I am loathe to be the bearer of bad news. Honestly, the last thing I had on my mind today, when I came in this morning to begin my day as a purveyor of light-hearted web-based content, was to direct a sluice labeled ‘bad news’ toward you. Yet, here I am, sluice in hand, about to turn the dial that will regrettably gush forth this proferred bad news. It pains me to inform you that Donald Trump, that bastion of reason, logic, diplomacy, tact and compassion has – in a move so immeasurably out of character it will surely send shockwaves through your very core – said something that can only be described as vaguely weird.
During the annual meeting between the Taoiseach and the American President at the White House to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and the long standing association between the two countries, Donald Trump, was again confronted with his greatest weakness – a simple script to stick to. Try as he might, when confronted with even the simplest of pre-prepared speeches – no doubt meticulously crafted by some White House lackey who spends as much time writing speeches as he does shopping for toupees to help cover the vast swathes of scalp he’s exposed from tearing his own hair out – Donald Trump was unable to do that most tricky of tasks, not deviate from the script in any way.
You can see, in the way that he reads, disdainfully holding up the piece of paper, half-heartedly reciting its contents like a disinterested teen presenting their portion of a group project, that he takes no pleasure in the drab recitation of another’s words. When he turns the page, and his attention is momentarily distracted, he begins to ad lib, in that most Trumpian of ways, by simultaneously praising and deeply slandering whatever person/animal/country/ethnic group is the subject of his scrutiny. In this case, it is we, the Irish.
He says, “I know many Irish people and they are inspiring. They’re sharp, they’re smart, they’re great. And they are brutal enemies right? So you have to keep ’em as your friend – always keep ’em as your friend. You don’t want to fight with the Irish. It’s too tough. It’s too bloody.”
This is greeted with some laughs by the assembled throng before him, while an absoluely bemused Melania stands just behind his shoulder, looking like a parent at a school play who’s convinced that they’re far enough away from the stage that they aren’t visible to the children and thus don’t need to pretend as if they’re enjoying what’s going on before them.
It was supposed to be so simple. It could all have been so easy. But you cannot ask a leopard to change its spots, if anything though you may have more luck trying to cajole a feral African wildcat into completing a speech without going off-script and creating some quasi-controversial gaffe. However, until the day America is ready to elect a somewhat PR-savvy wildcat to its highest office, we must contend with what is there already.