The Greatest Showman: If he’s kicked out of the White House in a few days’ time, we’ll all miss Donald Trump
The US president has dominated news cycles and popular culture alike since sweeping to power – and he’s going to leave a lot of people without a purpose if he loses to Joe Biden.
Everyone loves Donald Trump. It may be a love-to-hate kind of love in some cases, but it’s love nonetheless. So, if things don’t go his way on November 3, he’ll leave a gaping hole that may never be filled in the same way again.
His presidency has created an entire army of vampires, who suck his blood to give them life. There hasn’t been a newspaper, media corporation, or TV station that hasn’t found him rich pickings. Whether it’s his bizarre tweeting or shooting-from-the-hip press conferences, he’s never dull.
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Artists have also found the Commander-in-Chief a generous muse. Alison Jackson’s new installation of Trump having sex with a Covid-mask-wearing Miss Universe has struck a chord in London, where people can view it via public peepholes. It’s the latest of her Trump works – previously, she depicted him in an embrace with the Ku Klux Klan.
Indecline got worldwide exposure for their ‘The Emperor Has No Balls’ – a statue of a nude, obese Trump with no testicles that appeared on sidewalks in Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and San Francisco. One art collective liked it so much, they ordered their own to place over the Holland Tunnel in New Jersey.
Kathy Griffin was shocked by how her artistic creation, a photo of herself holding Trump’s severed head, went viral. She admitted: “I really never thought that photo would take off at all.” The ramifications were deep: she was investigated by the Department of Justice and ended up on Interpol’s criminal list.
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Street artists Dominykas Čečkauskas and Mindaugas Bonanu had their own moment of fame when they unveiled Make Everything Great Again – a mural depicting Trump kissing Russian President Vladimir Putin – in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.
Then there are those terrified their meal ticket will expire if Biden ends up in the White House. One such is author and activist Candace Owens, who used to be critical of Trump, before coming full circle and ending up as one of his biggest cheerleaders. She now has a global voice, but if he goes, she’ll have to plot a new course.
Steve Bannon is another who, pre-Trump, had been anonymous. Thanks to his strategic role in getting him into power, he’s a now fully fledged public figure – but only in relation to his old boss.
Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old whom the president praised for allegedly having shot three people during the race riots in Kenosha, is another name that, thanks to POTUS, billions will never forget.
But it’s not only the Trump fans that have flourished, but the MAGA denouncers too, notably Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who’s gone from working in a bar to gracing the cover of Vanity Fair. She won a seat in Congress, but her rise is based on having repeatedly blasted Trump’s policies – so much so that he has only to utter the initials ‘AOC’ at rallies and the audience jeers, pantomime style.
The Donald has also released Robert De Niro from cold storage. The past-it old thespian long ago waved goodbye to starring in the epic movies of his heyday, but is now pure gold for chat show producers, who can bank on him to unleash an anti-Trump diatribe on demand.
Faded pop star and world’s most embarrassing mother Madonna is another who’s used Trump to fend off obscurity – somehow she made it through the wilderness and confessed to the crowd at the Women’s March following his inauguration that she’d “thought about blowing up the White House.” Express yourself, Madge.
But there’s yet another subset who’ve used Trump to become celebrities. Anthony Scaramucci was White House Communications Director for just 10 days, and leveraged that brief insight to earn himself a platform, even reaching the dizzying heights of being a contestant on American reality show Celebrity Big Brother.
Another opportunist is Sean Spicer, who, following a six-month spell as White House Press Secretary, made a cameo appearance at the Emmys to mock the infamous press conference at which he’d claimed Trump’s inauguration had drawn the biggest crowd in history. Spicer then signed up as a contestant on the TV show Dancing with the Stars, donned white trousers and a ruffled satin shirt, and shook his booty to ‘Spice Up Your Life’ by the Spice Girls. Geddit?
No politician has ever had the pop culture impact of Trump. You could spend all day listening to podcasts about him and then consume a whole load more the following day. Bob Woodward, of Watergate fame, has published two books on Trump’s four years in office. And there have been countless others, by countless other writers. The BBC recently screened a three-part documentary, The Trump Show, to rave reviews. He is truly engrossing.
Whatever your political persuasion, you cannot deny the man has charisma. He has something about him – an aura. He radiates energy, bigly.
That doesn’t mean he makes the right decisions or is a good leader, but rather that you can’t take your eyes off him. He creates spectacle. Like his summits with Kim Jong-un – they were transformed into massive global events, but when stripped back, were revealed to have been merely a couple of discussions with no substance.
He even spawns new sayings. Before Trump, who ever said ‘fake news’? And which other leader of the Free World would have stated at the CIA’s famous headquarters: “Trust me – I’m, like, a smart person,” or retweet faked footage of himself body-slamming CNN in a wrestling ring? His infamous typo about “negative press covfefe” (coverage) caused such a stir that JPMorgan Chase created a stock market index called Volfefe to measure volatility in relation to his tweets.
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The memes are innumerable, the documentaries manifold, and entire forests have been felled to print the miles of column inches that have been devoted to the world’s greatest political showman.
Donald Trump is box-office gold. The world might be a better place without him as president, but when he leaves the world stage, whether that be after this election or in four years’ time, he will be missed.
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