`It’s not great again.’ The poetry of Donald Trump

Good morning Austin:

First there was Andy Kaufman, wrestling women.

Andy Kaufman wrestles women.
Andy Kaufman wrestles women.

Then there was Joaquin Phoenix, pretending to abandon acting for hip hop.


Joaquin Phoenix. "I'm Still Here"
Joaquin Phoenix. “I’m Still Here”

Now comes Donald Trump, announcing yesterday that he is running for president.

"This is beyond anybody's expectations."
“This is beyond anybody’s expectations.”

As with Kaufman and Phoenix, it is impossible, as it is happening, to know for sure whether what he is doing is for real or performance art.

That’s the whole point. That’s central to the art form.

Indeed, we may not know until well into his second term as president whether Trump is putting us on.

But the performance is so broad, so over-the-top, that one has to assume Trump is winking at us all, that we all are, in essence, in on the joke.


Jon Stewart, who is ending his run as host of the Daily Show, was beside himself with joy.

“It’s amazing. America’s id is running for president,” Stewart said.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 5.45.26 AM
“I’m just really happy.” Jon Stewart


“Thank you Donald Trump for making my last six weeks my best six weeks,” Stewart said. “He is putting me in some kind of comedy hospice where I’m just getting straight morphine.”


"He's putting me in a kind of comedy hospice."
“He’s putting me in a kind of comedy hospice.”


Trump’s entry does place the other players on the Republican stage in an uncomfortable position. Are they supposed to play along?

And if they don’t, do they come off as spoil sports who just don’t get it.l

“I’ll let the Donald do what the Donald does, but we’re going to be focused on the real issues,” said Rick Perry.

I feel for Perry.

Trump’s celebrity could cost Perry a place on the main stage at the first Republican debate on Fox News Aug. 6 in Cleveland and cripple his candidacy.

Here, the newly erudite Perry spent the last year hard at work studying and learning the issues, and he could be knocked out of contention by a stream-of-consciousness loudmouth whose candidacy could set PolitiFact ablaze.


That’s if you take what Trump says literally.



However, if you listen and read Trump as poetry, he goes from the ridiculous to the sublime.

Here now, from yesterday’s announcement, a few selections of the Poetry of Donald Trump.


On Rick Perry

And, I can tell

some of the candidates,

they went in.

They didn’t know the air-conditioner didn’t work.

They sweated like dogs.



Lincoln Chafee’s Metric of Failure

They didn’t know the room was too big,

because they didn’t have anybody there.

How are they going to beat ISIS?

I don’t think it’s gonna happen.



We don’t have victories anymore (a triptych)

When was the last time anybody saw us beating China?

Our country is in serious trouble.

We don’t have victories anymore.

We used to have victories,

but we don’t have them.

When was the last time anybody saw us beating,

let’s say,

China in a trade deal?

They kill us.

I beat China all the time.

All the time.

When did we beat Japan at anything?

When did we beat Japan at anything?

They send their cars over by the millions, and what do we do?

When was the last time you saw a Chevrolet in Tokyo?

It doesn’t exist, folks.

They beat us all the time.


When do we beat Mexico at the border?

When do we beat Mexico at the border?

They’re laughing at us, at our stupidity.

And now they are beating us economically.

They are not our friend, believe me.

But they’re killing us economically.

The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems.



"They're not sending you."
“They’re not sending you.”

They’re not sending you (with apologies to Emma Lazarus)

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best.

They’re not sending you.

They’re not sending you.

They’re sending people that have lots of problems,

and they’re bringing those problems with us.

They’re bringing drugs.

They’re bringing crime.

They’re rapists.

And some,

I assume,

are good people.

But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting.

And it only makes common sense.

It only makes common sense.

They’re sending us not the right people.

It’s coming from more than Mexico.

It’s coming from all over South and Latin America,

and it’s coming probably,


from the Middle East.

But we don’t know.

Because we have no protection

and we have no competence.

We don’t know what’s happening.

And it’s got to stop

And it’s got to stop



Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 5.51.54 AM

Welcome to the Hotel ISIS

Islamic terrorism is eating up large portions of the Middle East.

They’ve become rich.

I’m in competition with them.

They just built a hotel in Syria.

Can you believe this?

They built a hotel.

When I have to build a hotel,

I pay interest.

They don’t have to pay interest,

because they took the oil that,

when we left Iraq,

I said

we should’ve taken.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 5.55.48 AM


You have to be hit by a tractor,


a tractor,

to use it,

because the deductibles are so high,

it’s virtually useless.

It’s virtually useless.

It is a disaster.


And it’s going to get worse,

because remember,

Obamacare really kicks in in ’16,


Obama is going to be out playing golf.

He might be on one of my courses.

I would invite him,

I actually would say”

`I have the best courses in the world,’ so I’d say, if he wants to —

I have one right next to the White House, right on the Potomac.

If he’d like to play,

that’s fine.

In fact, I’d love him to leave early and play.

That would be a very good thing.



We have losers

We have losers.

We have losers.

We have people

that don’t have it.

We have people

that are morally corrupt.

We have people

that are selling this country

down the drain.


The Art of the Deal

I would build a great wall,

and nobody builds walls better than me,

Believe me.

And I’ll build them very inexpensively,

I will build a great, great wall

on our southern border.

And I will have Mexico

pay for that wall.


It’s not great again

And we also need a cheerleader.

You know, when President Obama was elected,

I said,

“Well, the one thing, I think he’ll do well.

I think he’ll be a great cheerleader for the country.

I think he’d be a great spirit.”

He was vibrant.

He was young.

I really thought

that he would be

a great cheerleader.

But he wasn’t

a cheerleader.

He’s actually

a negative force.

He’s been

a negative force.

He wasn’t

a cheerleader.

He was

the opposite.

We need somebody

that can take the brand of the United States

and make it great again.

It’s not great again.

Author: Jonathan Tilove

Jonathan Tilove is the Statesman's chief political writer. He was a Washington correspondent for the New Orleans Times-Picayune from 2008 to 2012. Before that he covered race and immigration issues for Newhouse News Service for 18 years.

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