Recently, as I picked up a book from my bookcase, I realised that one word in its title had the answer to a problem that had been bothering me for months. The book is “The Voice Imitator” by Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard. And the word that solved the mystery, you may already have guessed it, is “imitator”. What imitators do, in many cases, is impersonate a celebrity.
According to Wikipedia, “celebrity impersonators are entertainers who look [like] celebrities and dress in such a way as to imitate them. Impersonators are known as look-alikes, impressionists, imitators, tribute artists, and wannabees.” And there, bingo! I had the answer to my problem: Donald Trump is impersonating a president!
Several excellent comedians have proven to be excellent impersonators: Tina Fey, Rich Little, Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, to name a few. And the most popular figures impersonated were presidents (such as Richard Nixon, Barack Obama, Gerald Ford) or artists (such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Elvis Presley). Not one to be topped, Donald Trump decided to impersonate a president: himself.
By becoming an impersonator, President Trump can now say that he is not responsible for the multitude of inane tweets his impersonator has been writing lately, which seem to be coming out of him at an even faster pace. In refusing responsibility, we have one more example of his brilliant thoughts.
His most recent, and abusive, tweets against Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski have reached an almost unstoppable crescendo, which worry his supporters. They are concerned about the president’s own sanity. When he wrote, “Crazy Joe Scarborough and dumb as rock Mika are not bad people, but their low rated show is dominated by their NBC bosses. Too bad!” he was not only saying something unbecoming to the dignity of the office, but also making an indefensible, gratuitously insulting remark.
Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended her boss at a White House press briefing saying, “Look, the American people elected a fighter. They didn’t elect somebody to sit back and do nothing.” She later told MSNBC, “There have been an outrageous number of personal attacks, not just to him, but people around him.”
Sanders’ opinion was not shared by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham who tweeted, “Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America,” an opinion shared by many of his Republican colleagues.
On 30 June, Scarborough and Brzezinski wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post titled “Donald Trump is not well.” In that piece, they detailed the several insulting remarks he has been making about them (“low I.Q. Crazy Mika”, “Psycho Joe”) which prompted them to state, “America’s leaders and allies are asking themselves yet again whether this man is fit to be president. We have our doubts, but we are both certain that the man is not mentally equipped to continue watching our show, ‘Morning Joe’.”
Mr. Trump’s behaviour seems to be taking a turn for the worst. This is a fact, according to Ms. Brzezinski and Mr. Scarborough, acknowledged by even some of Mr. Trump’s associates. In their op-ed piece, they conclude, “We, too, have noticed a change in his behavior over the past few years. Perhaps that is why we were neither shocked nor insulted by the president’s personal attack. The Donald Trump we knew before the campaign was a flawed character, but one who still seemed capable of keeping his worst instincts in check.”
Never before in recent history has an American president been as questioned about his mental health to hold office as Mr. Trump. His erratic behaviour has prompted some Democrats to urge their colleagues to get behind a bill that could potentially oust the real President Trump from office should it be proven that he is mentally or physically unfit. By becoming the real president, Mr. Trump can avoid such a tragic fate.
Dr. Cesar Chelala is a winner of several journalism awards