Donald Trump’s presidency feels a lot like a hangover (politically speaking) that has only made the headaches more worse as time goes on.
It was 1989 when I first endured the unbearable head pounding sensation caused by the tanned man who would someday, unbeknownst to the world, become president of the United States. Trump had taken out a full-page ad in the New York Daily News, calling for the death penalty to be brought back in New York State as punishment for the five men of color who would later be proven to be falsely convicted for the horrific rape and assault of a female jogger in Central Park.
Fast forward nearly 30 years later, and Trump is yet again embroiled in controversy over race and politics in America. His Charlottesville comments left the country collectively shaking its head in disbelief as he used his press conference to espouse lies rather than facts. When addressing why he took so long to speak against neo-Nazis marching on the campus of the University of Virginia he argued that “there was no way of making a correct statement that early…I had to see the facts.”
But when did Trump ever care about facts? Facts are solid. They are correct, and they speak the truth. Trump hates facts. They are the enemy, or as he calls it: “fake news.” He’s given us one lightening speed clapback tweet after another, never really taking time to think, but on Charlottesville his silence was deafening.
You can rest assure that bigots everywhere feel incredibly emboldened after Trump laid equal blame for the Charlottesville tragedy at the feet of both white nationalists and anti-racist, counter protesters. You embrace the Alt-right on one hand and call for the unity of our nation on the other? Yeah, I’m having a hangover for sure.
How many presidents have gotten a shout out from a celebrated former KKK grand wizard? For the first time in modern presidential history we have a nazi sympathizer in the Oval Office. What a sad day for America.
But as evidenced from his 1989 witch hunt of a newspaper ad and his xenophobic presidential campaign, Trump has been race baiting for years, so much so that “professional race baiter” is probably written on his business card. In addition to his inability to call out racism, Trump has very warped views on race and the lives of minority people. Evidenced by his obsession with Chicago’s violence, he thinks we “the blacks” all live on one long street somewhere in the ghetto, where nobody works, where it’s always cloudy and the street is rampant with lawlessness and crime.
It’s no surprise he would choose to stand on the side of racists.
In an attempt to legitimize white supremacists at last week’s press conference, Trump pondered to the media “what do you think about Thomas Jefferson? You like him? Are you gonna take down his statue? Because he was a major Slave owner.” Well Donald, while it’s true Jefferson was a slave owner, unlike the Confederate soldiers of the day, he didn’t choose to go to war for the sole purpose of protecting his right to own African slaves. That is a difference worth noting, though one shouldn’t even have to draw that line of distinction.
For these reasons and so many others, I have a Trump hangover and it just won’t go away; it feels like someone is inside my skull beating a steel drum to no end.
Then there was my second Trump-infused hangover in 2011 when he launched his racist birther conspiracy, telling Fox News, “I’m starting to wonder myself whether or not he was born in this country.”
It was clear even then that Barack Obama, an esteemed and accomplished African-American man, was too beloved for Trump to stomach. Too adored. Too smart. Too damn cool. Essentially all things Trump was not and never could be. To Trump (and his inflated ego), Obama was the Uppity Negro who needed to be put in his place. Why else would he make it his full-time obsession, years later as president, to attempt to obliterate Obama’s presidential legacy by reversing most, if not all, regulations passed during his eight years. And if the moniker “Obamacare” was called anything else, Trump would have hardly wasted so much political capital trying to unsuccessfully destroy it. Trump keeps diligently digging a grave for all things that even slightly remind him of the years before he assumed office. The only problem is the dirt he’s throwing out into the world is only making his own hole deeper. We are actually witnessing an unprecedented self-burial.
At the tail end of the 2016 presidential campaign trail, I experienced another Trump hangover after the leaking of his taped Access Hollywood interview with Billy Bush, in which he bragged about grabbing women by their private part. There was no statement too idiotic for this man, I learned. And while Bush disappeared into media abyss, Trump remained front and center. But just when you think he is down and finally out, he stands even taller.
The political cat with nine lives and counting.
If it is any wonder why Trump constantly invites us all to relive election night over and over, it’s because it’s his only real achievement thus far. The painful irony is that while he always and continues to cast Hillary Clinton as an American villain, a dark force entirely too corrupt to serve as our 45th president, he’s only proven himself to be the pot calling out the kettle.
In addition to the countless investigations surrounding him, his team and Russia, the White House is now being run like some kind of mom-and-pop storefront with all his family members in on the profit. Ringling Brothers circus has long since ceased its operation but a three-ring circus continues to perform at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and the ringmaster is the leader of the free world.
The mother of all hangovers came on the evening of Nov. 8, 2016 as it occurred to me that enough of the population had drank Trump’s political concoction. And now here we all are suffering because of it. After one failure after another, America is finally starting to awaken. And the sick nauseous feeling of disgust and shame is the price for being seduced by the best political conman to ever grace the national stage.
So let us pick our poison. Whether it be Russian Collusion, the new war on drugs, rolling back affirmative action, squashing LGBTQ rights, whatever one’s drink of choice, they all contain a deadly Trump serum capable of producing a hangover so severe, it’s bound to make you realize that voting in the next election cycle is the only sure-fire remedy to rid us of this ridiculous hangover.
Derrick Thompson is graduate of Columbia University and a Texas native who spent 18 years as the SR VP of Talent at BMG Music Publishing. He now resides in Newark, NJ and works in TV writing, currently developing a comedy titled ROMP. Thompson also serves on the Influencer Advisory Board at the boutique ad agency Sparks & Honey.