A week ago, if you would’ve asked me what motivates Donald Trump’s decision-making process, I would’ve answered senility and a cartoon duck with giant breasts that only he can see. But that was before Trump made two recent comments that seem to suggest there might actually be a method to his madness:
And if that sounds like an absolutely insane metric for measuring the success of the United States government, you’re goddamn right it is. Trump might as well be using the Richter scale, which would actually be preferable and far less deadly, but I’ll get to that later. In the meantime, here’s one of the more batshit money quotes that I completely missed in Trump’s AP interview transcript because the human mind can only read so many unedited words from a rapidly deteriorating mind that has access to nuclear codes. We’re fragile beings.
AP: And that’s one of the difficulties I think presidents have had is that you can have these personal relationships with people from the other party, but then it’s hard to actually change how people vote or change how people —
TRUMP: No I have, it’s interesting, I have, seem to get very high ratings. I definitely. You know Chris Wallace had 9.2 million people, it’s the highest in the history of the show. I have all the ratings for all those morning shows. When I go, they go double, triple. Chris Wallace, look back during the Army-Navy football game, I did his show that morning.
AP: I remember, right.
TRUMP: It had 9.2 million people. It’s the highest they’ve ever had. On any, on air, (CBS “Face the Nation” host John) Dickerson had 5.2 million people. It’s the highest for “Face the Nation” or as I call it, “Deface the Nation.” It’s the highest for “Deface the Nation” since the World Trade Center. Since the World Trade Center came down. It’s a tremendous advantage.
To be clear, that was President Donald Trump unmistakably bragging that one of his TV interviews had higher ratings than 9/11. And if that’s what he wants, let’s give him what he wants:
Congratulations, Mr. President, you manage to cause the same reaction as the most horrifying act of terrorism ever committed on American soil. Well done.
But Trump’s odd tangent with the AP wasn’t the only time he brought up ratings. He also used them to justify not firing Sean Spicer, the gum-chewing assortment of blocks who currently has the distinction of being the only Press Secretary in recent memory who decided, “You know what? Fuck it. I’m defending Hitler today. What’s the worst that could happen?”
President Donald Trump has no plans to fire White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer because he believes his controversial spokesman gets good ratings.
“I’m not firing Sean Spicer,” Trump said, according to the Washington Post. “That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in.”
Trump even likened his press secretary’s daily news briefings to a soap opera, saying they claimed nearly as many viewers.
Now’s the part where I should probably mention that Donald Trump runs the United States of America and not a television station that magically benefits from people watching other channels, so ratings should mean absolutely jackshit to him. They’re nothing but an indicator of how many people stopped their day at a specific moment in time and went, “Ooh, what’s this?” Jesus Christ, barely a week ago, the entire internet was captivated by a giraffe giving birth and a Starbucks drink that looked like LSD diarrhea in a cup. More to the point, getting a large group of people to pay attention to something isn’t necessarily a measure of success. In fact, it’s how we ended up with the Kardashians and the next step in that evolution: A reality star idiot in the White House.
Which brings us to North Korea. As of this article, Trump is scheduled to address the entire Senate at the White House on Wednesday in an unprecedented briefing that looks a hell of a lot like Trump is prepping for war with North Korea. And I emphasize “looks” because nothing brings in ratings like political theater. Except this time around, Trump is flying in the face of both the Pentagon and China who know that the slightest provocation can cause Pyongyang to lash out, putting thousands of lives at risk. (North Korea has reportedly been reacting to Trump’s tweets, so you know, goddammit.)
Now I’m trying not to be an alarmist and say we’re at the brink of nuclear war because most experts seem to agree that North Korea doesn’t have the capability to strike the U.S., but there is significant pause about Kim Jong Un’s ability to unleash holy hell on South Korea, Japan, and God knows who else within reach. Which is why economic sanctions have been the rule of the land, and saber-rattling has been avoided until a deranged humanoid kumquat became president and decided he’s going to Evel Knievel this bitch with all the subtlety of Major Kong.
But, damn, if it won’t look good on TV!