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Friday, January 28, 2022

Donald Trump: The stunted stunt man

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Trump’s adult life consists of a series of stunts, as in the dictionary meaning of a number of feats, exploits or tricks. As a businessman in the rough and tumble New York City real estate world he managed to pull off the stunt of marketing himself though bravado, bluster, and bullshit and he got brick and mortar buildings constructed with his name as a selling point.

He managed to avoid various ignominious exposures as a con by persuading “marks” to invest in his projects and schemes. Until his income taxes are made public we may not have proof that some of his investors were Russian oligarchs. Getting that money was a major stunt for someone prone to declaring bankruptcy.

As for a comparatively minor stunt, we already know how he conned many unwitting students, or marks, into signing up to learn his secrets at Trump University.

Amazing, the final $25 million settlement in the suit filed by students who were defrauded wasn’t finally settled until April, 2018, something that barely made the news.

Trump pulled an extraordinary stunt on the nation. He went from being a rich New York playboy who was basically known locally because promoted himself to the local tabloids to becoming a national celebrity.

Of course the monumental stunt he pulled off was of historic proportions. This stunt was of truly Brobdingnanian proportions, an appropriate word because he runs an administration that belongs in a Jonathan Swift novel.  He fooled enough voters into believing he had what it took to be president.

One of his stunts was calling tabloid reporters claiming to be John Barron or John Miller to spin stories. This set off a minor controversy when it was reported by The Washington Post in May of 2016, and reported on in Fortune with the title Donald Trump’s Long, Strange History of Using Fake Names by Michael D’Antonio, author of Never Enough, a 2015 biography of Donald Trump, and A Consequential President, a 2017 book on the Presidency of Barack Obama.

Although many of us, myself included, never watched a single episode of the NBC show he hosted for 14 seasons. The premise of the show was itself a stunt, from what I gather from Wikipedia since the winner was based on supposedly objective measures but also subjective opinions of the host and his advisors. I am sure that the decision was most likely based on what would go over the best with the audiences.

The second definition of stunt or stunted involves growth that is inhibited, hampered, hindered, or retarded. In this case it refers to Trump’s emotional and psychological growth. In many of his behaviors he’s been compared to a four or six year old having a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way.

Many Trump stunts, too numerous to list, showed how emotionally stunted this grown man was.

For example, Trump became a regular on Howard Stern’s radio show which was nationally syndicated on land based radio between 1986-2005 and has since been broadcast on satellite radio.  In October 2016 Politico predicted that Trump’s outrageously misogyinistic comments on Stern’s show would come back to haunt him, for example:

It was on Stern’s show, after all, that Donald Trump, then a playboy real estate mogul, called former Miss Universe turned Hillary Clinton supporter Alicia Machado an “eating machine.” It was on Stern’s show that Trump now infamously said he supported the Iraq War (“I guess so”)—a recording that flatly disproves his countless claims he was against it. On Stern’s show, Trump also said it’s “hard to be a 10” if a woman is flat-chested and called the challenge of avoiding STDs his “personal Vietnam.” If the political class is appalled by the notion that anything from the morass of ’90s shock-jock radio could become part of a presidential race, it may be just as surprising to Stern’s fans, who proudly embraced the outsider-ness of a guy who couldn’t seem further from inside-the-Beltway political chatter.

Obviously nobody cared. Ironically the day after Politico published this article The Washington Post published what came to be called the Access Hollywood video and an accompanying article about then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and television host Billy Bush having “an extremely lewd conversation about women” in 2005.

Nobody cared.

Flash-forward to today. Those who are paying attention have heard the word stunt used quite appropriately to describe what Trump has just done. This is his sending American troops to the Texas border. There they are eating MRI’s, sleeping in 24-person tents, using port-a-potties, and posing for photo ops as they uncoil totally unnecessary barbed wire. This is nothing more than a pre-election stunt which he has had to continue with lest he be exposed as the stunted stuntman he is.


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