By David Futrelle
Into each life some rain must fall. Unless, of course, you’re Donald Trump, in which case you do anything and everything you can to keep even a single drop of that foul skywater from touching your elaborately styled and apparently quite delicate combover — even if it means dishonoring the memories of Americans who died serving their country.
And even if it means hogging a comically huge umbrella for yourself while your wife and youngest child brave the winds and rain.
Here’s Trump holding an umbrella over himself while boarding Air Force One with Melania & Barron, because his hair. pic.twitter.com/dsfKaNNd5U
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) January 16, 2018
You’d think that someone so clearly terrified of rain as Trump would be a pretty deft hand with an umbrella. But he often seems a bit baffled by them, letting the wind have its way with his umbrella while he deplanes or, in one infamous case, simply dropping his umbrella on the ground at the door of Air Force One rather than closing it up and taking it in with him like a normal human being — the incident captured in a video that went viral because it seemed all too apt a symbol of Trump’s presidency.
— Jon Wurster (@jonwurster) October 27, 2018
Trump’s continuing struggles, both with rain and with umbrellas, have evidently left many of his supporters feeling a bit defensive, as I learned last night after posting a picture on Twitter of a grim-looking POTUS staring at an umbrella like he’d never seen one before.
I was responding to a tweet by The Daily Caller — racist Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s vanity publication — asking its readers to caption a photo of incoming Democratic congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez looking a teensy bit awkward while getting ready for a group photo.
Caption this: pic.twitter.com/EZpkwMR4A7
— David Futrelle (@DavidFutrelle) November 15, 2018
A gaggle of Daily Caller fans — Trump stans all — responded with dozens of vaguely belligerent if predictable tweets, some gloating that Trump is President and the rest of us are not, some slinging insults. (There was also one guy apparently suffering from the delusion that I’m a Washington Post writer who once said something dreadfully controversial about toilet paper in the White House.)
But I was a little surprised by how many in the Daily Caller MAGA squad responded with a weird version of “no, u” on Trump’s behalf, praising his ability to hold his own umbrella (not really that major of an accomplishment) and attacking Obama because, during one speech in the rain on the White House lawn, a Marine stood by holding an umbrella for him.
This has apparently become the go-to response amongst MAGAheads whenever some Trump non-fan makes a joke about Trump’s rain or umbrella foibles. If you do a search for “obama umbrella marine” on Twitter you will find page after page after page of this, going back months:
It’s almost as if that Non-Player Character (NPC) meme so popular with extremely online Trump stans is 100% pure projection. But I digress.
In the alternate universe of the MAGAheads, it is Trump who is the macho man who braves pouring rain to deliver speeches, while Obama is something less than a real man — a “bitch,” a “pussy,” a “pansy,” a “f*ggot,” a “little queen” who must have his umbrella held for him by a manly Marine. The MAGAheads seem especially fond of labeling Obama a “princess.”
For some of Trump’s defenders, who are evidently suffering from that “economic anxiety” that MAGAs are so prone to, the fact that the Marine who held the umbrella was (gasp!) white is what really sticks in their craws.
It’s not hard to see how much of this reaction stems from the same psychosexual racist anxiety I wrote about recently when looking at right-wing media coverage of the Honduran refugee caravan.
It’s worth pointing out that the MAGA “case” against Obama here is based on willful blindness and racist double standards. Yes, sometimes Obama had others hold umbrellas for him when it would have been awkward or inconvenient for him to hold the umbrella himself — just as other presidents have. But he also held his own umbrella most of the time — and sometimes held umbrellas for others and in once incident caught on camera went without so that Michelle could get protection from the rain. He also gave speeches in the rain, as most politicians have.
There’s nothing heroic about any of this, of course. This is all pretty normal behavior from a normal human being who isn’t thrilled about getting rained on but who isn’t terrified of it either, and who is willing to get a little bit wet sometimes if it helps others stay dry. Trump is the weirdo here, and his fans know it. Which is why they’re pushing back so hard on this particular point, even if they have to invent a whole mythology around Obama in order to do it.
We Hunted the Mammoth relies entirely on readers like you for its survival. If you appreciate our work, please send a few bucks our way! Thanks!