Donald Trump did more than just play the victim-blaming game after Saturday’s horrific synagogue shooting. He also abandoned an umbrella as he climbed aboard Air Force One.
In a clip that quickly went viral, Trump is seen walking up the stairs leading to his presidential jet, umbrella in hand. As he reaches the door, Trump’s hand drops lower and lower until the umbrella is scraping the floor. Seconds later, he ditches it entirely and disappears into the plane.
Unbelievable — Trump doesn't know how to close an umbrella, so inside of closing it and bringing it aboard Air Force One with him, he just dropped it outside the plane. pic.twitter.com/G5AtmPaRvz
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 27, 2018
If video shares are any indication, the American public loves seeing Trump play the part of a buffoon. Probably because those moments offer a momentary distraction from the fact the he’s still the U.S. president.
And so it went that this video surfaced and many in the Twitter peanut gallery seized on the most obvious angle for razzing the president: LOL Trump can’t close an umbrella. Which, fair! He doesn’t close that umbrella.
Tip: if you're gonna to join a cult try to find one where the leader knows how to close an umbrella
When you can't figure it out, just drop it pic.twitter.com/Ksw1m8LtEr
— ☇RiotWomenn☇ (@riotwomennn) October 27, 2018
But there’s more going on here. See, this whole ditching of the umbrella is a metaphor. Right?
Trump is Trump
The plane is money
The umbrella is our well being https://t.co/JCkkrhS69v
— amber ruffin (@ambermruffin) October 27, 2018
This umbrella is violence in the USA. Trump built it up, left it at the door, and then calmly just walked away from it while it does it's thing… https://t.co/AufsxLTXKt
— Charlie McEwan (@CharMcew) October 27, 2018
Metaphor alert. Trump cannot close his umbrella as he boards his plane. Just leaves it there. An upturned, abandoned umbrella, rolling about in the wind. pic.twitter.com/4mOsSdfkz2
— SimonNRicketts (@SimonNRicketts) October 27, 2018
Personally, I look at this viral umbrella clip and see a perfect reflection of the man we’ve come to know since he settled into the Oval Office.
Trump is in this for no one other than himself (and maybe his family, I guess). He plays to his base and riles progressives to maintain chaos. He proposes destructive policies with an eye toward lining his pockets.
He’s not here to “own the libs” specifically, but doing so is useful sleight of hand. It keeps his voting base focused on the vague idea of an enemy at home, rather than the politicians who continue to grift their way around Washington’s as-yet-undrained swamp.
And now we have this umbrella. A useful tool in the moment as Trump holds it over his head to shield himself from the rain. Then, once he gets to the moment of boarding Air Force One, he drops the umbrella without any care or thought.
It’s just an umbrella, his defenders will no doubt scream. And they’re right, it is. But the lack of regard shown in this one instance says so much about the man who was carrying that umbrella.
Sometimes things go viral because they’re cute, or horrifying, or incredible, or in some other way highly noteworthy. And sometimes they just resonate with the moment. On a day when the nation and the world were focused on the horrors unfolding in Pittsburgh, Trump’s stupid umbrella moment resonated.