“Fuck your feelings” was a resonant refrain among many Trump supporters during the 2016 campaign.
In their view, we were living in a country where the coddling of youthful sensitivities had run amok, and Donald Trump was the unvarnished antidote to the left’s assault on American toughness. Can’t handle it? Then leave, snowflake.
But President Trump, champion of fuck your feelings, has proved to be the most delicate snowflake of all. While every modern president has favored sympathetic media outlets and friendly crowds, Trump is different in the degree to which his promises differ from his actions. Unlike his predecessors, his appeal is built around a bravado he won’t or can’t exhibit.
In the first six months of his presidency, the self-professed brawler has dodged the press, favoring pillow fights with Fox & Friends over substantive exchanges with critical journalists.
He’s lived in denial of his unpopularity, choosing instead to fluff his insatiable ego before campaign-style rallies where he makes wild claims he then sends his unprepared lackeys to defend.
He fired the FBI director and a U.S. attorney after both reportedly rebuffed his inappropriate overtures.
His closest aides fear exposing him to unflattering news coverage, lest they bruise their boss’ ego.
The man never apologizes.
The president’s true-believing base and the suckling underlings who see him as a means to an end still publicly express support for him. His social-media coordinator and barking sons, loyal to Trump as a trio of undersocialized rescue dogs, have never met a pro-Trump conspiracy theory they wouldn’t help spread.
But beyond that, the number of people who are willing to tell Donald Trump that he is wonderful is dwindling. Stateside, all the polling has him at a sub-40 percent approval rating, with no rally in sight. Internationally, it’s worse. In Europe, it’s abysmal.
Given Trump’s complete inability to process dissent, this week’s G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, puts President Snowflake directly in harm’s way. Thankfully, there’s Poland.
Poland is not on the way to Hamburg from the United States. It’s an overshoot. But it’s the closest place to the G-20 the president could land with the reasonable expectation that he wouldn’t be triggered by hordes of protesters the second he landed.
Just to be on the safe side, Polish officials bused extra Trump fans into Warsaw from across the countryside, armed with cheers and enthusiasm, and none of that scary dissent that frightens Donald so very much. Just what a brave president would want. Trump delivered a speech worthy of a B- from a middle-school civics teacher, and the crowd lost its mind. Stateside, Morning Joe, recently the target of one of Trump’s cowardly lobs, tiptoed around Trump’s ineptitude, apparently aware of what’s at stake globally if Trump’s in a bad mood on international trips.
Who knows what would have happened if the president had visited, say, Stockholm or Nice. Feelings could have been hurt! Feelings with nuclear launch codes!
The rest of this week promises to be even rougher for President Trump and his eggshell emotions. At the G-20, he’ll have to face the aforementioned Macron, the rude handshaker, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a mean lady who refuses to praise him even though he has done everything he is capable of as president, which is nothing.
Trump will have to face a harsh world, one far from the safe space of his office with the enormous TV screen and the approving hedgehog face of Sean Hannity.
Trump will also have a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Trump once halfway invited to a Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Apart from governing from the same city where a Miss Universe pageant once occurred, Putin is also a tiny despot, the sort of man Trump believes himself to be in the same way a cat watching a nature show on TV believes itself to be a lion. Incidentally, Russia is one of the only places in the world where Trump is popular.
Putin is also the sort of man most of America would hope the president would have the stones to confront, if given the opportunity. Putin is also behind an attempt to meddle in the 2016 American presidential election, according to every intelligence organization.
Trump will not be dwelling on this fact, according to The New York Times, because Russia meddling in the U.S. election undermines Trump’s electoral win, which he is apparently more proud of than he is in the continued integrity of the American electoral system. His fear of the disapproval of a masculine caricature is greater than any feeling of obligation to serve the interests of the country that elected him.
A normal person would take mass disdain—of the U.S., of Europe, of the industrialized world as a whole—as a clue that they, perhaps, are personally doing something wrong.
Not Donald Trump. Trump could drive northbound in the southbound lane of an expressway and interpret the other drivers’ honks as affronts to his inherent rightness, so fearful is he of being wrong.
It’s hard to fathom a person who demands so much personal toughness of those around him yet displays so little. Trump’s critics have called this behavior childlike, immature, id-driven. Even his supporters would find fault in a man so frightened by confrontation that he’s willing to fly several hundred miles out of the way to avoid it.
Trump is a wimp, a baby, a wuss, a chicken, a cupcake. To borrow from the vocabulary of the “Fuck your feelings” crowd: a puppet. Or something else that starts with a “p.”