Re-telling the Ramp Walk in Indie Folk Style
June 23, 2020 1:25 AM   Subscribe

... So then I finish saluting my final salute, I said, “Thank goodness. Thank you very much.” Think of it. So essentially almost 600 times. Now the general says, “Sir, are you ready?” I said, “I’m ready General, where are we going now?”

You have to understand I left early in the morning to get there. Now it’s sort of late in the afternoon. A lot of these fakers were with us. So they know. He said, ”Sir, we can now leave the stage.” I said, “Great general, let’s go, I’ll follow you,” and he goes like this, “Right here, sir,” and I walked off. The stage was higher than this one and the ramp was probably 10 yards long. I say, “General.” Now you got to understand, I have the whole corps of cadets looking at me and I want them to love their president, I did this big thing. I love them, I love them. They’re incredible, and they do. I said, “General, I’ve got myself a problem, general. Because I’m wearing leather bottom shoes which is good if you’re walking on flat surfaces. It’s not good for ramps and if I fall down, look at all those press back there, look at them. This was a steel ramp, you all saw it because everybody saw it. This was a steel ramp. It had no handrail, it was like an ice skating rink, and I said, “General, I have a problem,” and he didn’t understand that at first. I said, “There’s no way.” He understood, I just saluted almost 600 times. I just made a big speech. I sat for other speeches. I’m being baked. I’m being baked like a cake. I said, “General, there’s no way I can make it down that ramp without falling on my ass, General. I have no railing.”
It’s true. So I said, “Is there like something else around?” “Sir, the ramp is ready to go.” “Grab me sir, grab me.” I didn’t really want to grab him. You know why? Because I said, “That will be a story too.” So now I have a choice. I can stay up there for another couple of hours and wait till I’m rescued or I can go down this really steep, really, really, really … It’s an ice skating rink, it’s brutal. So I said, “General, get ready because I may grab you so fast.” Because I can’t fall with the fake news watching. If I fall, if I fall, I remember when President Ford fell out of the plane, do you remember? I remember when another president, nice man, threw up in Japan, and they did slow-motion replays. It’s true, right? “I don’t want that, general.” Now he’s standing there, big strong guy, and he’s got these shoes but they’re loaded with rubber on the bottom because I looked, the first thing I did, I looked at his shoes. Then I looked at mine. Very, very slippery. So I end up saying, “Okay, general, let’s go. I will only grab you if I need you. That’s not a good story. Falling would be a disaster. It turned out to be worse than anything, I would have been better off if I fell and slid down the damn ramp. Right? So what happens is I start the journey, inch by inch, right? I was really bent over too. I didn’t like that. I didn’t like this picture. This picture I’m sure will be an ad by the fakers. So I was bent over, right? Bent over like this. Then we finally reached almost the end and the fake news, the most dishonest human beings, they cut it off. You know why? Because when I was 10 feet short, I said, “General, I’m sorry,” and I ran down the rest, right? I looked very handsome. That was the only good. I wouldn’t want to run down the whole thing because the fall there would be definitely bad. So I took these little steps, I ran down the last 10, and by the way their tape, take a look. In almost every instance, it ends just before I run, and they said, “Here was the number one trending story.”
posted by growabrain (78 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
Music: Josh Radnor.
Lyrics: The "president" of the United States.
Total speech was 14 min. 15 sec and contained 1,798 words
posted by growabrain at 1:28 AM on June 23, 2020


OMG, THAT Josh Radnor?!?
posted by rednikki at 1:35 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


So, I know that Trump is ridiculous. It's just that this whole news story about the ramp and the water is ableist in the worst way. Why are we saying that a president should have to walk a certain way, hold things a certain way? It promotes the garbage idea, perpetuated by Trump, that an able-bodied person is the only kind of person who should be in this role. Here is where purple-heart-decorated, double-amputee Senator Tammy Duckworth is on this.

The press is just reinforcing this problematic nonsense by trafficking in it. I get that it might feel satisfying to expose Trump's hypocrisy, but it's just playing the game on the field he set up, using the rules he wrote. And the outcome is that we have a goofy jokey cycle revolving around an ableist frame that no one should have agreed to in the first place.

Apologies in advance for yucking anyone's yum on this. Of course Trump deserves ridicule and censure. Let's not prop up the wrong way to talk about this. It has a greater negative impact on folks with disabilities. 
posted by kaelynski at 4:00 AM on June 23, 2020 [62 favorites]


But it’s not just any disability that people are implying that he is hiding. It’s specifically dementia. I’m quite open to having a president have any multitude of physical challenges, but dementia is where I’d draw a line that I don’t think is unreasonable.
posted by like_neon at 4:15 AM on June 23, 2020 [16 favorites]


This is your regular reminder that it's widely regarded that Trump having someone address him as "Sir" in his anecdotes is a tell that he's making it all up.
posted by Gelatin at 4:18 AM on June 23, 2020 [34 favorites]


like_neon, that is a different discussion. If the president, or his opponent, is experiencing mental decline, that could be relevant to job performance. I am specifically referring to this video and the news stories the precipitated Trump's response and Radnor's interpretation. They speak to an inability to drink water with one hand or navigate a ramp on foot. Neither of these activities has bearing on the qualifications of his job, and it perpetuates ableism. If you don't believe me, believe Tammy.
posted by kaelynski at 4:23 AM on June 23, 2020 [7 favorites]


Critiquing his physical form or fitness is off-limits. But surely critiquing the fourteen minutes he spent on the topic when he could’ve been addressing any one of our shared crises is not.
posted by thejoshu at 4:41 AM on June 23, 2020 [44 favorites]


Is critiquing his orange makeup off-limits? I mean, just look at he collar in this picture.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:57 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


Nobody should be doing anything to perpetuate albeism, but I don't think people would be making as big a deal out of this as they are if Trump hadn't a) spent his entire political career (and probably his entire life in the public eye) mocking, diminishing and discriminating against people with disabilities and/or any sort of mental or physical infirmity, and b) worked so hard to build up this cult-of-personality public image of himself as some sort of indestructible superman that is so at odds with the visible reality of his present physical condition (which appears to be fairly normal for a 74 year-old man). Two wrongs don't make a right, but you can help ward off the second wrong if you don't commit the first.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:59 AM on June 23, 2020 [16 favorites]


Trump could avoid the talkin’ folk song if he’d just stop wearing boots of Spanish leather...
posted by rikschell at 5:06 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


Mod note: Tucked some of the front page text under the fold, since people on mobile were having a hard time with the length.
posted by taz (staff) at 5:14 AM on June 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


I have mixed feelings personally. On one hand, I completely agree with the argument that this is ableist. I can understand and empathize with that take.

On the other hand, pointing out his impairments, both physical and mental, is a powerful way to undermine the authoritarians. For the fascists and authoritarians, they're still fans of the discredited idea of the alpha male. It's important to them that their leader be the alpha in every possible way. The strongest, the smartest, the fastest. When you see Trump in their drawings or photoshopped images, he's depicted as straight-backed, clear-eyed, flat-stomached, and often muscular. Pointing out that reality is considerably different, is a powerful way to undermine their support. If they realize their "alpha" is a broken old man, then some might call into question their support. No doubt it demoralizes them. And would help discourage those who might think of joining this side.

Plus, it works considerably well as a trolling exercise. Thus leading Trump and his team to make further mistakes which causes the loss of even more support.

I'm leaning towards supporting this tactic. For similar reasons that I support punching nazis. There's no doubt it's an ugly tactic. Just as punching is. But it's effective. And considering Trump's complete lack of empathy or kindness, it feels almost like justice.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 5:22 AM on June 23, 2020 [12 favorites]




This is about as useful and impressive as Nancy Pelosi's sarcastic clapping.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:28 AM on June 23, 2020 [5 favorites]


...And the only reason I'm singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if you're in a situation like that there's only one thing you can do, and that's walk into the shrink wherever you are, just walk in say "Shrink:
You can get anything you want, at Alice's restaurant."
And walk out.

posted by cheshyre at 5:29 AM on June 23, 2020 [10 favorites]


The way I see this is as a joke about a "president" spending several minutes making an excuse about his health. It is not a joke about his health. Obviously, I cannot know the intention of this performer, but that was how I found it funny.
The rally was weird and embarrassing in many ways and the ramp/glass of water part was the weirdest and most embarrassing. Not least because the fans ended up applauding Trump for drinking a glass of water.

I also agree with those who say that ridicule is sometimes a good way of dealing with authoritarians, though it will only work to a limit, and it is more something that strengthens the resistance than something that can peal off supporters. Hitler and Mussolini were obviously ridiculous, and they were ridiculed in their time, but for their core supporters, it meant nothing.
posted by mumimor at 5:47 AM on June 23, 2020 [9 favorites]


Hates socialist policy. Isolationist. Ableist. And yet, wishes he had FDR's legacy as a wartime, economy fixing, highly popular, legislature and judicial bucking president.

Yes, gross generalizations about FDR, history's more complicated, etc. etc.
posted by bfranklin at 5:58 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


I hear everyone saying this is fine. Not “ridiculing his absurdly precious verbose overreaction is fine”, but “ridiculing his disability is fine”.

Maybe I'm mishearing, but when you ridicule, you do end up with quite a lot of people caught in the crossfire. Or encouraging other people to aim their contempt in vaguely the same direction.
posted by ambrosen at 5:59 AM on June 23, 2020 [8 favorites]


On the other hand, pointing out his impairments, both physical and mental, is a powerful way to undermine the authoritarians.

Bleach is a powerful way to undermine cancerous cells, that doesn't mean it helps normal tissue thrive. Even if you successfully use the assumption that those impairments are disqualifying to dissolve someone's fealty to Trump, that doesn't point that fealty somewhere useful but it definitely does still leave that assumption lying on the floor waiting to be used.
posted by PMdixon at 6:22 AM on June 23, 2020 [5 favorites]


There are a lot of things that are physically challenging for me, including trying not to fall down, and I'm in my 40s. Regardless, I can't get upset about punching up.
posted by emelenjr at 6:29 AM on June 23, 2020 [15 favorites]


i think we can bracket off the whole ableist-or-not conversation by noting that is long past time when it is reasonable to make jokes about the current president of the united states of america. the man is not an object of fun, and we cannot allow ourselves the indulgence of treating him as such. when we do, we get his evil on us. no amount of soap and water can scrub away that virus.

really the only joy related to the donald trump presidency, the only one we can allow ourselves to feel without taking on the taint he carries, is the pure and clean jouissance that comes from watching the man suffer. we can hope that the rest of his wretched life is spent in deep, abiding, inconsolable emotional agony, a thwarted narcissist’s soul-misery, a bottomless despair from which, we can hope, he never emerges. this thought of his suffering is the only thing related to him that should make us crack even the smallest smile.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 6:36 AM on June 23, 2020 [14 favorites]


On the other hand, pointing out his impairments, both physical and mental, is a powerful way to undermine the authoritarians.
...
Regardless, I can't get upset about punching up.


Please listen to the people who are saying that this also undermines the disabled and that they feel punched as well.
posted by Etrigan at 6:43 AM on June 23, 2020 [12 favorites]


In my judgement, the good done by throwing Trump into a defensive posture, where he spends his energy in stupid attempts to justify small events that reveal some weakness or failure outweighs the possible harm done to people with disabilities or dementia. Every moment spent wasting his own time and the time of the sycophants around him with futile raging about being mocked is time they can't spend making policies that hurt people. Additionally, it likely contributes to competent people leaving the White House, which again affects their ability to make policy decisions. It's a more complicated thing than the case of whether it's okay to out anti-gay politicians (as a gay man I am heartily in favor of that, for the record), as there is more of a risk of Trump's escalating retaliation against [insert enemy here]. But then he would probably do that anyway.

Also, we should consider the psychological damage this kind of behavior may do to us as the mockers. To the extent that we are what we do, it's potentially dangerous to our psyches to develop a pattern of responding to our own anger, sadness and fear by lashing out at Trump in anger and mockery. (Note that this is the same emotional cycle that Trump himself is trapped in.)

On balance, I'm okay with it. I think the chaos and wasted energy that it causes the fascists who are currently destroying our country is worth the downsides. But I think in evaluating this situation, it's quite possible for people to disagree in good faith, and I'm open to having my mind changed.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:44 AM on June 23, 2020 [4 favorites]


Oh, also -- there's an element of catharsis that comes from telling the truth in public, from saying out loud that this President is not superhuman, but makes mistakes and has fears and failures like everyone else, that he has a body which isn't always perfect. We've been lied to so much now; and even people in the media are constantly underplaying his unfitness to be president and normalizing him. That's damaging to us as well, and the mockery is one understandable response to that.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:49 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


the pure and clean jouissance that comes from watching the man suffer

To me, that's too close to hate, and I can't give in to hate, ever. I wish he were not your president, or any form of world leader. I wish that the damage he has done can be more than undone. I hope the day comes soon that whenever his name is mentioned the response is “Who?”. But I cannot hate him, for hate erases hope, and without hope we can't go forward.
posted by scruss at 6:55 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


Then there's the deal with... telepathy? Because he relates an entire conversation with General Sir and neither one is moving his lips.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:57 AM on June 23, 2020 [9 favorites]


To be honest, when I interrogate my own feelings I think I do hate him. That's hard to admit, because I agree with you scruss, it's not a healthy posture. I also feel pity for him, I really do. But I suppose the first step in learning to love one's enemy (not even for their sake necessarily, but at least for my own emotional well-being) is to acknowledge my real feelings even if I also feel shame or guilt about not living up to my moral beliefs.
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:00 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


A lot of the discourse around Rampgate has been ableist and it's gross.

But... this whole thing would have gone away if Trump had been capable of just letting it go. Instead, he went on a 15 minute self-justification rant in front of his several dozen supporters who showed up for his COVIDathon. Making fun of that has to be fair game, and I think this pulls it off.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:07 AM on June 23, 2020 [10 favorites]


I get the argument that this is an attempt to make fun of his windy excuse speech as opposed to his actual disabilities.

But I believe it's also true that able bodied people don't get to decide what's ableist.

This energy is better used attacking the horde of self-interested minions installed at Trumps behest who, whether Biden wins or not, will be sure to cause as much damage and misery as they can.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:09 AM on June 23, 2020 [6 favorites]


In my judgement, the good done by throwing Trump into a defensive posture, where he spends his energy in stupid attempts to justify small events that reveal some weakness or failure outweighs the possible harm done to people with disabilities or dementia.

People with disabilities do not think so. It is easy to minimize the harms that are being visited on an oppressed class to which one does not belong.
posted by gauche at 7:11 AM on June 23, 2020 [13 favorites]


But... this whole thing would have gone away if Trump had been capable of just letting it go.

This is the weird thing about Trump. If he were just capable of laughing at himself once in a while so many of these things would be non stories. Imagine if Obama had spent a month defending his tan suit or that he used fancy mustard or whatever his biggest scandal was.

As for whether or not making fun of the ramp walk is ableist, I'm gonna go ahead and defer to the people who say it is. As a (mostly) able-bodied human it's not really for me to decide.

Plus, when it comes to the steaming pile of turds that is our current President, there are SO MANY other things we can laugh at.
posted by bondcliff at 7:15 AM on June 23, 2020 [3 favorites]


we can hope that the rest of his wretched life is spent in deep, abiding, inconsolable emotional agony, a thwarted narcissist’s soul-misery, a bottomless despair from which, we can hope, he never emerges. this thought of his suffering is the only thing related to him that should make us crack even the smallest smile.

My take on Trump is that this is already his every waking moment, that he is a bottomless pit of emotional need arising from his father's emotional abuse as well as who knows what else in his life. But honestly, the chilling thing about this hell that Trump lives in, to me, is the damage that he has already wreaked on the planet, on this country, and on humanity. It is not an exaggeration to say that there are people who would be alive right now if Trump had gotten the help and emotional support that he needed as a child and throughout his life.

I am not saying that he is the real victim here. I am saying that our awful fate is tied up with his.
posted by gauche at 7:20 AM on June 23, 2020 [14 favorites]


I hate this entire cycle, because it's just "the left hates itself" over and over again. It goes like this:

Trump: Opponent has this perceived deficiency. (e.g. "Sleepy Joe Biden's aging. One fall, and he'll be knocked out.")

The left: Points out hypocrisy. (e.g. "Wow. That's rich coming from a guy who's taking it slow walking down a ramp.")

Trump: Lies about his own self-perceived inadequacy. (e.g. this entire ramp speech)

The left: Astonished gasping and handwaving that our president just spent 15 minutes ranting about a ramp.

Trump's supporters: Drum up "news" about how the left will attack him for any reason whatsoever.

The left: Admonishing themselves for ableism that wasn't even major factor but for Trump's own words.

Is there a scumbag contingent of the left? Yes, obviously. But largely the criticism of Trump is that he's a thin-skinned egomaniac who absolutely can't take what he dishes out. It appears as ableism largely because that's what he keeps bringing up.

If someone calls Trump a "fat sack of crap," yeah, call that out and point out that he can just be called a "crap sack" without needing to bring up weight. But if Trump starts having 15 minute monologues about how he's the perfect Adonis, why are we not allowed to question why the President of the United States is spending 15 minutes lying about his figure?
posted by explosion at 7:50 AM on June 23, 2020 [36 favorites]


Trump was elected because admirers thought he was virile, strong, tough, honest, confident, brash, and unbeatable and a thoroughbred. His father died slowly of Alzheimer's beginning in his mid-sixties. Running from this fact, Trump ridicules those with any disability and mocks short people; he requires his doctors to issue statements that imply he is healthier than anyone else and lie about his weight by over 50lbs. One doctor actually said he might live to be 200, another said he was the healthiest human specimen he knows. Friendly newscasters have stated on air that he is like a super human, ingratiating themselves to his supporters in the most primitive way possible. Trump doesn't wear a mask for a reason. His admirers believe in miracles and are generally suckers for bullies, and in running and winning against political correctness, he redefined the low boundaries of civil behavior. He knows that if he would have slipped on that ramp, or dropped his water while drinking, his campaign would be over. When people complain about democrats being too moderate, they need to remember that there were always liberals who also ran, but pulled their punches out of a sense of civility that doesn't exist in politics, making their style of communication too narrow for the knuckleheads who weren't there to learn manners. In blocking his message, they just need to attack him.
posted by Brian B. at 8:10 AM on June 23, 2020 [5 favorites]


If you ever get a chance to visit the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, you can see their exhibition on the health of all the presidents, featuring a few chunks of those presidents preserved in glass jars. It is amazing how many ailments have been concealed from the public because of the fear of the primitive and atavistic idea that a leader must be the healthiest silverback. Far better people than Trump could not walk down a ramp or drink with one hand, and some of them have already been presidents.

But Brian B. is right. Has anyone else seen a Ben Garrison or Jon McNaughton portrait of Trump? He looks like the broad side of a barn, with gleaming golden hair. The conservative imagination requires him to be a physical force of nature, and if he is not, he is nothing, like a sacrificial king in some ancient tribe (which in itself is probably a figment of the white Western imagination, but leave aside). If Trump's premise is that he should be elected because BIG MAN STRONG KEEP OUT BAD, then the least we can do is to point out that MAN not STRONG. It is not important that a leader be strong in this way, but if there are only a few entry points into a certain kind of brain, it's best to take one.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:29 AM on June 23, 2020 [12 favorites]


This is the part of the day where I blindly and hopelessly wish that a debate moderator (if Trump even shows up to debates anymore) would ask each candidate a random question off of an elementary school multiplication table. Does this make me an asshole? I don't know but damn if I wouldn't want to see it go down with the, non-negligible, chance that Trump goes all "I don't want to go into that, it's very personal with the numbers you see, numbers aren't the issue here...." when asked what 5 times 9 equals.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:31 AM on June 23, 2020 [4 favorites]


Wading back in just once to repeat that this whole thing plays into his narrative of the alpha. This is the fight he wants on the terms he set. It's something the corporate dems do time and time again. As a self-identifying leftist scumbag, I think it's shitty strategy tied up in an ableist bow. I also enjoy laughing at the president, but I do not consider this situation punching up.

Him telling on himself by ranting for however long is an escalation. It says, hey gang, let's do this some more. I think it's worth not doing that. I think it's worth taking up the cause of our disabled community instead.
posted by kaelynski at 8:32 AM on June 23, 2020 [8 favorites]


Trump has a million weaknesses and failings. There is absolutely no need to go here, in this way. Insulting Trump with ableism is not defensible or necessary. And there's any number of disability advocates that will tell you that this line of attack does harm to them. Find another way; there's no shortage of them.
posted by Jpfed at 8:32 AM on June 23, 2020 [9 favorites]


But if Trump starts having 15 minute monologues about how he's the perfect Adonis, why are we not allowed to question why the President of the United States is spending 15 minutes lying about his figure?

Because it all came from "Ha ha, he walks funny" and "Ha ha, he drinks water funny."
posted by Etrigan at 9:52 AM on June 23, 2020 [3 favorites]


Because it all came from "Ha ha, he walks funny" and "Ha ha, he drinks water funny."

But again, that's no excuse. Let Fox News or even liberal media outlets dress down the dirtbag left for stooping to ableism.

The President of the United States should be above this. The President should be concentrating on presidential matters. The president should not be telling stories about walking down a ramp and drinking water for cheers.

Regardless if the root cause was folks laughing at him, the criticism of his reaction is valid.
posted by explosion at 10:05 AM on June 23, 2020


I think calling this ridicule out as ableist is important and useful, and something we need to see that we're complicit in when sharing this sort of thing.

I also think that Trump just drank a glass of water with one hand in Tulsa and thousands of people cheered and he considered it a triumph. No matter how many hands one needs to drink water, the fact that the president was able to do so one-handed is not something a rational person would cheer over.

To me, anyhow, this song isn't about making fun of him for the ramp or the water glass handedness. This song is about how the President of the fucking US just spent 6-8 minutes of a major speech talking about this nonissue. If he had said nothing, it would have gone away.
posted by Mchelly at 10:10 AM on June 23, 2020 [4 favorites]


It wouldn't be cool to make fun of his baldness but his ridiculous comb-over is fair game...which is what this is about.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:15 AM on June 23, 2020 [3 favorites]


Let Fox News or even liberal media outlets dress down the dirtbag left for stooping to ableism.
...
Regardless if the root cause was folks laughing at him, the criticism of his reaction is valid.


Disability advocates, many of whom are themselves disabled, some of whom even have problems walking and drinking, are saying that this particular thing offends them. If you don't give a shit, then at least have the courtesy to say "I don't give a shit" rather than trying to define how valid their feelings are.
posted by Etrigan at 10:23 AM on June 23, 2020 [11 favorites]


It wouldn't be cool to make fun of his baldness but his ridiculous comb-over is fair game...which is what this is about.

Well, yes and no. Making fun of his combover is part of his image. The tackiness is the point. He even let Jimmy Fallon ruffle his hair. A president could get the best stylists and tailors in the world, so why doesn't he? He wears his hair, his spray tan, and his ill-fitting suits like that because he can. It's for the same reason that Boris Johnson has terminal bedhead. The disrespect for sartorial convention is the ultimate expression of power. There's no opposing style or fashion, just a level of disrespect that says fuck you I'm king.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:24 AM on June 23, 2020 [7 favorites]


The rally was weird and embarrassing in many ways and the ramp/glass of water part was the weirdest and most embarrassing.

To me, the most disturbing aspect of the thing was ordering a thousand cadets to return to the Academy and sit in close contact without masks. I assume that they've also ordered everyone to not disclose any surge in COVID infections among the cadets.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:33 AM on June 23, 2020 [4 favorites]


I am an older, fat person and I sometimes struggle in several ways when it is hot and I have forgotten to drink water. I can't run because of weak knees and my ankles have never recovered from an injury 8 years ago. I know for a fact that people who disagree with me gossip about my appearance behind my back, and it hurts me.
I'm not ableist, Donald Trump is ableist. He's the one mocking disabled people, not me. And he's the one spending near fifteen minutes explaining that he is all-OK, when he clearly is not.
Again, the funny part is not his fragility, it is not funny when people are fragile.
We are in a situation where the president of the United States refuses to wear a mask and suggests that it would be better to test less, in the middle of a global pandemic. While claiming he is the healthiest person on earth. And then he goes on a rant about walking down a ramp and drinking water. If that is not fair game, I don't know what is.
posted by mumimor at 10:38 AM on June 23, 2020 [12 favorites]


If he'd slipped, the story would've been that his enemies had tampered with the ramp.

A different excerpt from his monologue at that super-spreader rally was more troubling, and today he flatly contradicted the various cover stories for it: Trump says he wasn't joking about testing slowdown: "I don't kid" (CBS, June 23, 2020) A White House official argued to CBS News after the rally that Mr. Trump's comments were "in jest," and Vice President Mike Pence told the nation's governors in a call Monday that the president was making a "passing observation." White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Sunday that Mr. Trump's remarks were "tongue-in-cheek." Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told "Face the Nation" he knew of no directive from the president to slow down testing.

if Trump even shows up to debates anymore
Biden Campaign Commits to 3 Presidential Debates Ahead of November Election (US News & World Report, June 22, 2020) The debates against President Donald Trump are scheduled to take place in September and October.

posted by Iris Gambol at 10:38 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


Is critiquing his orange makeup off-limits? I mean, just look at he collar in this picture

My theory is that the makeup is concealer to hide injuries from falling. A person unstable on their feet, with weak or poor mobility in their arms, and who insists on walking without aid is a prime candidate for facial bruises from hitting the floor, walls, furniture, etc.

No matter how many hands one needs to drink water, the fact that the president was able to do so one-handed is not something a rational person would cheer over.

The crowds that Trump has at his events are primed for applause cues. All he has to do is raise his eyebrows, mug for the crowd, and/or act in some way that communicates that the thing he's doing is being done for the benefit of the audience, they will cheer. It's part of his act as much as Chaplin's cane was for that guy back in the day.
posted by rhizome at 10:43 AM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


We are in a situation where the president of the United States refuses to wear a mask and suggests that it would be better to test less, in the middle of a global pandemic.
And the most disturbing aspect of that is his reason for wanting less testing: More testing will increase the number of known infections. He really is offended when reality contradicts his made-up version of the world. He wants all messengers shot.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:51 AM on June 23, 2020 [5 favorites]


If Trump attempts a coup after losing the election, as Biden and Cuomo suggest he is planning for, then this attempt or plan should be seen as an ascendancy representing a theocratic monarchy, which depends on his divine aspects. And we know he isn't considered a mental genius or a spiritual giant, so that leaves his demigod physical persona. Anything to bring his supreme image down to reality in the minds of his rabid ones is politically necessary and an accommodation to them. Bear in mind that his most dangerous followers, Nazis, are forbidden to masturbate (because it weakens them) though this also implies that they try to keep stimulating images out of their heads because they might not be straight enough by their standards (and sexual repression is a key ingredient to mind control). The point is that Trump is their beloved general who leads them by a physical appeal to his divine nature.
posted by Brian B. at 11:21 AM on June 23, 2020 [4 favorites]


this thought of his suffering is the only thing related to him that should make us crack even the smallest smile

Well, maybe. I prefer to cheer myself up by reminding myself that he'll be dead quite soon.

Acknowledging that the world will be an objectively better place once that particularly massive crapsack isn't taking up space in it any more doesn't require actually hating him, merely making a fair evaluation of his every public utterance and all the crass ugliness that has always followed in his wake.

I don't wish him ill, but I will be very very pleased to learn that he's gone.
posted by flabdablet at 11:59 AM on June 23, 2020 [3 favorites]


If Trump attempts a coup after losing the election, as Biden and Cuomo suggest he is planning for, then this attempt or plan should be seen as an ascendancy representing a theocratic monarchy, which depends on his divine aspects. And we know he isn't considered a mental genius or a spiritual giant, so that leaves his demigod physical persona. Anything to bring his supreme image down to reality in the minds of his rabid ones is politically necessary and an accommodation to them. Bear in mind that his most dangerous followers, Nazis, are forbidden to masturbate (because it weakens them) though this also implies that they try to keep stimulating images out of their heads because they might not be straight enough by their standards (and sexual repression is a key ingredient to mind control). The point is that Trump is their beloved general who leads them by a physical appeal to his divine nature.

Made reading through this thread worth it.
posted by stinkfoot at 12:10 PM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


if Trump even shows up to debates anymore
Biden Campaign Commits to 3 Presidential Debates Ahead of November Election (US News & World Report, June 22, 2020) The debates against President Donald Trump are scheduled to take place in September and October.


The right state that it is Biden who is suffering from severe dementia, and that he won't be able to debate, because he can't speak or retain a coherent thought.
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:58 PM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


> I don't wish him ill, but I will be very very pleased to learn that he's gone.

i’ll cover for you by wishing him twice as much ill.

once long ago toward the start of the trump disaster, must have been early 2017 or late 2016, i had this lovely dream that i was watching a late-night talk show with trump scheduled as the fourth guest of the night. i clearly remember the host (who had characteristics of both david letterman and conan o’brien) having a long chat with the second guest (who if i recall correctly was aubrey plaza) wherein they laughed about a live feed of trump losing his mind in the green room — shouting “don’t you know who i am??” at the staffers, throwing things, punching the walls, etc.

plaza (or whoever) was followed by an animal act that ran long; the last scene of the dream was conan/letterman saying with a wry chuckle that they simply didn’t have time for the fourth guest and hoping that trump would come back for a future show.

to encourage the other malignant narcissists of the world to avoid taking trump’s path, this particular malignant narcissist needs to be exposed to a type of suffering specially tailored to put malignant narcissists through hell. before he dies he must become not just a social pariah but instead a social chewtoy. every single one of his days and nights needs to be precisely as bad as the night that obama roasted him at the correspondent’s dinner.

i don’t wish him ill. i wish him the most exquisitely hand-crafted form of ill. no, his suffering won’t improve the world. but what the heck — we should demand not just bread for all, but trump’s misery too.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 2:04 PM on June 23, 2020 [12 favorites]


Lincoln Project take on the ramp. I do not think this ad is ableist.
posted by CCBC at 4:06 PM on June 23, 2020


CCBC, I thought that ad was a parody and then I looked up the transcript and he actually said those things. What a dope.
posted by caddis at 4:13 PM on June 23, 2020


However, I think the ad came from here: @FindAClearTruth
posted by caddis at 4:17 PM on June 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


The health of the president is of vital interest to American citizens. Trump hasn't released his medical records, and has claimed a level of fitness and health that don't jibe with his appearance and behavior, so it's legitimate to ask questions about his health.

At West Point he seemed to have trouble drinking a glass of water with one hand, which has happened on several previous occasions, and seemed to have trouble walking down a ramp that the general next to him didn't have trouble with. (The ramp isn't slippery and has no-skid strips.) I believe he's lying about his health, and he told multiple lies about the ramp in his rally speech (length of conversation with general, slipperiness, claiming he ran 10 feet at the end).

Also the amount of time he's spent on his is political malpractice. The West Point commencement was on June 13, which was 20 weeks and three days before election day. He's wasted over a week on arguing about his ability to drink water one-handed and walk down a slope, and spent most of his ghost rally on the same things. That's time he should be spending on making an argument for having a second term.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:19 PM on June 23, 2020 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the Secret service checks things out before a president is allowed to go anywhere. I'm pretty sure the Secret Service must have by now noticed any mobility problems the president might have, and honestly, I imagine the Secret Service has the compassion they would for their own fathers and grandfathers. So why is the President wearing inappropriate footwear? It is surely his own vanity.
posted by acrasis at 6:03 PM on June 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


So why is the President wearing inappropriate footwear? It is surely his own vanity.

If he does have lifts in his shoes like people speculate, that could go some way towards explaining why he is unsteady going down slopes.
posted by BungaDunga at 6:54 PM on June 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


honestly, I imagine the Secret Service has the compassion they would for their own fathers and grandfathers.

They let the dumb asshole just keep walking around with toilet paper stuck to his shoe.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:47 PM on June 23, 2020 [6 favorites]


A president could get the best stylists and tailors in the world, so why doesn't he? He wears his hair, his spray tan, and his ill-fitting suits like that because he can. It's for the same reason that Boris Johnson has terminal bedhead. The disrespect for sartorial convention is the ultimate expression of power. There's no opposing style or fashion, just a level of disrespect that says fuck you I'm king.

I've heard this take before and I don't think I buy it. We are talking about an incredibly stupid and narcissistic human, I find it much more likely that he wears what he wears (and does whatever that is with his hair) because that's his habit and nobody who's ever suggested otherwise has survived in their job or otherwise been ostracized, because he will absolutely flip his shit on anyone who suggests he is not the best, ever, at everything.

I've certainly seen a lot more evidence of his interest in being the biggest and best at everything (he says so about nearly every topic related to his performance on anything) than that he's playing some kind of sartorial hyperchess because people perceive it as powerful.
posted by axiom at 9:05 PM on June 23, 2020 [4 favorites]


Mod note: Couple comments deleted. Using strong language isn't a problem, generally; using misogynistic slurs is. If you can't think of a way to point out one of the many ways that Trump is an awful human being without that, just sit this one out, because he's not gonna hear you throwing that word around and people who have had it thrown at them are right here on the site.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:26 PM on June 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


I think the ad came from here: @FindAClearTruth

If you're going to call yourself that, you have no business labelling a ramp that can be seen at a glance to slope at about 10 degrees as a "3 degree slope".

Trump is certainly whiny, but that's no excuse to tell more lies about a slope steeper than any permitted by ADA codes, even with mandatory handrails.
posted by flabdablet at 11:02 PM on June 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


They let the dumb asshole just keep walking around with toilet paper stuck to his shoe.

That video made me realize that, while people may fear him, no one likes him, and they pay bare minimum to respecting him as president. There's at least 13 other people in the video, and no one gave him a heads-up.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:40 AM on June 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


"Trump is at the stage where he’s pleading w/ ppl that he’s not senile. This is totally expected at this stage of his dementia deterioration. It happens all the time- often when the car keys or handling finances are taken away. His enablers let this happen" -- Tom Joseph, Twitter
posted by um at 2:43 AM on June 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


"Because it all came from 'Ha ha, he walks funny' and' Ha ha, he drinks water funny.'"

I will not presume to speak for other disabled people.

Speaking for myself as a disabled person — someone who would have had more trouble with that ramp than Trump did — my immediate reaction to both incidents was feeling some empathy for someone having difficulty with a mundane task. Even though I despise the man.

I found the two incidents notable, however, insofar as I've been following the long-simmering speculation about the PSP form of frontotemporal dementia — a condition that degrades cognition and executive function in ways that can cause behavioral problems that negatively affect others and which would be of legitimate public concern in the case of a head of state.

My personal opinion is that such speculation, like armchair psychiatric diagnoses, are problematic and something to be very careful with, but not necessarily absolutely forbidden with regard to, say, the person who can launch nuclear missiles.

This video and clips of him at the rally I do find humorous and I mock him without shame... not in any sense having to do with any supposed disability, but rather the extreme example of his vanity, thin-skin, pettiness, self-indulgence, and ability to interminably beat a dead horse. And in disgust at his hypocrisy with regard to his numerous past instances of egregious ableist mocking of others. To my mind, what's most important here is his demonstration of vice and bad judgment in his reaction, and not at all about the incidents themselves.

All that said, just because I'm disabled doesn't mean my judgment about such things is infallible and, as always, I think that if someone says, "hey, that thing you're saying/doing is hurtful to me", they should be listened to and taken seriously. There's a fine line regarding ableism in this thing with Trump, and it's easy to fall on the wrong side of it. If any of us believe it is appropriate to talk about Trump's health in some cases, as I do, we still have a responsibilty to be mindful, sensitive, and open to criticism.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:53 AM on June 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


So I just watched this again (to show to my son), and I realized that at one point when he's talking about the slope or his shoes or whatever, he says "I didn't want to fall on my ass."
And I know that most if not all Presidents are profane in private, and some are famous for it, and I certainly am both in public and in private, so this isn't me trying to language-shame anyone. But I'm pretty sure that no President used the word "ass" in official speeches before this presidency. Trump's level of vulgarity isn't even on anyone's radar anymore, even among the good Christians who thought that Obama's tan suit wasn't respectful enough of the office.
posted by Mchelly at 5:33 AM on June 24, 2020 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that no President used the word "ass" in official speeches before this presidency.

You might be interested in this: A Brief History of Political Profanity
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:05 AM on June 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


I mock him without shame... not in any sense having to do with any supposed disability, but rather the extreme example of his vanity, thin-skin, pettiness, self-indulgence, and ability to interminably beat a dead horse.

Indeed! All this speculation about dementia is beside the point (or an attempt to find a reasonable excuse for this behavior). It is useless to diagnose the President, but important to point out that his actions include both the criminal and absurd.
posted by CCBC at 3:09 PM on June 24, 2020


Trump is certainly whiny, but that's no excuse to tell more lies about a slope steeper than any permitted by ADA codes, even with mandatory handrails.

I did this calculation the other day when the word was that the ramp was 3%, which is shallower than 8.3%. Here's a story saying 4.8%. Was the ramp actually steeper than ADA slope? I couldn't find an official number, but I have found it a little hard to believe that a West Point graduation stage would not be ADA compliant.
posted by rhizome at 4:53 PM on June 24, 2020


I couldn't find an official number, but I have found it a little hard to believe that a West Point graduation stage would not be ADA compliant.

The U.S. military has a complicated relationship with the ADA, both legally and culturally. The Department of Defense has issued guidance that all sites will be barrier-free, but:
3. EXCLUSIONS. The following facilities need not comply with these DoD Standards:

(a) Facilities, or portions of facilities, on a military installation that are designed and constructed for use exclusively by able-bodied military personnel.
Military facilities have a tendency to err on the side of "let's not bother".
posted by Etrigan at 6:11 AM on June 25, 2020 [1 favorite]


ADA-compliant obstacle training course sounds like a headline in waiting for the military's version of The Onion.
posted by Brian B. at 7:55 AM on June 25, 2020


Was the ramp actually steeper than ADA slope?

Eyeballing the Trump shuffle on pause says it's about 10° and a protractor applied to the screen confirms it. And that won't be down to camera angles and telephoto foreshortening, either; the shape of the man himself looks as he usually does so there's no aspect ratio distortion going on, or at least nowhere near enough to make an on-screen angle close to 10° represent less than half that in reality.

Tan(10°) is about 0.18 (i.e. 18%), so the grade is steeper than 1 in 6. No way is that ADA compliant.

Non slip strips also don't work worth shit on leather-soled shoes, especially if the wearer is the kind of person one would expect to end up having chronically polished soles even if he didn't start ordering that after the toilet paper incident.

So for once in his life I don't think he's actually lying about the perceived steepness of the ramp or his perceived risk of coming to grief on it; merely, as is his wont, whining about it.
posted by flabdablet at 8:32 AM on June 25, 2020


I think the theory that he is wearing lifts in his shoes has a lot to it.
Remember how he held on to Teresa May at the White House? It doesn't matter wether this ramp is more or less steep, he struggles with ramps.
Ramps are hell when you are wearing heels, but most people wearing heals do it openly and then it's totally OK to be a bit wobbly and perhaps need an arm. When you are overweight, the heels and ramp combo gets worse, because it gets harder to keep a good posture.
Yesterday, I had to walk in the sun for quite a long while to get somewhere, and when I finally got to a place where I could buy a can of soda, I could hardly open it because I was so shaky.
So, everything about Trumps state at the event is normal for an older obese person (though I don't get why he feels he needs to wear lifts). It's the rant at the rally that is weird.
But again: a lot of his fans can mirror themselves in the whole thing.

The rant gets played again and again, so I have seen it far too many times. Today I noticed a black guy behind Trump who was clearly checking his phone when everyone else was applauding. It made me wonder if the guy is an actor? I've heard the Trump campaign hires people to make his crowds look more diverse and younger, but I have no idea if this is a conspiracy theory.
posted by mumimor at 8:59 AM on June 25, 2020


I think the theory that he is wearing lifts in his shoes has a lot to it.

It would certainly go a long way toward accounting for the extreme difference in the difficulty with which he negotiated the same ramp on the way up and the way down. Going up, he just looks like a guy walking up a ramp. Going down, he appears to be slide-shuffling from non-slip strip to non-slip strip.

If his idiot vanity lifts are holding his heels and ankles and knees at an awkward angle on the way down, that makes perfect sense; there's not much wiggle room for stability on downward ramps in that characteristic forward-leaning stance.
posted by flabdablet at 10:52 AM on June 29, 2020 [2 favorites]


the extreme difference in the difficulty with which he negotiated the same ramp on the way up and the way down

This is a problem that rabbits also have. They're great going up hill, but much less great on the down. I'm told that the way to catch a rabbit is to make it go downhill. Surely some clever political wizard can somehow apply this technique to Trump.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:57 PM on June 29, 2020 [3 favorites]


Everything he's ever done would seem to indicate that not only is he perfectly capable of going downhill on his own, there is no depth below which he will fail to sink further.

That's the thing about sucking moral vacuums. You can rely on them to suck.
posted by flabdablet at 8:30 AM on June 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


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