Just imagine the relief when, finally, the Donald is gone. But, like it or not, there’ll be things we will surely miss.
Trump has made us all feel highly literate. Every day we could wake up, knowing that in the course of the next 15 hours or so we would fluently use a much wider range of words than POTUS ever managed. Said to be “allergic” to reading, a 2018 analysis found that Trump, who attributes his success to “being, like, really smart”, had the worst vocabulary of any US President since 1929. (Jimmy Carter had the best.) Trump’s (sacked) national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, described the president’s intelligence as that of a “kindergartener”; his (sacked) Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, preferred the more direct, “fucking moron”.
- Hot on the heels of literacy has been our moral superiority. Trump demonstrated daily what amateurs we are when it comes to bending the truth. Trump was/is a serial liar; like,
really serial. We can only wonder whether he is capable of telling the truth and, worse, whether it matters to him in the slightest. His outrageous mishandling of the Covid-19 crisis (225,000 Americans dead and counting, one million new cases in a week) is but one example. As of August 2020, The Washington Post “Fact Checker” had recorded 22,510 false or misleading claims by Trump since he assumed office. An average of 17 porkies a day from the world’s most powerful figure has offered the rest of us plenty of wiggle room.
The Trump circus has also been entertaining—though often in a sickening way. High-level sackings; offensive comments about places (“shithole” African and Central American states); tasteless remarks about individuals (Ivanka Trump, with her “very nice figure” who the president might have “dated” if she “weren’t my daughter”; obscene stereotyping and fear-mongering (“ Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day”; “Biden will turn Minnesota into a refugee camp”). Following his electoral defeat, Trump tweeted there would be a “big press conference” at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia. The venue, it transpired, was not the glamour hotel but a landscaping business located between a crematorium and an “adult” book store. (Maybe its tomes appealed to POTUS.)
Post-Trump, we will no longer be able to rely on his crazy, offensive behaviour to make us look (relatively) civilised. That could be a worry. But there is much good news.
The “pussy-grabber-in-chief” will no longer have the keys to the White House. That should lift the morale of women everywhere. Trump has faced 26 allegations of sexual misconduct, including from his first wife, Ivana, who initially accused him of rape. Trump has dismissed all allegations as publicity stunts, politically motivated or coming from women who, in his own words, were “not my type”. His then lawyer, Michael Cohen, argued in 2015 that Trump could not have raped Ivana because legally “you cannot rape your spouse”. That was false and Cohen later recanted his “inarticulate” comment. Caught up in the 2016 Russian electoral interference scandal, Cohen was subsequently jailed but released into house arrest because of Covid-19. His recently published tell-all, Disloyal, The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J Trump, noted Trump’s “inadvertent” comment about Cohen’s 15-year-old daughter: “Look at that piece of ass. I would love some of that”.
- Life is likely to be a lot less comfortable for those political leaders for whom Trump, in effect, ran a protection racket. Leading this list is the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, closely followed by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohamad bin Salman. May they have many sleepless nights.
- Those with red ties will be able to wear them again, without using a balaclava to disguise their identity.
- Finally, just imagine what’s going through the mind of Rupert Murdoch and his pet parrots as they contemplate the reality of a Trump-free White House. Key Murdoch mouthpieces (Fox News, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal) recently urged Trump to preserve his “legacy” by showing grace in defeat. Oh Rupert, life will be different for you too!