From George Washington on, we have occasionally been led by heroic presidents – whether in war or peace. But never in our nation’s entire history have we ever had a president anything like Donald Trump.
Trump's Place In History
John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton were surely leading presidential womanizers. Others were war-mongers, virulent racists, and great idealists. But Donald Trump’s place in history is quite secure, even if as expected, he leaves office on January 20th.
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A self-proclaimed “stable genius”, Trump will likely be ranked as the most ignorant, erratic and incompetent president in history. He will grace future psychology textbooks as a prime example of a monumentally insecure narcissist.
But I believe he will go down in history for still another aspect of his personality. I’d like to nominate him for consideration for being our most macho president.
Anyone in contention for this distinction must surely have served as our nation’s misogynist-in-chief, an award Trump walked away with even before he received the Republican nomination in 2016. At the beginning of the first debate of the Republican Primary, Fox News star Megyn Kelly put Trump on the spot by prefacing her first question with this statement: “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs,’ and ‘disgusting animals.’”
Trump managed to defend himself without immediately slashing back at Kelly, but hours later in a radio interview, here’s how he described Kelly:
“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her whatever….”
During subsequent debates, he dragged down the level of discussion by boasting about the size of his penis relative to those of some of his competitors, including Senator Marco Rubio, whom he dubbed, “little Marco.” The lesson here is for presidential candidates to never get into a debate with a macho man over whose you-know-what is the biggest.
Trump has long had the need to say derogatory things about the people who have crossed him, but when he entered the political arena and reached a much wider audience, he seemingly came up with a label for almost everyone who incurred his wrath. Senators Liddle Bob Corker, Crazy Bernie Sanders, Lyin’ Ted Cruz, Little Ben Sasse, Crazy House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sleepy Joe Biden, and for the last five years, Crooked Hillary Clinton.
Belittling those who had the temerity to disagree with him somehow made Trump feel bigger. But he rarely called anyone “fat” except for an occasional woman who had incurred his wrath. Even macho men can have a sensitive side, especially the one described by Pelosi as “morbidly obese.”
Creating An Alternative Record
Another important element of machismo is a strong military record – whether as a war hero or a wartime leader. Regretfully, Trump had neither. But he did not lack for imagination in creating alternative records, just as he had famously invented alternative facts when actual facts proved inconvenient.
As a young man during the Vietnam War, he heroically dodged the draft, with a crucial assist from his rich daddy, who persuaded a friendly podiatrist who leased office space in one of the Trumps’ buildings, to certify that Donald’s bone spurs entitled him to a 4-F draft status.
Donald Trump has long maintained that he had actually fought the good war in his own personal Vietnam during the wildly sexually permissive 1970s right in his hometown New York City. While the guy who was drafted in his place was sent to Vietnam, Trump risked his own life almost every night by putting himself in danger of contracting VD.
If a macho man like Trump actually possesses a conscience, then maybe he sometimes wonders what might have happened to him if he had gone to Vietnam. Would he have been a hero? But even Senator John McCain could not meet the high standard Donald Trump set for military heroes. McCain’s plane was shot down over North Vietnam, where he spent the next five years being tortured in a POW camp.
Trump declared that “He’s not a hero. He was a hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
But recently, the president set the bar still higher when he called those who died in combat “suckers” and “losers.” It takes quite a bit of chutzpah for a draft-dodger to hold everyone else to an almost infinitely higher standard. Unless, of course, you’re a macho man.
The Secret Lies With Fox News
President Trump actually believes he knows more about military strategy and tactics than his top advisors, including four-star generals such as H.R. McMaster, Jim Mattis, and John Kelly – each of whom he either forced to resign or resigned voluntarily. One might ask how Trump had become such a great military expert. His secret? No one has spent more time watching Fox News.
Still, Trump was so devoted to the military that even as a septuagenarian, he loves watching military parades held in his honor. Understandably, he orders that no amputees participate since they would detract from the joy of watching the spectacle.
When the coronavirus began to spread, Trump -- although he had been alerted to its possible deadly consequences -- blithely proclaimed that it would soon vanish when the weather turned warmer. But when it quickly reached pandemic proportions, he proclaimed himself a wartime president, and proceeded to utterly mismanage his war against the virus.
Now, after more than 220,000 Americans have died – nearly five times the total number of American combat deaths in Vietnam – the president still periodically pronounces that we are “rounding a corner.” He’s right! We are very likely at the beginning of a third wave of the coronavirus.
Being A Macho Man
Our president is so macho that through virtually the entire course of the pandemic, he has petulantly refused to wear a face mask. After all, he’s now immune.
And after coming down with the virus and getting very intensive medical treatment, he’s back out on the hustings, still not wearing a mask – and by example, encouraging his adoring audiences to follow suit. Look at me! I beat the virus! I’m invincible! His campaign theme song should be Macho Man, which could be played without irony.
Perhaps the most important requisite for being a macho man is being a ladies’ man. And by Trump’s telling, he certainly was one, not just during the 1970s, but even up to the time he began running for president.
Reminiscing with Billy Bush on the infamous Access Hollywood audio tape, Trump would boast that “You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
Then prodding a bit, Bush said, “Whatever you want.”
Trump then got a bit more graphic, “Grab ‘em by the *****. You can do anything.”
A real macho man -- even the trice-married Trump – could do exactly what he wanted with women he had never even seen before. How could they resist? There is a long line of women waiting to sue Trump after January 20th, for sexual assault. Didn’t they get it? He was just being a macho man.
A brilliant businessman, Trump is a man’s man and a ladies’ man all rolled into one. And certainly, a man whose loyal political followers would believe virtually anything he said -- even that ingesting household bleach would ward off the coronavirus.
Refusal To Wear A Face Mask
Our president is so macho that through virtually the entire coronavirus pandemic, he has petulantly refused to wear a face mask. After all, he’s invincible. Sadly, his loyal followers are not. And so, as they continue to flock to Trump’s rallies, defiantly unmasked and refusing to practice social distancing, they are exposing each other to the virus.
Perhaps more than anything, Trump has very carefully cultivated the persona of an extremely successful businessman. And you really have to hand it to him for pulling this off for so long, considering his four bankruptcies. As his niece, Mary Trump, has pointed out, there was always his daddy – or someone else to bail him out.
As it turns out, after exposure by the recent New York Times series of articles on Trump’s tax returns, he is not only not a billionaire, but he owes over $400 million dollars to various unidentified creditors, most of which will be coming due next year. And yet, he still maintains that this debt is just a tiny fraction of his net worth, which he implies is roughly $10 billion.
Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed self-made man is just another inheritor. But unlike virtually all the others, he has managed to lose nearly his entire inheritance. And now, as his failed presidency winds down, he has managed in these last four years to do to our nation what he had done with his inheritance over four decades.
In recent days, Trump has actually mused to his crowds about leaving the country when his term ends on January 20th. He might do this out of embarrassment for losing to the worst presidential candidate in history.
But it evidently doesn’t occur to any of his devoted followers to shout back, “If you lose to Biden, what would that make you?”