“As the death toll in the coronavirus pandemic neared 100,000 Americans this Memorial Day weekend, President Trump derided & insulted perceived enemies & promoted a baseless conspiracy theory, in between rounds of golf.”
Perhaps Howard Stern, of all people, said it best: “The oddity in all of this is the people Trump despises most, love him the most. The people who are voting for Trump for the most part … He’d be disgusted by them.” The tragedy is that they are not disgusted by him in return.
In order to think about why these men support Trump, one must first to grasp how deeply they are betraying their own definition of masculinity by looking more closely at the flaws they should, in principle, find revolting.
Is Trump honorable? This is a man who routinely refused to pay working people their due wages, and then lawyered them into the ground when they objected to being exploited. Trump is a rich downtown bully, the sort most working men usually hate.
Is Trump courageous? Courtiers like Victor Davis Hanson have compared Trump to the great heroes of the past, including George Patton, Ajax, and the Western gunslingers of the American cinema. Trump himself has mused about how he would have been a good general. He even fantasized about how he would have charged into the middle of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, without a weapon. “You don’t know until you test it,” he said at a meeting with state governors just a couple of weeks after the massacre, “but I really believe I’d run in there, even if I didn’t have a weapon, and I think most of the people in this room would have done that too.” Truly brave people never tell you how brave they are. I have known many combat veterans, and none of them extols his or her own courage. What saved them, they will tell you, was their training and their teamwork. Some—perhaps the bravest—lament that they were not able to do more for their comrades.
But even if we excuse Trump for the occasional hyperbole, the fact of the matter is that Trump is an obvious coward. He has two particular phobias: powerful men and intelligent women.
The attacks from Trump come as the country’s death toll from the virus nears the 100,000 mark and the ensuing economic devastation worsens. As criticism of Trump’s handling of the crisis has mounted, he has turned to his Twitter feed to air grievances and settle scores. He has baselessly accused a stream of perceived opponents of committing crimes, including illegal espionage and election rigging.
Trump, a president with a penchant for fanning the conspiratorial flames with fabricated allegations, seemed eager for something to use against Scarborough.