If you haven't figured it out by now, this is what every single day of the Trump administration is going to be like, however long it lasts. It's going to be a relentless 24/7 gangbang of incompetence, corruption and scandal, with trespasses large and surreal oddities small coming at us so quickly and so consistently that it will be nothing short of dizzying. Right now, on Capitol Hill, Trump's agency nominees are being grilled by Congress and the big story at the moment is that Trump's choice to be in charge of the nation's public schools knows nothing about the job, can't answer the most basic of questions about what would be her responsibilities, and apparently thinks guns should be present in schools in case of, well, bears. Meanwhile, McClatchy just broke the story that for several months now the FBI and five other U.S. intelligence services have been probing possible Kremlin help for the Trump campaign that included funneling covert cash to pro-Trump hackers in the United States.
Those are the "trespasses large" at the moment. Meanwhile, the recent surreal oddities that have already become a hallmark of the Trump era include a bizarre picture released today of Trump posing as if he's writing out his inaugural address. He sits in what appears to be a tourist trap Moroccan restaurant inside Mar-a-Lago, where earlier today it was 80 degrees, wearing a full suit and tie and looking strained and uncomfortable, like someone either trying to hard to be serious or fighting his way through a particularly difficult bowel movement. He's got a pen and it's being put to a basic legal pad. It's a safe bet there isn't a damn thing written on the pad, because Trump a) loves empty props and cheap PR stunts, b) is barely literate, and c) doesn't have the attention span to do anything that takes him longer than a couple of minutes. Oh, and there's another revelation sure to produce the combination facepalm/pained sigh that's going to be the official symbol of the Trump administration. He's apparently figured out his next big slogan.
In an interview today in The Washington Post aimed at, of all things, probing Trump for the details of how he came up with the slogan "Make America Great Again" -- which a five-year-old could've pulled out of his ass -- Trump stops mid-talk and realizes he's just had an epiphany: the perfect campaign slogan for 2020. “Are you ready?” he says. “ ‘Keep America Great,’ exclamation point.” He actually shouts for his lawyer and commands that person to immediately "trademark and register" the line, because it's just so, you know, great. Man, that Donald. "How does he do it?" his lawyer no doubt thought as he whisked himself away, ever astonished by the boss's bottomless mental reservoir of brilliant ideas. "That's why he's the boss!" (The idea was then rushed directly to the mail room where it was turned into a Blue Letter and handed off from harried underling to harried underling while Khachaturian's Sabre Dance played at full volume.)
Now here's the fun and inadvertently telling part: That slogan has already been used, recently in fact. Appropriately, it was the tagline of the latest movie in The Purge series, Election Year. When you consider that the tagline -- "Keep America Great" -- was specifically aimed at darkly parodying Trump's own "Make America Great Again" slogan and the film itself somewhat retconned the franchise to specifically reference the age of Trump, it's just perfect. What's also perfect, of course, is that for months now the subject of The Purge has come up in reference to Trump, his American Psycho-esque children, and what they all might have in store for the country. The Purge's dystopian vision of an America where the strong have a single night to lawfully slaughter the weak hardly feels all that unrealistic anymore. Hell, it feels like the kind of thing somebody would've told Trump about that will soon be incorporated into his First 100 Days plan.
Now that's exactly the thing: Somebody would've had to tell Trump about The Purge, because he really doesn't seem like someone who actually watches movies, listens to music, knows pop culture, or has interests, the way normal people do. It's for this reason that it's almost impossible to imagine that Trump, even subliminally, was clued into his new slogan by this movie. (Even with all the TV he watches.) As Matt Taibbi wrote about Trump recently in Rolling Stone, "Trump is the perfect modern American. He's a human consumption machine with no attention span, no self-control, no beliefs and no hobbies outside of sex, spending, eating and talking about himself. Nixon at least played the piano and read classics. He was an intellectual with a pig's heart. Trump is just the pig part." It's something you rarely truly consider when you consider Trump and yet once you do it makes him chillingly disconcerting in an almost Uncanny Valley-like way: you can't picture the man enjoying anything. He doesn't have the kinds of likes or passions or interests normal people do. He loves himself and not a damn thing else.
But whether he's even aware of the connection to The Purge, or the fact that there are those who see that hellish sci-fi future United States as something they can picture being inextricably linked to Trump, the rest of us know it's there. And we know it's terrifying. And it's something so, so fitting in our dark new American age.