Dear Donald

On the Edge

POLITICAL PARIAH Former associates and confidants are now busily trying to distance themselves from toxic Trump. 

On The Edge
Áine Ryan

I’ve been missing my old pal The Donald over recent months. From an orange-Oompa-Loompa-lampooning perspective, obviously. (Put it like this, I wouldn’t be on the top of Mr Trump’s list for enjoying a few triple bogeys or birdies on the links at his golf resort in Doonbeg.)
Unsurprisingly, my therapist says it is time to forget about the 45th President of the United States and concentrate on more pressing matters: discovering an empty sand-dune in west Mayo; keeping that bottle of Viognier chilled whilst sunning myself in that secret sand dune; inventing a way to stop ice-cream cones melting so fast. The list goes on …
To be fair though, didn’t The Donald provide such a distraction during the first half of this pandemic? Between watching Grace and Frankie on Netflix and waiting on his next monosyllabic tweet, entertainment was at a premium. Well, in those moments when, incredulous, one chose not to take him seriously.
So, it must be a muscle-memory thing, but I felt a palpable sense of relief over the weekend when New York Times columnist and arch-critic of Trump, Maureen Dowd, exhumed him for a good old grilling. The column is written in the context of a raft of new books in which ‘a panoply of famous people [are] trying to deny and exfoliate their past culpability’.
There is a certain irony in the fact that here she finds ways to compare Trump with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘reality-distortion fields’, in which others are always blamed for their mistakes. As we all know only too well, social media was Trump’s most influential vehicle for (mis)information.
According to one new book – ‘An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination’ – New York Times writers Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang argue that Zuckerberg certainly didn’t want to take any blame for the Cambridge Analytica scandal: that is, the fallout from foreign interference in the 2016 election or, much more importantly, misinformation about Covid-19 and the vaccines.
Significantly, Dowd writes: “This past week, with President Joe Biden at his wit’s end over the continued spread of vaccine misinformation and Facebook’s unwillingness to turn over data on how much information is spreading on its site, tension between the White House and Facebook exploded.”
President Biden told reporters on Friday: “They’re killing people.’’
Even more worrying, his surgeon general, Dr Vivek Murthy, said that the bile on social media is a menace to the health of Americans.
Meanwhile, Daddy Donald’s little girl, Ivanka, is cooing from her gilded cage, claiming that she has ‘become increasingly uncomfortable with efforts to overturn the election results?
That’s according to a new book, ‘I Alone Can Fix It’, by Washington Post writers Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig. They also claim that when her father was badgering Vice President Mike Pence to support his unsavoury efforts, she told a national security official: “Mike Pence is a good man.”
Apparently, the new version of reality states, she only went to the January 6 rally – which descended into violent chaos – to ensure her father remained ‘on an even keel’.
But Maureen Dowd reminds us that when ‘Daddy’s mob began doing its worst, she addressed the scofflaws on Twitter as “American patriots”.’
Meanwhile, Mike Pence recently said during a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library that he was ‘proud’ that he certified the election. Too little, too late, Mr Pence!   
The best is reported in Michael Bender’s book, ‘Frankly, We Did Win This Election’. He reveals that Mike Pompeo, the top diplomat who was so often one of Trump’s chief ass-kissers, was afraid his former boss might start an international conflict after the election in an attempt to stay in office.
“The crazies have taken over,” Pompeo told a colleague, according to Bender.
In typical acerbic style, Dowd concludes: “The crazies hadn’t taken over. They were there all along, enabling the other crazies.”