Donald Trump doesn’t make time to comfort the country he’s supposed to be leading as it suffers the worst surge yet of the coronavirus pandemic or tend to peoples’ dire financial circumstances. But he will put aside his golf clubs and Twitter account to oversee and give the final blessing to a bizarre campaign-style video two months after having lost the presidential election to Joe Biden.
Other than making Trump feel good about himself, it’s difficult to figure out the audience or purpose of the message. It’s 60 seconds full of delusions of grandeur, lack of self-awareness and outright lies. Here is “Trump Stands For America,” decoded.
The minute-long self homage opens with a shot of what Trump would see from the balcony of the South Portico, the Washington Monument, followed by quick cuts of Trump doing his best “dictator on a balcony” imitation as he salutes his supposedly adoring, but unseen, subjects. The text says Trump Stands For America, but the truth is he spends hours and hours sitting, either watching cable news or in a golf cart.
Next he shows us his adoring masses. We see a huge crowd stretching from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument, quickly followed by a tightly cropped shot of the Capitol during his inauguration. If he wants us to think the two images are connected, that it’s Sean Spicer’s “largest crowd ever” for a presidential inauguration, Trump should have picked a shot where the trees on the National Mall are bare as they are in January, rather than full and lush as he shows us.
“Trump Stands For American Jobs” is illustrated with the president at the costly, uncompleted and ineffective border wall that Mexico didn’t pay for and fist-pumping and weirdly clapping for himself in front of white men in white hard hats.
When “Trump Stands For Freedom” he’s actually sitting behind the resolute desk, showing off his signature on presidential pardons he’s just signed. But the video doesn’t show Michael Flynn, Roger Stone or any of the other recipients of his most recent, repugnant pardons for which he could face legal jeopardy. Instead it shows actor Sylvester Stallone clapping for the posthumous pardon Trump granted boxer Jack Johnson in 2018.
Then we’re treated to the cornucopia of groups who support and love their president: women, evangelicals, Latinos, Blacks and, of course, the boat people. Too bad, for him, not enough of them turned out at the polls in November.
“Trump Stands For Justice” predictably brings forth Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett, they of the Supreme Court that “really let us down” and showed “no wisdom, no courage” when it refused to hear the Texas lawsuit challenging the election results.
“Trump Stands For Our Military Might” offers up lots of shots of lots of soldiers, who the draft-dodging 45th president flipped off by becoming the first commander in chief to refuse to sign National Defense Authorization Act since 1961.
It’s the “Trump Stands For Peace” section of the commercial, however, that contains the biggest lie. It shows Trump with the leaders of Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates waving from the Blue Room balcony after having signed the Abraham Accords peace agreement. But in the lower right of the screen he’s superimposed an image of a Nobel prize, obviously wanting the viewer to conclude that he was awarded the honor. The truth is that while he’s been nominated by an ultra right wing Norwegian politician he’s never won it – unlike his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.
“Trump Stands For Law and Order” is a fail because it doesn’t include any shots of the military using tear gas and low-flying helicopters to clear Lafayette Square so that Trump could stand in front of St. Johns Church for his upside-down Bible photo op.
“Trump Stands for Our Flag” includes that particularly cringe-worthy image him hugging the Stars and Stripes.
The grand finale is a rip-off of the advertising slogan of the cattle ranchers’ group that wants Americans to eat more red meat. The former reality TV show host perverts the phrase “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner” into “Trump: He’s What’s for America.”
Clearly the majority of Americans do not agree. Click below if you want to experience presidential insanity for yourself.