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More on Donald Trump’s
Annus horribilis

The U.S. presidency enters the realm of the Theatre of the Absurd

By Byron Toben

Thanks to the many readers who appreciated my recent summary of the many developments triggering Donald Trump’s current collapse in many polls, including the famous “swing states”.

That article was triggered by the release of John Bolton’s new book this week. Several readers felt it should have also mentioned other developments which I now include as they continue to cascade:

Losing key evangelical support
Disavowals by Pat Robertson, Mark Galli.

Mishandling of COVID-19 crisis
Too many examples to list here.

Trump took 12 minutes to explain his “slippery” steps at West Point and to drink a small glass of water (to applause!)

Losing the support of sports teams
NFL, NBA, including owners and coaches “taking knees”. Will Colin Kaepernick be vindicated?

Ripping down Confederate symbols
Both statues and flags (now banned at Nascar races!)

West Point steep descent
Trump unsteady on his feet and bobbling a glass of water.

Tulsa rally flop
Only 6200 showed up after a prediction of one million.
Eight Trump aids at the rally tested positive for COVID-19.
Tickets for admission contained a waiver against suing Trump or his assistants if attendees contract the virus there!
Trump took 12 minutes to explain his “slippery” steps at West Point and to drink a small glass of water (to applause!)
He reiterated his desire to cut virus testing because that shows more cases.
Low attendance was blamed on the fear of violence by anti-Trump protestors (none showed up).

Here’s the latest Lincoln Project ad calling him a “whiney b*tch”.

All these examples are straws in the wind. I am surprised that certain real estate actions in the mid-60s did not come up during the 2016 campaign, namely:

Real estate tenant harassment
During a mid-1960s condo conversion craze, it was reported that Trump (as did many other landlords) used ‘hardball tactics’ to evict rent-controlled tenants (many elderly) to convert the apartments into high-priced condos. This included, by some, having thugs intimidate the tenants, introducing vermin into the buildings, shutting down utilities, even setting small fires.

A closing theatre thought

In previous theatre articles, I had related Trump to various plays (four by Shakespeare, one by Ibsen). With recent events, I am tempted to add the Theatre of the Absurd.

One good example might be Ubu Roi by Alfred Jarry. This forerunner of Surrealism and Dadaism had an initial run of only one night in Paris in December 1896. It was closed by audience revolt.

The Donald will have had a run of four years. But will he go quietly into that good night? Or, following Dylan Thomas’s advice, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Hold on to your seat belts, all. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Feature image: Kung Ubu (1964) – courtesy Camden Art Centre © Themerson Estate, LondonBouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre – WestmountMag.ca

Read more articles from Byron Toben


Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.

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