Trump shriek-asked before rolling out the Hillary “deleted Emails” schtick and screaming about “Wiener’s laptop” and “much more!”

At this juncture, the whataboutism is probably coming across as desperate even to Trump’s base. The problem with whataboutism is that it’s inherently illogical (ex: if I steal a TV from your house, it makes no sense for me to tell the judge that I should be forgiven because other people have stolen TVs before) and therefore needs to be wielded strategically, not by a raving moron rage-tweeting from his bedroom on Saturday morning.

On the wall, Trump went ahead and promised to build it anyway, despite the fact that Friday was stone, cold proof that it is out of the question. Here he is:

21 days goes very quickly. Negotiations with Democrats will start immediately. Will not be easy to make a deal, both parties very dug in. The case for National Security has been greatly enhanced by what has been happening at the Border & through dialogue. We will build the Wall!

No, you won’t. But “yes”, both sides are “very dug in”, which means Trump’s “side” won’t be “digging” any post-holes for any fences.

He then decided it would be a good idea to post a video expounding on the merits of walls, complete with some old rancher crawling under a barbed wire fence at the end. This is beyond parody:

That wasn’t all. Trump also tried to reconcile the notion that the US is already successfully fending off caravan “invasions” without a wall with the idea that we in fact need a wall to repel caravans. Again, this is beyond parody, but it’s worth printing because it helps illustrate a point we’ve been keen on making for a while now about the extent to which, in his desperation, Trump has become a caricature of himself, which is really saying something considering he was already a cartoon when he assumed the presidency:

We have turned away, at great expense, two major Caravans, but a big one has now formed and is coming. At least 8000 people! If we had a powerful Wall, they wouldn’t even try to make the long and dangerous journey. Build the Wall and Crime will Fall!

As you can see, he’s really doubling and tripling down on his new slogan, but it’s by no means clear that “Build the Wall and Crime will Fall!” is going to catch on the way some of the “greatest hits” from his campaign did. One is reminded of an entertainer who continues to put out new music in an endless quest to make another hit single years after their last chart-topper.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Trump has stopped playing one of his old “hits”. We’ve spent a ton of time in these pages documenting the rise and fall of the “how’s your 401(k)?” slogan. Recall when (and also where) that came about:

As you can see, “How’s your 401(k) doing?” made its debut on December 2, 2017, at a fundraiser held at the Cipriani across from Grand Central.

If you’ve ever been in Cipriani 42nd you know that the most absurd thing about the 401(k) tagline wasn’t the fact that most of Trump’s base probably doesn’t even have a 401(k), but rather than anyone attending an event there would be concerned about a retirement plan.

And that’s all I’ve got for you on this one.

Oh, wait, one more thing. When you hear Trump say that Friday was “in no way a concession”, do yourself a favor and contrast that line with the following visual…


Read more on Trump’s “401(k)” meme

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‘How’s Your 401(k)?!’ Trump Accidentally Taunts Low Income Americans With New Slogan

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3 thoughts on “What Defeat Sounds Like: A Hapless Trump Flails After Crushing Week

  1. I think that “Build the Wall!” isn’t the worst hedge slogan imaginable in the face of the disaster that TCJA has been to make spending in the US economy, rather than on bitcoin and other pump-and-dump-on-alzheimer-afflicted-boomer scams, great again.

  2. I have two thirty year old daughters. They are appalled with what is going on but assure me that “It will be taken care of.” We only have but a few years and all these geriatrics will be eating soup from a straw. Though I’m of the same bale, I look forward to that time. We boomers are a bane.

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