Donald Trump, the president-elect of the United States, is possessed of an erratic, remarkably thin-skinned constitution—and nowhere is this on more vivid display than Twitter. The former reality-show host has always been prone to bizarre Twitter tantrums. In 2012, he unleashed a series of six exclamation point-filled tweets on the breakup of Twilight stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. But he’s no longer some blowhard trolling the news on Twitter; he’s the next leader of the free world, and every word out of his mouth has global implications.
This week, the president-elect spent his Monday night retweeting a 16-year-old Twitter user mocking CNN reporter Jeff Zeleny as “pathetic” for questioning Trump’s baseless allegation that “millions of people” voted illegally in the U.S. presidential election. The Daily Show took on Trump’s strange Twitter musings during its show Tuesday night. “Yeah, Zeleny! You’re pathetic! I mean, not as pathetic as a future president so desperate for validation that he’s like, ‘See? This teenage boy thinks I’m right!’ but yeah, pathetic, yeah!” said host Trevor Noah.
According to Noah, since Trump seems to act like a toddler, it’s important that we treat him as such.“This whole thing with Trump leads me to a question: Have you ever argued with a toddler? Because if you have, you probably lost that argument—or you killed the toddler,” joked Noah. “Either way, you didn’t win the argument, because you can’t win an argument against a toddler. Toddlers will say the most outlandish shit, and the more you argue with them, the more they become entrenched in their views. A toddler will say anything. They’ll say, ‘My faddy is the strongest man in the world!’ And you’ll be like, ‘No he’s not.’ ‘Yeah he is!’”
The comedian said that, over the course of the election season, the American public has come to the realization that “President-elect Trump might have the mind of a toddler,” because in addition to his immaturity, he enjoys the same things toddlers do. “They like building things, they love attention, always grabbing things they’re not supposed to, and they love riding escalators. Wee!” exclaimed Noah.
And the media even began to treat Trump like a toddler, fact-checking him constantly—even in their chyrons. The problem, Noah says, is that “facts mean nothing” to Trump. “Donald Trump has no relationship to facts. None. No relationship. Not even a distant cousin. He has a better relationship with Tiffany than he does to facts,” said Noah.
“You know what my theory is?” he added. “I believe that Donald Trump has created his own universe, and from within that universe, he takes a made-up idea, throws it at us in the real world, and whether we can prove him wrong or not, it doesn’t matter—we’ve lost. Because we’re in his universe.”
For example, Trump unleashed tweets recently attacking the Broadway show Hamilton, criticizing Saturday Night Live’s parody of him, and suggesting that Americans should have their citizenship revoked if they burn the American flag—a constitutionally protected right. The media proceeds to pump the volume all the way up to 11, and his wacky tweets dominate the news cycle—while actual would-be scandals like his problematic Cabinet picks or his myriad conflicts of interest around the globe pertaining to his businesses.“Trump wins. It doesn’t matter what he says. He could tweet anything! He could tweet ‘goblins are faster than unicorns,’ and the next day the news would lose their minds,” said Noah. “For 24 hours, it’s all they’d be talking about. CNN would bring out a hologram unicorn, Don Lemon would host a panel where people would argue about goblins, and then after all that effort, Trump would just tweet out that the news is bad at journalism because they can’t prove their claims—claims no one could prove because Trump invented them!”
Noah also brought up how Trump’s had success with this in the past, alleging that Ted Cruz’s father killed JFK (based on a fact-free National Enquirer article) and that thousands in New Jersey cheered the Twin Towers falling on 9/11 (also unproven). The news media proceeded to chase down these false claims, thereby participating in Trump’s vicious cycle of nonsense.
“The truth is, the news also needs to adapt,” said Noah. “Here’s an option: One thing the news could try is treating Trump like the toddler he is. You don’t argue with a toddler if you want to win; don’t amplify the toddler’s voice, because you’ll just get trapped in the toddler’s world. Rather, just keep asking the toddler to elaborate, because logic is the downfall of every toddler.”