The other day Donald Trump, the serial groper and misogynist currently occupying the White House, tweeted that he will no longer permit trans personnel to serve in the US military.
Here is a picture of Donald Trump’s mother:
Now, to use one of Theresa May’s favourite phrases, let me be very clear. I am not suggesting that Donald Trump has had facial surgery to make him look more like his mother. I am not suggesting that her bizarre, Bride of Frankenstein hairdo was the inspiration for Trump’s own remarkable follicular prosthesis. What I am suggesting is that the mind of Donald Trump is a bizarre psychosexual soup. And a big part of that soup is a heaping serving of anxiety about masculinity. Because the boy takes after his mother, doesn’t he? And he has small hands like a girl too, doesn’t he? And given how much Trump clearly wants to present himself as a Big Dick Playa, you know such comparisons with his mother will have preyed on him.
This is why Trump replacing Sean Spicer with Anthony Scaramucci didn’t surprise me all that much. If anything, it surprised me that he’s taken this long to do it. Trump likes to hang out with men who project an aura of virility, a kind of cruel, vicious joy in the exercise of power. the kind of people the painter Francis Bacon referred to as ‘the Nietzsche of the football team’. Ever since the days he spent under the tutelage of the late Roy Cohn, Trump has been a sucker for a thug in a showily-tailored suit. We learn that Trump was moved to hire ‘the Mooch’ because he liked what he saw of him on television. I bet he did.
To get a real taste of the bubbling Freudian broth that is Trump’s mind, however, you have to go back to his recent speech to the Boy Scouts of America. And to one passage in particular, a passage worth quoting in full. Trump began by singing the praises of the property developer and segregationist landlord William Levitt. Then he moved on to what Levitt did following the sale of his company:
‘And he sold his company for a tremendous amount of money. At the time especially, this was a long time ago, sold his company for a tremendous amount of money. And he went out and bought a big yacht and he had a very interesting life. I won’t go any more than that because you’re Boy Scouts, I’m not going to tell you what he did – should I tell you? Should I tell you? Oh, you’re Boy Scouts, but you know life, you know life. So, look at you, who would think this is the Boy Scouts, right?’
You’re Boy Scouts but you know life. Nudge-nudge, wink-wink, chuckle-chuckle.
Put aside the office that Trump has assumed, against the will of the majority of American citizens. Put aside the soap opera of Spicer and Scaramucci and the chip on Trump’s shoulder about inaugural crowd sizes. Pare this down to what it is on it’s most simplistic level: an old man winking conspiratorially at an audience of boys and snickering about what he and his rich mate used to get up to on his yacht. Expressing mock-shock at the idea that they ‘know life’, then jokingly congratulating on what big, worldly-wise boys they are. Look at you, who would think this is the Boy Scouts, right?
I think we’ve all encountered men like that before.
This is why I always felt uneasy about the liberal vitriol directed at Melania Trump for choosing to stay in New York with Barron: because I wouldn’t want to leave my kids with Donald Trump either. Would you?