When Donald Trump was elected 45th President of the United States, citizens entered a new era of political discourse that began to resemble reality television shows more than the news programs with which they’d previously competed for ratings. Some weeks, we wonder which cabinet member is going to survive the next tribal council. The next weeks, we are glued to our news feeds about the latest gossip, intrigue, and scandal leaking out of the executive branch.
Political science majors and wonky nerds used to be the only people in the country who cared about what the president said yesterday. Now, since what comes out Trump’s mouth is so often totally unbelievable (like when he told Paralympic Athletes that their competitions were “hard to watch”), recounting his most recent statements is as popular as rehashing the season finale of The Bachelor at the water-cooler.
Trump’s classlessness has denigrated our political reality to the status of an MTV Real World vs Road Rules summer-long special, and like any good car crash, spectators can’t avert their eyes.
Sunday marked another instance of the spectacle when Trump released a video to celebrate Mother’s Day; it had all the hallmarks of his weirdly gripping elocution. He hammers out simple, declarative statements laced with casual language. When he talks about his mother, instead of launching into flowery yarns about his youth, he simply says “I miss her a lot.”
However, the strangest thing of all is that Trump, flouting convention for the nth time, failed to mention the mother of his children, Melania Trump, who you’d think would merit a callout on what he calls “one of the most important days of the year.”
“It’s a special opportunity to thank all the mothers and grandmothers in our lives,” the president said, looking straight-on at the camera. He takes the time to thank all the moms for their help in establishing “our independence,” and all the work they did in expanding the Western frontier. Trump also mentions the moms who helped build arms and airplanes during the war effort in the 1940s. Then Trump goes on a long dialogue about his own mother (an immigrant, no less, a fact that is seemingly skirted over quite quickly).
“Warm, loving, really smart, could be tough if she had to be, but basically she was a really nice person,” Trump said. “So much of what I’ve done and so much of what I’ve become is because of my mother.”
If that’s how Trump thanks the mothers in his life, maybe Melania should be grateful she didn’t get a shoutout.
Happy Mother’s Day!!! pic.twitter.com/zw71dnT7TJ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2018