Donald Trump announced his presidential bid yesterday, but he’s been infuriating the commentariat for years. Kevin Williamson of National Review calls him a “witless ape” and a “ridiculous buffoon with the worst taste since Caligula.” Matthew Walther says Trump “looks like a money changer about to be expelled from the temple as painted by one of the Flemish Masters.” On the left, Lawrence O’Donnell denounced the self-asserted billionaire as a “lying vulgarian.”
Allow me to voice my dissent. Not because I think calling Trump names is an unproductive exercise; if anything, we should add sheafs of pejoratives to what Williamson, Walther, and O’Donnell have already said. Donald Trump is a gelatinous buffoon. He’s a Carrot Top-shaped blimp that’s broken both propellers and now hovers like an enemy mothership over our pop culture. He’s the poster child for the hazards of going to bed with clown makeup still applied. Donald Trump is such a bad businessman that he once lost $10 million in real assets playing Roller Coaster Tycoon.
One could go on. But the point is that Trump’s lack of fitness for running the federal government or a town council or a local 7-Eleven hardly makes him an aberration in Washington, as Williamson and company seem to imply. In fact, Trump, with his verbosity and cluelessness, might be the quintessential presidential candidate.
Consider: Trump has gone bankrupt so frequently that he sometimes hasn’t been able to make his debt payments. Neither can the federal government! His Taj Mahal casino is pointless, tacky, and twice has been slated for closure, yet it still endures—just like almost every agency in Washington. All the prevailing evidence suggests that Trump hasn’t the foggiest idea how to run a business. And that makes him different from Nancy Pelosi how?
Trump has taken a lot of flack for saying he has a plan to fight ISIS while refusing to discuss the specifics. Some commentators have concluded from this that he doesn’t have a plan at all. But neither does our president. Sending another 450 “advisors” to Iraq, as Obama did last week, is the same thing as being wholly befuddled on the subject of the Islamic State.
Trump has been accused of opening an unlicensed, for-profit university that defrauded more than 5,000 people. His transition to running our nation’s higher education policy would thus be a smooth one, since our student loan system is essentially doing the same thing. And with Trump having been embroiled in sex scandals in the past, perhaps he could make the crony capitalism between the federal government and our nation’s colleges official by sleeping with a university president.
Of course, those of us who want to shake up the unwieldy and hideous ziggurat that is Washington are going to support candidates like Paul and Cruz. None of this should be read as an endorsement of Trump, who I find mildly repulsive. But at least Trump, unlike many other lawmakers in Washington, is upfront about his boorishness and egomania. Other candidates should follow his cue.
Besides, all Trump did was horribly mismanage a business he inherited. Hillary Clinton voted for a war that helped wreck the Middle East and killed over 100,000 people. Who’s the crazy one now?