The angry orange man in the bathrobe

February 14, 2017 Originally published on SFGate

If it wasn’t for the brazen white nationalism and the oozing bigotry, if it wasn’t for the hissing misogyny and cruel misprision, if it wasn’t for the possible Russian hookers, the tacky national security breaches and the massive (hidden) tax evasion…

If it wasn’t for Pence, Ryan, McConnell and the rest of the spineless Republican Party stabbing out their own eyeballs for another dirty syringe of Trump’s fascist heroin…

If it wasn’t for Steve “Destroy the State” Bannon, Scott “Gut the EPA” Pruitt and Betsy “What’s Public School?” DeVos and two dozen other billionaire hacks/Wall Street slitherins rushing to gorge themselves on the Treasury and the social safety net…

If it wasn’t for the vicious devaluation of science, the shrugging dismissal of education, the stubby orange middle finger to the environment…

If it wasn’t for the abuse of immigrants, the willful destruction of affordable health care and the sexist attack on women’s rights…

If it wasn’t for all of that (and more), the image of old-man Trump – bloated, choleric, orange as a bad ‘80s spray tan, disconnected from his army of paranoid white male fanatics as he shuffles around a mostly empty West Wing in his enormous bathrobe, all alone because his listless wife detests him and he has no friends and even his (terrifically awful) kids think he’s a bit of a ogre…

The image of old man Trump, yelling at the TV and jabbing his finger into his Twitter app and grunting to his lone bodyguard about how much he hates his new job and resents his new boss (that’s us) and wishes he was back grabbing pussies at the Miss America pageant…

This disturbing portrait of the president, one recently painted (and quickly made viral) by the New York Times, might – might – make Trump almost appear sort of… sad. Oddly pathetic. Deserving of empathy, even.

Usually around 6:30 p.m., or sometimes later, Mr. Trump retires upstairs to the residence to recharge, vent and intermittently use Twitter. With his wife, Melania, and young son, Barron, staying in New York, he is almost always by himself, sometimes in the protective presence of his imposing longtime aide and former security chief, Keith Schiller. When Mr. Trump is not watching television in his bathrobe or on his phone reaching out to old campaign hands and advisers, he will sometimes set off to explore the unfamiliar surroundings of his new home.

But of course, it deserves no such thing. Not now. Not yet. Probably not for roughly one million more days. There is simply too much at stake.

Have you noticed? We’re almost a month in to the darkest chapter in modern American history and still there exists not a single truly inspiring, hopeful or genuinely kind image, video clip, intimate detail from the White House. All we have instead is horror, dread, a near-constant barrage of this-can’t-be-happening.

There is Trump, not reassuringly greeting foreign dignitaries. There is the president, not playfully meeting the children of his staff, not catching the tender eye of his wife, not inspiring enthusiasm in his team, not appearing in any way thoughtfully engaged with the world around him.

Our international posture has become that of a schizophrenic goblin: one part jowly scowl, one part petulant leer, all bombast and bleat and whining, in public, about loser department stores, made-up voter fraud, “dishonest” coverage of revolting cabinet appointees and “unfair” portrayals on sketch comedy shows. Meanwhile, the world vomits.

We have Russian-Compromised Business Grandpa discussing American nuclear policy at his motherf–king TACKY GOLF CLUB. GET IT?

— Eric Garland (@ericgarland) February 13, 2017

It’s become impossible to imagine a worse choice to lead the nation. Trump’s combination of ignorance, incompetence and chaotic cruelty is so diametrically opposed to the warmth, proficiency and deep intelligence Obama gave us for eight solid years, we may never recover from the whiplash.

And of course, we absolutely shouldn’t. This is not a condition we should ever normalize. We must never get used to being slammed back and forth between the poles of murderous embarrassment and horrified disgust, a moment of humiliating incompetence quickly offset by the realization that this thoroughly heartless human has access to the nuclear codes and can – and probably will – launch a war with China with a infantile 3AM tweet and pick of the nose.

This photo taken from my instagram TL seems to capture one of the moments described in this @CNN piece

— Enrique Acevedo (@Enrique_Acevedo) February 13, 2017

For anyone interested in the human capacity for compassion and empathy, the Trump administration presents a unique challenge indeed: A contemptible, savagely inept leader who, by every measure, has traded his capacity for kindness and introspection for something like infantile misanthropy and gluttonous despotism.

It can’t be easy, to wake in that furious, puffy, unhealthy body every single day, saddled to that distended, terrified ego, convinced the world is against you and the day will only be complete if you can further expand your garish wealth and engorge your power at the expense of grace, empathy or the sacred fragility of life.

It cannot be easy, in other words, to work so hard to make life so miserable for so many. But lo, they are trying. And while failure is assured, the damage done in the meantime will be substantial indeed. It already is.

Compassion can wait.

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Mark Morford

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