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The trouble with Trump is that, as he told Bob Woodward, “I bring rage out.” It’s hard to see this picture of him posing maskless on the White House balcony after “winning” against Covid without the red mist coming down.
To anyone with a sense of history, the echo of Mussolini on the balcony of Rome’s Palazzo Venezia is unmistakable. But many of his core voters may know as little history as he does and, besides, this is the White House, with American flags flanking him – still for many a stage of democracy, not dictatorship. Perhaps the real shock of the pose is its delusion. There is no crowd – he’s performing for himself and the camera.
Trump imagines it is important for him to show himself, like a medieval monarch recovered miraculously from plague. In this breathless patient’s manic act of narcissistic theatre he is literally the most important man on earth, the republic’s first divinely chosen emperor. If Trump falls it will be because people see the gulf between his dream and America’s reality.
In this photograph, President Trump’s doctors and nurses assemble like a crack military squad – perhaps on instinct since several are army or navy medics.
This surely reflects the unique vision of Trump, turning a medical crisis into a kickass action movie of the kind you can’t see in a Cineworld near you. These tough guys were selected to fight the coronavirus hand to hand, by dead of night, after tracking the tiny enemy to its foreign lair. They probably all have easily remembered character quirks like chewing a cigar butt, driving crazily or, in the case of those hidden at the back, being a woman or non-white.
On the other hand these medics may have been arrayed not so much like commandos as contestants in the sweeping opening episode of a reality TV show. Such are the almost indecipherable layers of unreality that seem to surround Trump. There is a kind of grotesque genius in summoning up wacky images like this around you, as if Salvador Dalí were the commander in chief. The neat arrangement resembles a game of human chess on a surrealist piazza.
This image may be one of our last chances to enjoy the hyperlucid fantastical world of a presidency in which doctors are warriors and everyone can beat Covid if they too just throw a grenade of expensive drugs in its foxhole.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: A critic’s view: the delusion of Trump’s Covid-19 victory photo | US news