Trumpeting Scorn: The Darkest Political Speech in US History
“O! what a deal of scorn looks beautiful
In the contempt and anger of his lip.”
— Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
It was described as a dark speech. It could have been described as a speech filled with contempt for all that had been accomplished by those coming before Donald Trump. It was a speech divorced from reality and the only thing that the Trump could have done to make it more offensive, would have been to turn to the former presidents sitting on the dais as he finished his remarks and say: “Take that, you losers.” Not that that was needed. The stench of such a sentiment permeated his remarks. There were so many offensive assertions by the man-who-would-be president-but-doesn’t-know-how, that space doesn’t permit a discussion of them all. Two stand out.
Early in his diatribe Trump said that: “What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country (FMW) will be forgotten no longer.”
The people among the FMW that Mr. Trump has selected to be rulers to help him run the country, reportedly have a combined net worth of more than $14 billion. One of them is Steven Mnuchin, (not a character from the Wizard of Oz but the man tapped by Trump to be Secretary of the Treasury). Mr. Mnuchin is so wealthy that in filing his financial disclosure forms prior to his hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, he inadvertently overlooked $100 million in assets, the sorts of omission the FMW will easily understand since they might have made the same mistake had they (a) been asked for financial disclosures and (b) had those kinds of assets. Mr. Mnuchin explained that the omission was inadvertent.
Other FMWs who will serve in the Trump cabinet include Todd Ricketts, nominated to be Deputy Commerce Secretary, who is valued at $5.3 billion, Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, valued at $5.1 billion, and Wilbur Ross, nominated to be Secretary of Commerce, who is valued at $2.5 billion.
The FMW who will rule the United States, (together with Mr. Trump) once they are confirmed, are not merely the wealthiest cabinet ever assembled by any president, they are also the smartest. At the lunch he hosted at the Trump International Hotel to honor his nominees, he let it be known, without citing sources, that: “We have by far the highest IQ of any Cabinet ever assembled.” Unable to resist a bit of self-adulation he commented on the hotel in which the lunch was taking place, saying: “This is a gorgeous room. A total genius must have built this place.” And the proud mention of the gorgeous hotel brings us to another part of his speech.
Halfway through were references not to the FMW, but to American families and workers. The Trump said: “Every decision on trade, on taxes. . . .will be made to benefit American workers and American families. . . . I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never ever let you down. . . .”
As of January 6, 2017, mechanics’ liens totaling more than $5 million had been filed against Trump’s new five-star hotel. Among them was AES of Laurel, Maryland that filed a lien for $2.1 million. A spokesman for the company said 45 members of its staff worked 12 hour-shifts for nearly 50 consecutive days so that the hotel could open on schedule. It is likely that the workers are proud to have been part of this singular Trumpian achievement and the only thing that prevents them from full enjoyment is the fact that some of them have not been paid. Not that that has been unusual in the world of Trump business. The companies he has run have taken bankruptcy six times. The people who were left holding the bags are the people to whom Mr. Trump promised: “I will never ever let you down.” He was of course, speaking prospectively since even a man of his conceit must have, hidden in the dim recesses of his memory, recollection of the thousands of people who helped make him wealthy but were never rewarded for contributing to his enormous wealth.
The Trump organization commented on the liens that have been filed against the company saying the filing “of nominal liens at the conclusion of construction is not uncommon as part of the close out process.” A Trump spokesman may consider a $2 million dollar debt a nominal amount. Many FMWs do not. The statement offers an insight into how the Trump does business.
Mr. Trump’s speech was an insult to the past presidents sitting nearby on the platform and to the millions of people across the land who have worked to make the country what it in fact now is rather than what the self-aggrandizing Trump through his distorted vision sees.
The best evaluation of the speech at its conclusion was given by former president George W. Bush. As he was leaving the inauguration he was approached by a reporter who said: “What did you think of the speech President Bush?” “Good to see ya,” was the former president’s reply.