Translating Trump: Julius, Jokes, and Mount Rushmore
A quick hit on a small story about a big ego.
Julius Caesar, the first post-republic ruler of the Roman Empire, was several times offered a crown by Marcus Antonius, and each time waved it away. A crown? What, like kings wear? Romans didn’t need kings! He was the first citizen among citizens! Rome’s protector!
Donald Trump has cut this kind of grift to the absolute bone in terms of ruthless efficiency, while also making the subtext into hypertext: hey, if you think about it, maybe the guy who refuses to be king should be king, right?
This is not the first time that Donald has floated something, then shot down the rumors that he did when the story breaks in a negative light, but in the midst of shooting it down confirmed that yes, he does very much want to do this thing.
I have no idea what kind of day-by-day traction a story about Trump wanting to put his face on Mount Rushmore is going to hold in our currently packed news cycle, but just like every other idea Trump floated and then appeared to withdraw, I don’t expect this to be the last time it comes up.
The thing that he realizes about sending up trial balloons that most politicians haven’t is: balloons are cheap. And the other thing is, eventually people get sick of shooting them down. Each time it’s proposed, it becomes more normal of an idea to talk about. The general impression of, “Well, of course he wants his face on Mount Rushmore” means that opposition to it becomes increasingly muted and scattered.
If this conversation continues, one thing I definitely expect to see? Republicans defending the “Sounds like a good idea to me!” endorsement as an obvious joke that lefties and liberals predictably fell for… and then, as Trump did, immediately affirming that it does sound like a good idea.