November 21, 2020

Chumps for Trump

“This year will mark the 73rd year of the pardoning, and whether Trump finally admits it, it will indeed be the last of this presidency.” - CNN Politics Online, Nov 18th, on the annual Presidential “pardon” of the Thanksgiving turkey.


Really? The last pardon of Donald Trump’s presidency? Doubt it. Watch for Trump to try to pardon one more turkey - himself - before he leaves office.


The recent election and its run-up cost $14 billion. Last  August - August! - Trump said: “The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged.” Three months out and he was already declaring fraud if he lost. 


He lost. And hoodwinked his supporters. They just don’t know it, yet. Fraud? When you’re a cheater, you assume everyone else cheats, too.


He’s blocking Biden’s transition into the White House (I beg your pardon. I never promised you the Rose Garden ...). We’ve all been relegated to the audience of the Daily Donald Show: How mean and petty will this thug and bully get? How loud will his tantrums and outrage be this time? When will riots break out? How much has he spent so far on doomed, baseless lawsuits and recounts? 


In my opinion, those suits are little more than a distraction - one of those “bright, shiny objects” the media’s always talking about.


The real object? Peeling a few dollars from the mesmerized chumps in his thrall; playing the pea-and-shell game with debt; arranging pardons for his family; giving democracy and soon-to-be President Joe Biden the finger; and giving the Courts the slip. 


No matter what, the chumps for Trump will stand by their man. He needs them to validate his importance; they need him to validate theirs. 


Long after he’s gone, when the gawking, paying chumplet in all of us tours the “former” Trump tower and the “former” Mar-a-Lago and the “former” Trump golf courses, I’m guessing it’ll be the gold toilets we stare at longest, pondering all the crap this amoral charlatan flushed down.


That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.


© Nicole Parton, 2020

November 16, 2020

The Crazed, the Crisis, and the Cult of Donald Trump

If Donald Trump were to fall on his head (clunk!); pardon himself for all past and future crimes; wheedle that he wants to play with “that big red button;” and start signing blank proclamations with “Forever, The Don;” his Republican enablers might roll their eyes with one of those “Oh, you kidder!” looks. 


But if Trump began singing “We Are the World;” conceded the best man won the election and “I ain’t it;” recanted every conspiracy theory he’d ever absorbed, retold, and retweeted; embraced fair-minded media outlets; told Rosie O’Donnell he respected her; told Melania he loved her; told Putin, Kim, Xi, and other dictators the bromance was over; apologized to every person, corporation, and agency he’d ever hurt, lied, cheated, unfairly fired, or otherwise trashed …  


If he did that and restored every international treaty from which he’d precipitously withdrawn; every diplomatic relationship he’d ended in a fit of pique; admitted he’s not the brightest bulb in the chandelier; trusted reason, science, and the wisdom of daily briefings; and (oh-h-h-h, yes-s-s-s!) admitted Don Jr.’s an angry jerk, Rudy’s a nutter, Dr. Scott Atlas is out of his depth, and he (the 45th President of the United States) has been an incompetent loon since Day One as well as being a danger to the free world ...


Well ... If Trump did this and more, those same Republican enablers might shake in their shoes, knowing the jig is up. 


Say bye-bye, Donald. Time to put on your big boy pants and stop being such a cry-baby.

November 14, 2020

Bula! Bula!

 They say everyone has a first time. You’re sure you’ll look “different” - and that every stranger in the street will know you’ve performed “the act.” Guilt sets in. You confide in a friend, later thinking: “What if she tells someone? I don’t want everyone else to know!”

But they will know.  When I colored my hair last month, everyone knew. That’s because a scar like a train track winds around my head. My naturally brown hair normally hides this scar, but the track turned Roadkill-Red two seconds after I applied a color billed as having (1) “light reddish tones” and being (2) “PERMANENT.”   


“ACK! ACK!” I thought, washing and scrubbing with a fervor I haven’t felt since Mike Goepel planted one on my lips in Grade 7.


Grabbing Himself’s 30-year-old bula towel (his beloved memory of Fiji) to dry my hair, I noticed large swaths of the towel had turned purple. 


“It’ll come out in the wash!” I nervously reassured myself. The word “PERMANENT” again coming to mind, it didn’t. Skilfully folding the purple parts, I hid the towel under a suitcase. 


Himself loves this towel the way he loves me - unconditionally, despite its age and frayed edges. It didn’t take long before he asked: “Where’s my bula towel?” I would have casually taken my leave at that point, but “bula” means “hi” in Fijian. 


“Dunno … Haven’t seen it!” Which, while this wasn’t exactly true, it wasn’t exactly a lie, the towel being outa-sight-outa-mind, under the suitcase. 


Himself probably sniffed the lingering odor of argan and wheat germ oils the package promised in either or all the developer cream, colorant cream, and color care conditioner in the product, because he started hunting.


Who reads package fronts (or side or backs, for that matter)? Not me. But I was reading them no-o-w … The words on the package that stuck with me were those very oils. 


With no idea what argan and wheat germ oils were, I looked them up. 


“Does wheat germ make you poop?” someone asked Google. I’m not sure the question or its reply were relevant, but here goes: 


“Along with endosperm (endo- wha-a-a?), germ and bran make up a whole grain, providing the fiber necessary for a healthy intestinal bacteria balance that turns your digestive tract into a pooping powerhouse.”


I definitely did not want to become a “pooping powerhouse.”


Argan oil? “Four wheat germ oil alternatives … purchased from a local supermarket in Hawaii, were added to a fruit fly liquid larval diet as a replacement for wheat germ oil in the rearing of fruit fly larvae.” 


Fruit flies? Endosperm? A pooping powerhouse? I don’t … want … to know.


At that very moment, I heard Himself scream: “My bula towel! My bula towel!” It was the sound of rage fueled by grief. He must have looked under the suitcase.

November 11, 2020

Propaganda and the Presidency

What’s on my mind?


“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country …” - Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States (in an essay originally published in Metropolitan Magazine, May 1918). 


“Operation Warp Speed, launched in May, is a massive scientific, industrial, + logistical endeavor unlike anything seen since the Manhattan Project …” - @IvankaTrump, Nov. 9, 2020 tweet 


The mid- July, 1945 Manhattan Project was the first detonation of a nuclear weapon - Wikipedia 


“70 million pissed off republicans and not one city burned to the ground.” - @DonaldJTrumpJr, Nov. 7, 2020 pinned tweet


Numerous retweets about “voter suppression, irregularities, and fraud” as well as a website and phone number to “Tell us what you are seeing … Report a case.” - @EricTrump - Nov. 10 retweet


“It’s all starting to crumble” - @EricTrump - Nov. 10 tweet 


URGENT: We Will Not Win in Georgia Unless YOU Get Involved, Call the Governor NOW” - @seanhannity, Fox News journalist, Nov. 10 tweet


And this, on the Twitter account of Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States, Nov. 10, with a cautionary note from Twitter: 




Trump has tweeted versions of this over and over. It’s the old story: When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When you're a cheater, everyone looks like a cheater.


And also this, from a Republican friend in Washington state.

“I knew a 28-year-old who got COVID and died on the 15th day. I knew a woman who was perfectly healthy and died in less than a week. The virus is real and it’s dangerous.”

Her brother and sister-in-law believe masks, social distancing and COVID are fake. Hardline Trump supporters, they also believe the election was stolen.


© Nicole Parton, 2020

October 31, 2020

Drawing the Line

Lines??? Who sez I have to write lines if its tru? 

(Oh … You do.)

Your not the boss of me!

(Oh … Your the boss of me.) 

won’t stay after school! I won’t! I won’t!  

(Oh … I’ll show you! Hee-hee!)  


The Prezdent is not a dummy.

The Prezdent is not a dummy. 

The Prezdent is not a dummy.

The Prezdent is not a dummy.

The Prezdent is not a dummy.

The Prezdent is not a dummy.

The Prezdent is not a dummy.

The Prezdent is not a dummy.

The Prezdent is not a dummy.

The Prezdent is not a dummy.

The Prezdent is not a dummy.

The Prezdent is not a dummy.

The Prezdent is not a dummy.

The Prezdent is not a dummy.

The Prezdent is not a dummy.

The Prezdent is not a dummy.

The Prezdent is not a dummy.

The Prezdent is ...


© Nicole Parton, 2020 

October 30, 2020

How Will I Ever Look at America the Same Way Again?

What’s on my mind?

Always a source of outstanding writing, yesterday’s New York Times has once again excelled. With the US Presidential election four days away, opinion writer Frank Bruni looks inward, at the heart and soul of the nation. The title of this republished post is his. I apologize that the links in Bruni’s column didn’t make it into this post. Blame Blogger for that; the links appear on my draft - NP 


It’s always assumed that those of us who felt certain of Hillary Clinton’s victory in 2016 were putting too much trust in polls.


I was putting too much trust in Americans.


I’d seen us err. I’d watched us stray. Still I didn’t think that enough of us would indulge a would-be leader as proudly hateful, patently fraudulent and flamboyantly dishonest as Donald Trump.


We had episodes of ugliness, but this? No way. We were better than Trump.


Except, it turned out, we weren’t.


Never mind that the Russians gave him a boost. Or that he lost the popular vote. Some 46 percent of the Americans who cast ballots for president in 2016 picked him, and as he moved into the White House and proceeded to soil it, most of those Americans stood by him solidly enough that Republicans in Congress didn’t dare to cross him and in fact went to great, conscience-immolating lengths to prop him up. These lawmakers weren’t swooning for a demagogue. They were reading the populace.


And it was a populace I didn’t recognize, or at least didn’t want to.


What has Trump’s presidency taken from us? I’m reasonably sure that many Americans feel the same loss that I do, and I’m struggling to assign just one word to it.


Innocence? Optimism? Faith? Go to the place on the Venn diagram where those states of mind overlap. That’s the piece of me now missing when I look at this beloved country of mine.


Trump snuffed out my confidence, flickering but real, that we could go only so low and forgive only so much. With him we went lower - or at least a damningly large percentage of us did. In him we forgave florid cruelty, overt racism, rampant corruption, exultant indecency, the coddling of murderous despots, the alienation of true friends, the alienation of truth itself, the disparagement of invaluable institutions, the degradation of essential democratic traditions.


He played Russian roulette with Americans’ lives. He played Russian roulette with his own aides’ lives. In a sane and civil country, of the kind I long thought I lived in, his favorability ratings would have fallen to negative integers, a mathematical impossibility but a moral imperative. In this one, they never changed all that much.


Polls from mid-October showed that about 44 percent of voters approved of Trump’s job performance — and this was after he’d concealed aspects of his coronavirus infection from the public, shrugged off the larger meaning of it, established the White House as its own superspreader environment and cavalierly marched on.


Forty-four percent. Who in in God’s name are we? I’m not forgetting pre-Trump American history. I’m not erasing hundreds of years of slavery, the internment of Japanese Americans, the many kinds of discrimination that have flourished in my own lifetime, all the elections in which we Americans made stupid choices and all the presidents who did “un-American” things. We’re a grossly imperfect country, our behavior at frequent odds with our ideals. 


But for every abomination, I could name a moment of grace. For many of our sins, stabs at atonement. We demonstrated a yearning to correct our mistakes and, I think, a tropism toward goodness. On balance we were open, generous. When I traveled abroad, people from other countries routinely complimented Americans for that. They experienced us as arrogant, but also as special.


Now they just pity us.


How much of this can we pin on Trump? Not as much as we try to. And oh, how we’ve tried. This obsession of the news media and his detractors with every last eccentricity and inanity isn’t just about keeping a complete record, I’ve come to realize. It’s also a deflection, an evasion: If he gets the whole of the stage, then Americans’ complicity and collaboration are shoved into the wings.


And the freakier we make him out to be, the less emblematic he is. The more he becomes a random, isolated event. We emphasized what a vanquishable opponent Hillary Clinton was because that diminished the significance of the vanquishing and the vanquisher. We spoke of a perfect storm of circumstances that led to his election as a way of disowning the weather.


We cheered on Robert Mueller’s investigation not just because it might hold Trump and his wretched accomplices to account but also because it might explain him away, proving that he reached the White House by cheating, not because he was what nearly half of the country decided that they wanted.We tried to make him a one-and-done one-off. But deep into his presidency, when his execrable character had been fully exposed, his Fox News cheerleaders continued to draw huge audiences for their sycophantic panegyrics.


Trump himself continued to attract big crowds to his rallies, like the one in Greenville, N.C., in July 2019, when he pressed his attack on four Democratic congresswomen of color, including Representative Ilhan Omar, who immigrated from Somalia. Egged on by him, his audience chanted: “Send her back! Send her back!” He stopped speaking to give those words room, and he soaked them in.


Or what about the recent rally in Muskegon, Mich., where he freshly assailed the state’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer, despite the fact that his obsessive denunciations of her had possibly been a factor in an alleged plot by 14 men to kidnap her? “Lock her up!” many of the attendees bellowed, to Trump’s obvious amusement.


Again, how has his approval rating not fallen to negative integers?


I’m not saying that support for him is spun entirely of malice or bias. Keen economic anxiety and profound political estrangement are why many voters turned to him, as my Times colleague Farah Stockman explained especially well in a recent editorial that was set in America’s disheartened heartland. “Even false hope,” she noted, “is a form of hope, perhaps the most ubiquitous kind.”


The headline on the article was “Why They Loved Him.” But why haven’t more of them stopped loving him? And how did so many Americans beyond that group fall so hard for him, thrilling to his recklessness, applauding his divisiveness, indulging his unscrupulousness? He tapped into more cynicism and nihilism than this land of boundless tomorrows was supposed to contain.


He tapped into more conspiratorialism, too. And I do mean “tapped.” Trump didn’t draw out anything that wasn’t already there, burbling beneath the surface.

He didn’t sire white supremacists. He didn’t script the dark fantasies of QAnon. He didn’t create all the Americans who rebelled against protective masks and mocked those who wore them, a selfish mind-set that helps explain our tragic lot. It just flourished under him.


And it will almost certainly survive him. The foul spirit of these past five years — I’m including his hateful campaign — has been both pervasive and strangely proud. That’s what makes it different. That’s what makes it so chilling.


I could be overreacting. Maybe, just ahead, there will be moments of grace, enough of them to redeem us. Maybe I’ll look up on or after Nov. 3 and see that Biden has won North Carolina, has won Michigan, has won every closely contested state and the presidency in a landslide. Maybe I’ll have to eat my words.


Please, my fellow Americans, feed me my words. I’d relish that meal.


© Frank Bruni, The New York Times, Oct. 29, 2020


The author of three best-selling books, Frank Bruni has been with The Times since 1995. After holding a variety of posts, Bruni became a columnist in 2011. 

October 29, 2020

Whoosh!

Hey, you! Lighten up! Your thoughts are in a negative loop. 


Yes, the virus sucks. Yes, this is a time for worry and sadness. Your inner adult knows that, but your inner child wants to rebel. Sorry, kid, that big anniversary party needs to wait. Unfortunately, honey, this isn’t the year to take that exotic vacation. If you don’t curb your impulses, that party or vacay may be the last you and those you love ever have.  


Yes, you still need to nurture your inner child, and yes, you still need to live your life, but do it safely. Learn to use video-chat ... Explore new hobbies … Return to old ones … Call a friend to ask: “Howya doin’?” … Donate to the food bank … There are plenty of ways to connect without actually “being there” in the time of COVID. Consider what works for you. Then do it!


I firmly believe most of us are dorks under the skin. We do and say unintended things that look and sound silly. There are glimmers of light even in a time of tragedy. There are times to shake your head and think: “Dork!” Look at yourself in the mirror. Lighten up! 


If you aren’t already doing it, smile at yourself - not in an “I’m such a useless person ...” way, but in a head-shaking, self-amused way. Get in touch with your feelings. Ask yourself: “Howya doin’?” If you can answer: “I’m doing the best I can” ... Give yourself permission to feel okay about that.


This health crisis will get better. But we all need to do our part - you, me, our families, our friends, our co-workers, our elected representatives … everyone.  


Turning the corner? Not yet. But we will if we all pull together ... Wear a mask. Keep a 6 ft. (2 m) distance ... Maintain your safe “bubble.” Wash your hands - often! Don’t attend large social gatherings - especially indoors. 


Being depressed, angry, sad, and scared is normal. I sometimes ride the same roller-coaster. Doing even a small good deed for someone else will lift your spirits. Kindness will help you cope. Finding the smile hidden under the sadness will make you feel better, even if momentarily.


Here’s a calming exercise to help in moments of crisis. Don’t rush through it. Don’t expect to master it immediately. Take your time. Trust me … It will help. It takes only a couple of minutes. Read it over until you “get it.” Then do it.


Turn off the TV. Set aside any distractions. Get comfortable on the couch or in your favorite quiet place. Use a pillow or a warm blanket if that helps.


Close your eyes. Empty your mind. Sit or lie quietly until you’re ready to do more. Your eyes are getting heavy. Close them. Focus on your breath. Nothing more. 


Breathe in through the nose, and WHOOSH! Out through the mouth … 


Focus on the slow rhythm of your breath. Slowly, slowly … 


In through the nose ... Out through the mouth …


Empty your mind. Your thoughts are floating away like soap bubbles. Hear them pop. Keep your eyes closed. Focus on your breath. Nothing more. 


In through the nose ... WHOOSH! Out through the mouth …


Nothing more. 


In through the nose ... Out through the mouth …


Focus on your breath.


In through the nose ... WHOOSH! 


Do this for two minutes. Open your eyes. If you feel it’s necessary, do it a little longer.


Rest. Remain in your comfortable sofa or chair. Listen to quiet, relaxing music. Calm your anxious mind. Things will get better.


Focus on your breath. 


In through the nose ... Out through the mouth … 


Done.


Do this again, the next time you feel stressed. Now get on with your life. A crisis is an event that doesn’t go on forever. This will not go on forever. Despite those dark clouds, the sun will shine again.

© Nicole Parton, 2020 

October 28, 2020

In Donald Trump’s World, Everything’s Fake News

The coronavirus hit 8,835,861 cases in the US earlier today. Actually, that’s no longer true. As I prepare to file this post at not quite 8:30 pm PST, worldometers.info reports the number of cases now stands at 9,120,751. The pandemic is increasing by 70,000 new US cases daily; by the Nov. 3 election, the daily tally is expected to hit 80,000. Nearly 1,000 Americans die of COVID-19 every day.

The US has had more than 500,000 new cases in the past week. To date, the pandemic has caused more than 227,409 American deaths - nearly four times the number of American soldiers who died or went missing as a result of the Vietnam war. By theelection, the virus will have killed nearly four times as many Americans as the number of American soldiers killed in battle during WW II.


In Donald Trump’s world, everything’s fake news. 


The US leads the world with the highest number of coronavirus cases and the total number of deaths-per-million.


In a late-September news story, The Washington Post reported that the number of US coronavirus deaths stood at 200,000. Trump’s reply: “It’s a shame.”  


A shame ... Death is just a number. Fill in the blank as the number rises. Death isn’t someone’s child, or granny, or uncle, or wife, or brother. It’s a number … Death is just a number. 


Trump’s view: “That’s all I hear about now. That’s all I hear. Turn on the television … ‘COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID.’ A plane goes down, 500 people dead, they don't talk about it … ‘COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID.’ By the way, on November 4 you won’t hear about it, anymore.”


In Donald Trump’s world, everything’s fake news.


All across the USA, you’ll find T-shirts and masks emblazoned F*CK FA*CI, HOAX, FAKE NEWS, DEFUND THE MEDIA, and MIND CONTROL. 


Politico, a reputable online news agency, this week reported that the Trump administration’s science policy office ranked “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” at the top of the list of Trump’s first-term achievements. 


Forget the balloons and party horns. There’s not a scintilla of truth to the claim. 


In Donald Trump’s world, everything’s fake news.


As Trump recently said: “People are tired of hearing (respected epidemiolist Anthony) Fauci and all these idiots, these people, these people that have gotten it wrong. Fauci’s a nice guy, he’s been here for 500 years, he called every one of them [Fauci’s predictions about the virus] wrong.”


And son-in-law Jared Kushner? Here’s what he told author Bob Woodward in a recently released recording: “Trump’s now back in charge; it’s not the doctors.”


Still playing the sympathy card, Trump continued: “People are tired of COVID. I have the biggest rallies I’ve ever had, and we have COVID … People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone. They’re tired of it. People are tired of hearing Fauci.”


In Donald Trump’s world, everything’s fake news. And death is just a number.


© Nicole Parton, 2020

October 25, 2020

A Trump-Free Future - Starring Donald J. Trump

What’s on my mind? Here’s what a friend posists about the upcoming US election, with input from Himself and from me. 


• Trump loses. 

• Widespread civil war breaks out.

• In a rambling speech littered with dog whistles and unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud, Trump resigns.

• Pence becomes interim President. 

• Pence pardons Trump for alleged high crimes and misdemeanors. 

• Barr supports the blanket pardon, which he helped craft.

• The Trumps and Kushner leave the building - heads down, spirits up. The FU factor is high on all sides.

• In an emergency sitting, the federal and Supreme Courts uphold Pence’s controversial pardon.

• In a move months in the making, Trump seamlessly announces the Trump TV channel, streaming to a platform near you. One of the first people onboard is former Fox, NBC, and podcast star Megyn Kelly, who of late has been praising Trump on social media. 


So whaddya think?


© Nicole Parton, 2020

October 23, 2020

Women and the Tortured Mind of Donald J. Trump

Watch the women: They include the white suburbanites President Donald Trump so desperately wants to win over. And esteemed television interviewers Leslie Stahl and Kristen Welker. And all the “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals” - to quote Trump’s words for the exhaustive list of women he dislikes. 

Keep your eye on those women. Watch as they and those who went before and those yet to feel his wrath hold their heads high as the misogynist-in-chief attacks them. Keep your eye on first lady Melania Trump and former second lady Jill Biden, too. More about them in a moment.

What’s the deal with Trump’s repeated attacks on women? Mid-September national polling showed nearly half of suburban women don’t like Donald Trump, believing he’s made their communities less safe.


“Women …” Trump begins at an Oct. 19 rally in Arizona. “I like women (growly voice) … Women … You used to call them suburban housewives. I’d better go [stet] politically correct.” 


He reels them in with the natural-born skill of a carnival barker:  “Is there one woman here that minds being called a ‘suburban housewife’?”  


A scattering of voices: “No!” 


Physical attraction aside, Trump doesn’t attack women if he wants something - and what he wants from these suburbanite women is the bump he needs in the polls. And so, as he’s done for months, he recites his not-always-coherent law-and-order sales pitch, claiming that under a President Joe Biden, “low-income housing (will) be built right next to your America’s dream.” 


The picture he paints is that crime and “these ANTIFA people and the radical left” will move in to “destroy these incredible communities …”


He flirts, he cajoles, he flatters, he threatens, he pleads … Anything to win their votes. A CNN fact-check of Trump’s repeated theme to suburbanites was that “parts of this are extremely misleading, while others are blatantly false.”


In 2015/16, the first time this creep ran for the Presidency, GQ Britain magazine questioned if Trump had retweeted a cover shot of a naked Melania taken in 2000, before the Trumps were married.  


The photos were shot on Trump’s private jet. As a woman, I recognize that Melania Trump’s elegance and tact long ago surpassed her modeling career. Surely, the photos are a lingering embarrassment for her. As the world’s most powerful man, Trump could surely have them struck from the Internet. Why he hasn’t, mystifies me.


Trump tweeted at least twice that Melania had posed for GQ, doubtless prompting a run on that particular back issue of the magazine. This strikes me as the coup de grâce in Trump’s Cruelty to Women campaign.


(When Melania vanished with a rumored kidney procedure, Trump seemed to go out of his way to comment that “Some people say it was plastic surgery, but ...”).


On Thursday, after becoming annoyed with seasoned anchor Leslie Stahl’s line of questioning, Trump stalked off the set mid-interview, during the taping of Sunday evening’s 60 Minutes


Trump then posted his own video of the show to Facebook, urging his followers to “look at the bias, hatred and rudeness on behalf of 60 Minutes and CBS.” In walking out, he gave one of the nation’s most popular news programs heightened status for the show on which he was appearing and - not unimportantly - gave himself a flurry of furious headlines less than two weeks before the US election. 


Was the walk-out a strategic publicity ploy? Or was Trump aggrieved with good reason? Even Trump may not know, anger being his go-to response.


Trump wasn’t finished. In trashing 60 Minutes and Stahl on Facebook, Trump took a swing at the moderator of that night’s Presidential debate: “Kristen Welker is far worse!” Slam, bam, no thank you, ma’am.


Having steadily criticized Welker days in advance of the debate, Trump knowingly or unknowingly constructed a plausible “out” should he lose: “She’s always been terrible and unfair, just like most of the Fake News reporters, but I’ll still play the game,” he tweeted.  


Trump had already called Welker “extraordinarily unfair … a disaster ... totally partisan ... very biased … a radical left Democrat, or whatever she is.” To seal the deal, Trump said Welker had been “screaming questions at me for a long time. She’s no good.”


Elsewhere, Trump twice commented that Welker’s parents “supported the Democrats” and had contributed to the Democratic National Convention as well as to Biden’s campaign.


Welker wasnt fazed. Her unflappable, even-handed fairness during the debate was widely praised. Although it’s not in the official debate transcripts, Trump headed straight for moderator Welker’s desk in the pre-debate moments after he walked onstage. Despite the hubbub of debate prep, a single camera caught what happened next. 


In a low voice, Trump told Welker he knew about a meeting she’d had at (I believe the time was - NP) 6:15. Staring closely into Welker’s face, he added: “You both want me to lose.” The chilling subtext: I know where you go. I know who you see. I know what you say. I know where your parents go. I know who they see. I know what they say.


Returning to her notes, Welker carried on, seemingly unrattled.


That Trump would approach the woman moderating the debate comes as no surprise. That he would make a covert comment she wouldn’t forget is also not surprising. That such a comment would unnerve many women and intimidate others is just the way he rolls ... It’s not his fault, is it? 


Trump is a bully, and bullies are cowards at heart. Decent men do not normally perceive strong women as “enemies.” Donald Trump does. 


And Melania? Post-debate, the first lady strode onstage for the mandatory show of support and congratulations. Where Jill Biden flung herself into husband Joe’s arms, Melania was cool, aloof, and dressed entirely in black. One fashion writer described the effect as “somber.” 


Melania’s monochrome dress drew attention to her red-soled, Christian Louboutin black patent leather shoes. These are expensive shoes; elitist shoes; shoes with a sharply pointed toe box and 4.7 in. knife-sharp stiletto heels; shoes that squash the toes and squish the foot. These are not “We the people …” shoes.  


As the Trumps exited the stage hand-in-hand, Melania yanked her arm forward, releasing Trump’s grip. Walking ahead, she turned her back on the President of the United States. In turn, he gave her a little “back pat” that might have unbalanced a woman less accustomed to impossibly precarious shoes that make a “statement.” 


A friend once described such stilettos as “F*ck Me” shoes. In choosing to walk alone, Melania’s statement was a resounding “F*ck You.”


© Nicole Parton, 2020