Some caricaturists depict Donald Trump as an over-indulged baby, throwing toys out of his pram. Others see him as a puppet, manipulated by the Machiavelli of the alt-right, Steve Bannon.
I’m sure there’s some truth in both these interpretations.
Hearing Trump talk today, however, I have a rather different image coming into my head.
The 45th President was talking at a US airforce base about Islamic terrorism in Europe and claimed that this was covered up by the mainstream media.
His actual words were as follows: "All over Europe, it's happening. It's gotten to a point where it's not even being reported. In many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn't want to report it. They have their reasons and you understand that."
This is a truly madcap conspiracy theory.
On an X-Files scale, it rates a nine.
It pains me even to pick it apart, but think about what he’s saying. His accusation is that mainstream news media with professional journalists have their ‘reasons’ for covering up terrorist atrocities.
The reasons, one supposes, are that they are liberals who are dedicated to a vision of multiculturalism or active supporters of the expansion of Islamic ideology in Europe. These duplicitous political activists, masquerading as reporters, worry that if the public were to hear of terrorist attacks, they might rebel against the current order.
So they cover them up.
Except the ones they don’t cover up.
Like Paris and Nice, which Trump himself mentioned. And Brussels and Berlin and all the other places.
Boy, did the liberal media slip up with those ones! They really dropped the ball, didn’t they, with all their round-the-clock reporting?
Leaving aside the utterly ridiculous and unsupported nature of Trump’s allegations, there is also the issue of exactly how the journalists would succeed in keeping any terrorist activity in Europe under wraps. Perhaps smartphones, digital cameras and social media haven’t made it across the Atlantic yet? Maybe we Europeans are ‘sheeple’, who haven’t yet seen the light?
Except supposedly we have.
Isn’t part of the Trumpian world view the idea that Brexit was an awakening? That the anti-globalist populism of Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders demonstrates Europeans throwing off the shackles of liberalism, multiculturalism and political correctness?
My image of Trump is now of someone who is 25-going-on-15 and still lives at home with his mother. His days are spent in his room coding, while eating KFC. His nights are spent alongside his empty bucket meals, trolling people on Twitter.
His reading consists of conspiracy sites which suggest that vaccinations are poison and that scientific evidence can’t be trusted. He rails against feminazis, snowflakes and libtards. Anyone who believes a poll is a fool and anyone who trusts what they read in the mainstream media needs to WAKE UP and GET SMART!
Of course, there are a million of these sad little men around and we could argue all day about the cause of their alienation and anger. But only one in a million gets to play at being President of the United States of America.
We know that Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Rex Tillerson and others do not subscribe to Trump’s ridiculous conspiracy theories. They might have some pretty obnoxious and kooky views of their own, but they do not believe that there have been terrorist atrocities in Europe that have gone unreported.
They need to say so.
These men do not believe that a federal judge appointed by George W Bush and ratified 99-0 in the Senate is only a ‘so-called’ judge.
They need to say so.
They do not believe that the New York Times and CNN publish fake news.
They need to say so.
They will be biding their time and thinking that there will be a later opportunity to remove Trump.
Now is not the moment. Keep our powder dry, they will say to themselves. Give him enough rope and he will hang himself.
History tells us that if you give people like Trump enough rope, he’ll end up hanging you.
They need to act soon. For the sake of the Republican Party, the sake of the United States and the sake of the wider world.