In anticipation of the Thanksgiving holiday, earlier this week White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders required members of the White House press pool to name what they were thankful for before asking her a question.
The American people learned, in juxtaposition with questions about the freshest hell the Trump administration has to offer, about the personal lives of the reporters documenting it, about what the people in the room had at stake. Sanders looked pleased with herself as the mawkish exercise wore on. As it (thankfully) drew to an end, I found myself wondering what America has to be thankful for.
Today, I got my answer: President Donald Trump did not ruin Thanksgiving. For the last twelve hours or so, against all the odds, the president has managed to shut the fuck up.
Apart from a few stories we can probably get to tomorrow—Michael Flynn possibly cooperating with Bob Mueller, Trump specifically tweeting MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN like a maniac at the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent—the public has been gifted blessed silence this Thanksgiving.
This isn’t a small accomplishment. Trump has figured out a way to ruin a lot of things. Women’s history month, usually celebrated with a perfunctory lecture on college campuses and in the lower third of network promos, suddenly became an occasion for awkward self-examination. Same with Black History Month. And Flag Day, since the president dodged Vietnam by citing his foot problems that miraculously vanished in the years since the war. He’s grabbed the #MeToo moment in the worst place, throwing his support behind apparent teen molester Roy Moore while condemning apparent serial groper of adult women Sen. Al Franken.
If the NFL wasn’t ruined already with all that profit mongering and concussion ignoring, Trump flicked it over the edge. The Golden State Warriors, also touched by Trump. Golf was already bad, but Trump has ruined it forever. Almost everybody who has aligned themselves with Trump has either been poisoned or thrown under the bus. Sean Spicer, hilariously, can’t get a job.
The president has turned photo opportunities into international incidents, executive order signings into dementia diagnostic bonanzas, the sound of the word “million” into something worse than the word “moist.” He’s also ruined every steak he’s ever met by smothering it in ketchup and demanding it be cooked to the point of rubbery tastelessness.
The president has never met a violent crime by a brown person he’d use to further his agenda or a violent crime by a white person as an opportunity to pretend he didn’t notice. In his view, there are good and bad people on many sides of the “lionize champions of slavery versus don’t” debate.
Days without earth-shattering national embarrassment have been sparse since Trump announced his run for President in the summer of 2015, when he awkwardly descended on an escalator like some kind of cast-aside minor Saudi prince at the ribbon cutting for a water park. That, somehow, somebody in his orbit has been able to wrest his iPhone away from him today, has been able to wrest his attention span away from Fox News or CNN or InfoWars is a miracle, like the bloom of a rare flower.
American schoolchildren are taught that the first Thanksgiving was a dinner between English settlers in Massachusetts and the Native Americans who didn’t particularly want them there. That these two divergent sides were able to come together in fact or in myth is special. That Trump was able to not fuck up today was special, too.
Let us join together with our families, racist uncles and freshly libertarian college freshmen and embarrassing drunk aunts and otherwise normal pair of cousins who instantly become mortal enemies at the mention of the names Bernie or Hillary, and give thanks, one and all, for the blessed silence of Thanksgiving 2017. Very little news happened today. Who can guess when this will happen again?