NEW YORK CITY, near America
On the final Tuesday night of January, an annual date of political pageantry in the United States, Donald J. Trump served up a State of the Union address described by New York Times columnist Timothy Egan as containing “all the staying power of vapor from a sewage vent.” The philandering Berlusconi knockoff begged to differ. The stated theme of the big speech: one year into his presidency and everything in America is hunky-dory! Fantastic. Great. Terrific. Tremendous.
The official Trump newsletter extolled the performance: “Even the fake news media couldn’t help but acknowledge that [the president] was ‘inspirational’ (sic) as he called for unity to find solutions for some of our biggest challenges.”
Had he not been faithful (for once) to the teleprompter script prepared for him, Mr. Trump might have tossed in his customary refrain: “That I can tell you.”
A few hours after the speech, Mr. Trump repaired to his customary Washington snug: a canopy-covered king-size four-poster in the master suite of the second-floor family residence at the White House. Customarily alone in his White House rack—no one quite knows where Mrs. Trump sleeps—the president wears silk pyjamas and is swaddled in bed linens, all requiring daily laundering. This is where and how the president watches himself on television news programs until they go off air—all the while consuming multiple cheeseburgers, according to Michael Wolff’s best-selling book, “Fire & Fury.”
Adjacent to the four-poster is the presidential bathroom, specially equipped with an oversize television screen. Mr. Trump and the Twitter function on his smart-phone are to be found there at sunrise, at commencement of his favorite broadcast fare: Goebbels-style “news” via Fox TV, propaganda organ of the Republican Party. (Further per Mr. Wolff’s reporting.*)
Each morning in addition to Everyman ablutions, the president devotes hours to hands-on, personal management of a complex coiffure routine: rigorous shampoo and blow-dry, triple comb-over, flattened pompadour, dyed blond tresses curtained vertically at the back, tufts feathered over the ears, eyebrows teased to bushy consistency, numerous coats of industrial strength hair spray.* Heaven help his vanity should a gust of wind reveal Mr. Trump’s ghastly, ham-colored scalp—as occurred recently upon his mounting boarding stairs to Air Force One, the presidential jet.
Then come the commode (with heated seat) and the arduous, time-consuming demands of evacuation. Digesting a night’s stash of cheeseburgers, after all, is a lengthy process: mastication yields oleaginous liver bile; intestinal production of the substance chyme kicks in, followed by peptic transmutation to feces; and finally, rectal flush via sphincter and anus. Enter the presidential Twitter account and excoriations of perceived enemies.
“Poop tweets,” as White House butlers call them, take aim at Republican heretics, Democratic Party leaders, “fake” journalists, aides who exhibit insufficient adoration, non-Aryans, and non-English speaking immigrants—save for Großvater Friedrich Drumpf of Kallstadt, who sailed to the U.S. in the nineteenth century to escape Bavarian tax collectors, prospered as a pimp during the Gold Rush era, and attempted repatriation cut short by authorities in his native Deutschland who deported him back to America.
Among the presidential Twitter poopery on the morning following his State of the Union address and its “inspiring” call for “unity” was this: “Democrats are doing nothing…They Resist, Blame, Complain and Obstruct—and do nothing (sic).”
Mr. Trump’s attitude worsened. On February 5, he had one of his frequent l’état c’est moi moments, à la Louis XVI. Speaking before a friendly group at a factory near Cincinnati, he complained bitterly of “un-American” Democrats who failed to applaud the flatulent banalities of his speech.
“Can we call that treason? Why not?” suggested The Donald, a name bestowed by the first of his wifely trio. “ I mean, they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.”
To demonstrate his own love of country—in particular, his worrisome fascination with the U.S. nuclear potential of blasting the globe to smithereens—Mr. Trump has ordered the Pentagon to prepare a massively expensive parade of military paramountcy. The Donald, whose claim of “bone spurs” on one of his feet (he cannot remember which) spared him from military service during the America’s intrusion into the Vietnamese civil war of the 1960s, envisions a mammoth, televised procession of heavy-duty armaments and gnarly soldier boys smack down the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue, from the White House to Capitol Hill. (Perhaps he would add a Trumpian touch: blonde cheerleaders in miniskirts and low-cut shirts.)
As I write, panjandrums of the federal government laugh aloud at Mr. Trump’s cockamamie vision. Even the propagandists of Fox TV laugh. No matter. At night, alone in his cheeseburger-stained White House bed, a barmy president dreams of his my-missile-is-bigger-than-your-missile grand exposition. Rolling through the heart of Washington, he sees M-1 Abrams tanks, M-270 multiple launch rocket systems, M-9 army Chinook helicopters, M-61A1 Gatling guns, M-109 Howitzer cannons, and AIM-9 sidewinder infrared air-to-air missiles—accompanied by high-stepping, machine-gun waving, bayonet brandishing combat troops beneath a sky full of roaring F-16 Fighting Falcon jets.
Military stagecraft of such magnitude is commonplace in Pyongyang (Army Day) and Moscow (Victory Day now, May Day in Soviet times). But exhibitionism of this ilk would be a first for America. Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin proudly preside over their respective North Korean and Russian parades, so why not Donald J. Trump? By god, The Donald shall not be overshadowed! He means to take his turn at autocracy bouffe: saluting each parade contingency as it passes his presidential perch in the reviewing stand.
But one day in the near future, when Mr. Trump has left office in disgrace, he may reflect on the absurdity of his parade fantasy; anything is possible with this man, including the occasional introspection. He may understand how the impossible dream revealed the baldness of his soul. For as Don Vito Corleone, lead character of “The Godfather” movie saga, famously said, “Confidence is silent, insecurities are loud.”
A bit of biographical detail helps to explain The Donald’s lust for cheeseburgers, which I presume to be a craving linked to his emotional instability. My theory is based on inside information: a confidential informant within a certain upscale diner on West 57th Street in Manhattan. In 1991 when Donald J. Trump was known only as the potty-mouth scion of his daddy’s real estate business, incipient roué, and tabloid newspaper curiosity, a federal Bankruptcy Court judge relieved him of the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City. Simultaneously, his first marriage—to Czech émigré and Olympic ski team phony Ivana Zelnicková—was rapidly crumbling, due to his torrid romance with TV personality Marla Maples.
The Donald became dependent on the great American self-medicating balm for the blues: junk food. Not for nix are we the fattest people on Earth, led by the fattest president in modern history.
My diner snitch told me that Mr. Trump first placed a standing order at the boîte whilst in the throes of costly divorce proceedings against his aggrieved Wife #1: two cheeseburger deluxe platters delivered to his gaudy, gold-plated, sixty-sixth floor home at the eponymous Trump Tower, a short walk due east to Fifth Avenue. The platters—each laden with a half-pound (0.45 kg) of beef, cheddar cheese, bacon, onion twists, and French fries for a combined total of nearly 3,200 calories—were for the man of the penthouse. Ivana and children—Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka—had decamped to the Trump mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut.
By March of ‘92, his divorce from Ivana was official. The ex-Mrs. Trump received a payout of $14 million (€11.25 million), the Greenwich digs, a swanky apartment in the city, and a month’s gratis stay at Mar-a-Lago, the Trump-owned resort at Palm Beach, Florida.
In December ‘93, Marla Maples became Wife #2. A splashy wedding was held at a recent Trump acquisition—the regal Plaza Hotel, overlooking Central Park. Among the star-studded attendees were Bill and Hillary Clinton. Soon thereafter, The Donald lost the Plaza to yet another bankruptcy.
Upon the predictable divorce from Ms. Maples—who bore him daughter Tiffany, rarely seen in her father’s presence—the ever non-gallant Mr. Trump dismissed Wife #2 as “nice tits, no brains.” By this time, the standing order of cheeseburgers had increased to three nightly platters.
Lord only knows how many cheeseburgers—along with buckets of KFC chicken, another junk food favorite—gave succor to The Donald through another flock of bankruptcies: In 2004, he lost the Trump Marina and Trump Plaza casinos in Atlantic City, and a riverboat casino in Indiana; in 2009, he lost control of Trump Entertainment Resorts.
Ultimately, chicken and burgers did not fully soothe The Donald’s savage breast. We know from his self-acknowledged “pussy grabbing,” hints of randy perversions of the (ahem) urinary genre, and allegations of sexual misconduct by nineteen women that Mr. Trump sought further calm in balls-out carnality.
Which brings us to l’affaire Stormy Daniels—pornographic film star, Mr. Trump’s superior as a shrewd negotiator, and scrumptious lagniappe to Mr. Wolff’s reportage.
Wife #3 is America’s First Lady—Melania Trump, née Melanija Knavs of Slovenia, a nude model prior to taking U.S. citizenship in 2001. She prefers not to join a lecher and his cheeseburgers in bed at this point in time, according to White House scuttlebutt. She is reportedly seething over last month’s revelation that her husband had an appallingly timed liaison with one Stormy Daniels of Lousiana, née Stephanie G. Clifford, queen of erotic moviedom.
The Stormy/Stephanie tryst took place in The Donald’s hotel suite in Las Vegas in March 2006—days after Melania birthed the president’s son Barron, his fifth child. Five years later, Ms. Daniels had reasonable doubt that neither her paramour nor his sleazy lawyer would cough up a hush-money agreement totaling $130,000 (€106,600). As a bargaining chip, therefore, she consented to a 2011 interview with a struggling celebrity magazine—which held back publication when the aforementioned sleazy lawyer threatened financially ruinous libel action.
But then, on January 11 of this year, the Wall Street Journal stumbled across the hush-money pact and reported on it; true to her word, Ms. Daniels remained mum; the sleazy lawyer denied the whole thing; uncharacteristically, Mr. Trump kept his mouth shut. With the cat finally out of the bag, the once-obscure celebrity rag published its interview, amassing a fortune in newsstand sales. Ms. Daniels, meanwhile, quickly capitalized on her mainstream notoriety and is currently in high dollar demand on the striptease circuit.
My personal favorite among lurid details in the interview involves an improvised sex toy. It seems that Stormy entertained a kinky request that fateful night in Vegas back in ‘06: Please, oh please, thrash my pink bottom with the new edition of Fortune Magazine, the one with my face on the cover.
I can hear it now, Cover Boy’s aroused voice, sounding like a Ritalin-soaked ferret: “Spank me, Stormy…harder, harder!”
Early on the morning after the State of the Union Address, hundreds of Republican Party legislators—along with spouses and congressional staffers, all of them bone tired after a night spent applauding and woo-hooing Dear Leader’s bigotry and bromides—made their way to Washington’s Union Station, there to board a booze-stocked chartered train. Destination: the stately Greenbrier resort, an über Republican mountaintop Xanadu some two hundred-forty miles southwest of the capital. Purpose: the party’s annual policy retreat, wherein the assembled plutocrats formulate new ways of injuring non-millionaires.
When not commandeered by Trumpistas, the luxe Greenbrier hotel and purlieu—casino; four golf courses; mineral water spa; restaurants de cuisine française de haute qualité; and a formerly top-secret subterranean bunker impervious to communist attack, constructed during the red scare of the 1950s to shelter Washington bigwigs—are popular with corporate price-fixers, foreign potentates, and women with long legs and short résumés.
Along the way, the train crashed into a garbage truck at a railroad crossing in Charlottesville, Virginia, site of a torchlight parade last summer under the billing “Unite the Alt-Right.” The event was replete with swastika flags and Ku Klux Klan banners.
Not to worry, some nazis and kluxers on hand were surely “very fine people,” Mr. Trump informed the nation in August. Never mind that one among that number allegedly committed vehicular homicide in the cause of white supremacy. Among the very fine Republicans shaken by the train-truck collision, none were so much as scratched; the truck driver was killed, though, and his helper was hospitalized.
The collision is seen as metaphor for the train wreck that is the Republican universe—half the two-party American political establishment. According to Gallup Poll findings of February 7, ninety percent of Republican voters approve of the Trump administration, no matter that it is daily beset with resignations and scandal and increasing evidence of its kleptocratic nature; eighty-five percent approve of The Donald himself, an obese fabulist, all-embracing bigot, golfer, adjudicated fraudster, nazi defender, and adulterer.
Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign slogan of 2016—“Make America Great Again,” a rank echo of Adolf Hitler’s 1920s pledge to “Mach Deutschland Wieder Großartig”—is emblazoned on Chinese-made baseball caps available in the lobby gift shop at Trump Tower at a cost of $19.99 apiece (€16.32). Given the Trump regime’s general ickiness, the popular acronym MAGA would more aptly apply to “Make America Grody Again.”
Emblematic of a moral hypocrisy infecting the once-honorable Republican Party—home to Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Robert Taft, Dwight Eisenhower, and Nelson Rockefeller—is the affiliated Family Research Council, an evangelical Christian organization that champions marriage (save for the sinful same-sex variety) as “the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue,” according to its website.
Tony Perkins—head of the Council, famous homophobe, former TV reporter in Stormy Daniels’ very own Louisiana, and scourge of Democrats who gone astray from the fundamentalist Christian path of purity—was recently asked about his group’s staunch loyalty to Donald Trump despite endless news of presidential peccancy, past and present. Employing a golf cheat’s term of art, Mr. Perkins explained in a Politico Magazine podcast, “We kind of gave him, ’All right, you get a mulligan. You get a do-over here.’…I think the president is providing the leadership we need at this time, in our country and in our culture.”
It’s not that the American president is a wife-betraying deadbeat ignoramus junk food-gobbling creep. We all know that. The problem is, Trump supporters don’t care. They’re busy gobbling, too. Onward, Christian soldiers— stalwart patriots of the Cheeseburger Nation.
- Thomas Adcock is America correspondent for CulturMag