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The Umbrella Truthers: Embarrassed by Trump’s rainphobia, MAGAs attack Obama over the time a Marine held his umbrella for him

Rain, rain, go away

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.

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.

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.

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,”“f*ggot,”“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.

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epitome of incomprehensibility

For something stupid as well as thoughtless (in a bad way), here’s what Trump said about the forest fires:

a) It’s important take care of the “floors” of the forest
b) Finland manages their forests by raking and cleaning them out, so why can’t the U.S. do the same?*

*Obviously Finland is much cooler than Paradise, California. It’s also wetter. And some were saying that the “managing” bit is code for development, that he’s using the tragedy as an excuse for removing more forests’ protected status and logging them.

Oh, and thinning out forest growth is a thing, but it’s understandable that people are posting memes about garden rakes and Make America Rake Again, given Trump’s wording.

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
3 years ago

I was under the impression that the Parks Service already did controlled burns to help keep the underbrush down to a manageable level to prevent massive fires like this. Did they stop doing that a decade or so back?

Oh, and from what I can tell, privatized / developed land is not burning at a noticeablely slower rate than the ‘undeveloped’ land is. So why would adding tons more people out there be a good idea?

Full Metal Ox
3 years ago


As for that last photo of Trump with an umbrella: are we sure he’s not Oswald Cobblepot?

Absolutely certain: last I checked,the Penguin knew how to wield his umbrella and at least aspired to cultural refinement.


Are you familiar with Samurai Knitter’s Broochwatch ’18 Twitter thread, wherein she interpreted the possible significance of the Queen’s jewelry choices when meeting with Trump? The account seems to have been suspended but is discussed here, on a blog devoted to royal jewelry (I love it when extremely specific geeky special interests yield valuable information):

Full Metal Ox
3 years ago

Wait a minute…how exactly does Obama’s being an effete sissy reconcile with the bigoted perception of black men as subhuman brutes impervious to pain?

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
3 years ago

@Full Metal Ox:

You have to remember that when convenient, Obama’s not a real black person, but the bastard mongrel of degenerate race traitors and the embodiment of white genocide. You can tell because he married a black woman instead of cleaving to his better half and trying to purify his offspring by having kids with a white woman, though obviously it would be just as horrible if he had done that.

At least, I assume someone’s made that argument somewhere.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
3 years ago

@ full metal ox

Are you familiar with Samurai Knitter’s Broochwatch ’18 Twitter thread,

Yup, I think we had a bit of a discussion about it here (or was it on the Discord?). But anyway, yeah, the Queen knows exactly what she’s doing and the importance of symbolism, so I found those choices very telling.

(There’s some nice bits about the Queen in Michelle Obama’s new book)

3 years ago

It took approximately three-tenths of a second for the sergeant outside my grandfather’s office to fly through the door and grab him by the scruff of the neck, bawling “Who in the hell do you think you are!?!” along with various colorful threats. My grandfather immediately assured the sergeant that it was quite alright, that it was just a family matter, and asked him to please peal his brother off of the desk.

Good heavens. I’m sure this wasn’t the point of your story, but tales like this do impress upon me how deeply, unshakably civilian I am. The nerve of that sergeant, intruding upon a private cussing event.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
3 years ago

Considering both Justin Trudeau and Her Majesty are up above, I still remember a story that Margaret Trudeau (Justin’s mother) wrote about at one point. This was back when she was still married to Pierre Trudeau, and he was the Prime Minister, and they were both on a state visit with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

With all the formal bowing that was going on, in the midst of a handshake, Margaret decided to do a full curtsy. She then discovered that she couldn’t stand up, because it required a little more leverage than she had. She had a brief moment of panic and looked up, and Queen Elizabeth, without shifting her face much at all to indicate she knew something anything going on, just tightened her grip and gave a slight lift of her arm to let Margaret Trudeau brace herself and stand up again, all without anything being obvious to the cameras.

I just always considered that incident, of quietly saving someone from embarrassment at a public event, to be very much an exemplar of her attitude.

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