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That’ll Leave a Mark


Reporters and pundits spend a lot of time wondering aloud about what motivates Trump. Is he really racist? What are his core beliefs? Does he have any at all?

I really enjoyed this piece in The Baffler because it pretty artfully cuts through all the bullcrap and gets to what’s at the core of Trump. There’s not much there, really. It’s basically just a narcissistic asshole all the way through.

The dogs are inarguably inconvenienced by these cones, which is their purpose: the cones are prescribed by veterinarians because saying things like “I’ll need you to try avoid licking these stitches for a week” or “I’m going to ask you to stop gnawing on that bacterial infection on your ass” is not going to work. The dogs do not like this, and they also may not like engaging with their peer-dogs while wearing a goofy blunderbuss that keeps them from their habitual introductory b-hole assessments and self-administered kamikaze junk ablutions. But at some point there’s no real sense in guessing. You have probably gathered that this is about Donald Trump.

It is not quite fair to say that Donald Trump lacks core beliefs, but to the extent that we can take apart these beliefs they amount to Give Donald Trump Your Money and Donald Trump Should Really Be on Television More. The only comprehensible throughline to his politics is that everything Trump says is something he’s said previously, with additional very’s and more-and-more’s appended over time; his worldview amounts to the sum of the dumb shit he saw on the cover of the New York Post in 1985, subjected to a few decades of rancid compounding interest and deteriorating mental aptitude. He watches a lot of cable news, but he struggles to follow even stories that have been custom built for people like him—old, uninformed, amorphously if deeply aggrieved.

Trump now “executes” by way of the The Junior Soprano Method. When he senses that his staff is trying to get him to do one thing, Trump defiantly does the opposite; otherwise he bathes in the commodified reactionary grievance of partisan media, looking for stories about himself. It takes days for his oafish and overmatched handlers to coax him into even a coded and qualified criticism of neo-Nazis, and an instant for him to willfully undo it. Of course he brings more vigor to the latter than the former; he doesn’t really understand why he had to do the first thing, but he innately and deeply understands why he did the second. The first is invariably about someone else—some woman, there was a car accident, like during or maybe after that thing—and therefore, as an asshole, he does not and cannot really care about it. The second is about him and therefore, as an asshole, he really, really does.


Please don’t let David Roth ever write anything about me.

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