Image: CBS News

How has Donald Trump fought his critics? By boring us into submission

Image: CBS News
Image: CBS News

If you’ve come to see a scathing attack on the President of the United States, well, go and look somewhere else. Donald Trump is boring.

Like many other writers, in the student world and beyond, I have taken to my medium to convey my criticism, not to mention my anger and frustration, of Donald Trump and his farcical time at the helm of the Land of the Free.

But as time goes by, it becomes harder and harder to critique the President. It’s not for a lack of material – Trump provides it himself in spades, often in digestible 140-character chunks – but for a lack of personal energy.

Six months into his presidency, after what seems like a lifetime’s supply of gaffes and outrages, Trump has, in a peculiar way, succeeded in silencing some of his critics. Not by convincing them, through reason and argument, that their criticisms are wrong; but by heeding no one’s advice. He has ploughed on like a runaway train and kept on offending people, bashing the media, sacking his staff, insulting his own party and threatening North Korea with nuclear war.

Trump makes the headlines every week and is the subject of opinion pieces, comedians’ monologues and YouTube rants almost daily. They can rely on a sacking, a scandal, a leak or an inappropriate comment to come from within the White House right on time for their deadlines.

We know that he will never change; we can always count on him to spoil a perfectly good moment, fumble through something easy and treat a sensitive situation with the grace and discretion of an Internet troll. It is because we know how likely he is to do the wrong thing that we no longer are surprised or incensed when it happens.

Not long ago, Trump used a speech in front of the Boy Scouts to ramble on about healthcare, the 2016 election and why he’s a victim of biased media coverage. Of course he did. Before that, representing the United States abroad, he barged past the Prime Minister of Montenegro to get to the front of a crowd of politicians and, two weeks later, commented on the “fine shape” of the wife of the President of France, to her face. Of course he did.

Only this week, Trump gave a long-awaited speech condemning the Neo-Nazis and white supremacists who took to the streets in Charlottesville, Virginia, only to undermine it and drift off on a tangent about the ‘alt-left’, a term that has so far never been used but will henceforth be scattered across half of Breitbart, from now to eternity.

Trump is so prone to doing the opposite of what we expect of someone in his position that we have lost the will to care. All the things that were unthinkable for the head of state to be seen saying or doing are now perfectly common. The gaffes can get bigger while the responses get smaller.

This is not to say that we are starting to forgive his many misdemeanours, nor tolerate the social issues that are only worsening under his presidency. Donald Trump is as improper a President as he always has been and the problems associated with him, his party and his movement are still there. His repudiation of his own statement on the Charlottesville violence shows that the man, reliant on conspiracy theories and nonsensical information, is a disgrace.

But just as the Monday repudiation of the Sunday statement was awful, it was also banal. Something like this was bound to happen. Hence why it is so difficult to muster the strength to attack him.

I expect Trump to sack Robert Mueller as soon as it becomes apparent that he will be put on trial. If Trump falls, he will blame the fake news media and his own party’s lack of faith. His defenders will continue to argue that it would all have been much, much worse if Hillary Clinton were in the Oval Office.

We have seen six months of Donald Trump’s Presidency. We should stop waiting for a dramatic turn of events and for Trump to ‘reveal his true colours’ – he already has. Critics should realise by now that things are not going to get any better. Trump won’t listen to us – we’re all fake news, of course.

What should come next is action from the Republican Party. Already, senior members of the GOP are condemning their leader for his statements on Charlottesville and more. For many, this is too little, too late – arguably, Trump should never have been their candidate. It is up to the Republicans to rein in their President and get him under control, for the sake of us all.

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Jack Harvey

Jack Harvey

Alumni & Public Relations Officer at The Yorker
Comment and Politics Editor 2015/2016, Editor 2016/2017, Alumni & Public Relations Officer 2017/2018. History and Philosophy graduate, studying for MA in Philosophy at University of York.