Donald Trump is barely seven months into his scandal-ridden first term as president and he’s already dropped a ludicrous ad that both makes the free press out to be an enemy of the American people and sets the stage for a 2020 reelection campaign.
Because what we really need is another reason to drink on Monday.
And this ad … hoo boy.
It’s just 30 seconds long but, much like the Trump administration, it feels like it exists in a plane beyond our normal concept of time, where everything slows down and each moment feels like a fever dream that stretches into eternity.
In other words, Donald Trump packed a whoooole lot of intense ideas in a short, half a minute ad. So let’s break it down, everlasting second by everlasting second.
0:00 – Okay, before we even hit play, please note that the title of the ad is called “Let President Trump Do His Job.” I don’t know who has the power to keep Trump from doing his job, though. No one’s keeping him off the golf course so how can anyone keep him from being president?
0:01 – Democrats are criticized for being obstructionists with a quick shot of “Cryin'” Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren. Like Mitch McConnell didn’t just spend a year blocking President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination.
It’s also entertaining that a president so used to criticizing the opposition is now mad that the opposition is also, well, opposing him.
0:02 – “The media, attacking our president,” screams the ad. Indeed, how dare the free press hold the president accountable? Among those singled out at this point are Anderson Cooper, Joe Scarborough, Chris Hayes, George Stephanopoulos, Chuck Todd, John King, Erin Burnett, Rachel Maddow, and Don Lemon. That’s a lot of media!
But you know who the ad doesn’t display on screen? Anyone from print or digital journalism. There are no New York Times or Washington Post headlines critical of Trump called out in the ad. These are the publications that are actually making the big scoops that are doing the main damage to the the administration.
And, yet, the ad focuses on TV figures, which makes a weird sort of Trumpian sense given that this president pretty much reacts to whatever he sees on television.
0:06 – The ad rolls out shots of Rep. Maxine Waters and Rep. Steny Hoyer, Democrats who have been very vocal in their criticism of Trump, calling them “career politicians” who keep “standing in the way of success” for Trump. For whatever criticism these two lawmakers may deserve, it’s incredibly misplaced here.
This cannot be stressed enough: the GOP has a majority in both houses and the president is a Republican so if you still can’t get your agenda through, you might want to do a little soul searching.
0:09 – “But President Trump’s plan is working!” The issue here is: which plan?
This is a particular moment where time feels like it slows down to a crawl, the past and future visible from the same fixed point in space, warping around me like a stream around a stone, polishing me down until I am nothing.
0:10 – There’s a lot of touting of strong economic numbers and we know our president has a way of touting economic milestones that are either misleading or not a result of his work.
Remember when Trump said jobless numbers were phony until they magically weren’t anymore?
It’s hard to take anyone that admits this seriously though that doesn’t stop Trump from expecting voters to.
0:20 – The military is strong! Look at this mighty plane and aircraft carrier. Behold, the power of a man leading a nation to nuclear war via Twitter!
0:23 – In case you were still wondering how Trump feels about the press, we return to the same collage of TV news anchors with the voiceover proclaiming, “The president’s enemies don’t want him to succeed.”
Again, Trump is treading on dangerous but familiar ground by proclaiming the press as the enemy and hatching a conspiracy that reaches Nixon-level paranoia. If this ad were two minutes long (God help us), it’d be a soft first step toward a Two-Minute Hate.
And what better time, really, to release a campaign ad denouncing the free press as the enemy of the people than after a violence-marred weekend involving Nazis who were emboldened by your success and rhetoric?
0:27 – “Americans are saying ‘Let President Trump do his job’.”
Well, if you consider abysmally low approval ratings as a way of saying, “Get the hell off Twitter and start doing your damn job,” then, yes, this line of reasoning works.
If time is really a flat circle, then may it eventually spin fast enough to launch me off into the nethersphere where I can at last be at peace.