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Portrait of a president, autographing a wall

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There are many images of today’s U.S. president that have inevitably become historical. For example, when he descended the gilded staircase of his building in New York to announce his anti-immigrant presidential campaign in June of 2015, which in total certainty will become an inevitable scene in a low or high-budget movie when this is all over. Or that other one in which, during a debate, he chillingly posed behind his then-opponent, Hillary Clinton, like a cunning predator scrutinizing his prey.

But the photo that takes the cake, for now, the one that completely describes Donald Trump as well as his presidency, is the one they took of him, accompanied by a slew of officials, autographing a section of the border wall during his visit to Arizona a couple of days ago.

In that image, two different aspects converge that have defined Donald Trump as a narcissist: egocentric, childish, and ornery, a man who does, literally, whatever he wants. That is, he acts without taking into account the political symbolism we are living today, nor the significance of words from old allies who are warning, one after the other, about the presidential inexperience that is breathed inside the White House. I mean, in other words, it was like signing a gift card he gave himself. Of course, with taxpayer money.

After a week of failures —among them, the Supreme Court decision in favor of the Dreamers and his soulless and practically empty address in Tulsa, Oklahoma— he wanted to reaffirm his xenophobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric with his presence in Phoenix, daring to say, once again, that the wall has stopped COVID-19 when the largest number of cases and deaths in the world have happened on U.S. soil. That and the visa restrictions he decreed days ago, including the very necessary H1-B, H-2B, L-1 y J-1 visas, have been nothing but a childish reaction to what was decided by justices opposing the elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Due to his political immaturity, this type of reaction was expected from him, of course. And the ones that are missing.

Racist-xenophobic diatribes aside, like the ones he used in Phoenix to continue promoting his campaign, Trump is paving his complete failure every day that passes, not only as president but as a political negotiator. It’s obvious he doesn’t know what to do when he loses, and he is incapable of demonstrating a more appropriate image, the image of a head of state. He forgets he represents an entire country and not just himself. In that way, other than to his followers, Trump is becoming the world’s laughing stock.

With his visit to Phoenix and his border wall, it is clearer than ever that right now everyone has a more defined idea regarding Donald Trump, not only immigrants but the American people in general, including his followers of course, whose support for their president is, eye to eye, racial and not ideological; not even partisan, since Trump has created a cult —and not a group of co-religionists— that is causing more damage to the Republican Party than other political instances in this country.

The little more than four months to come before the November elections will be the scene of even more grotesque demonstrations of xenophobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric, as an essential part of the presidential campaign, looking to stay another four years in the White House. Knowing that this strategy is rather predictable, it no longer tricks anyone and only leans toward failure, as in the 2018 midterm elections.

It is precisely in this context —based on the fact that Trump wants to return this country to the 1950s— in which two social-political horizons are being configured: on the one hand, the anachronism of a false leader who no longer fits in the Oval Office and, on the other, the rise of a voter of all political persuasions, including the party that the president has kidnapped, who already realized how low this country has fallen in the eyes of the world.

In that way, it’s easy to identify why the more immature part of U.S. society, the one that never adapted to the new demographic reality of their country, is the one that continues to follow him: upon autographing that part of the wall in Arizona, like someone who absurdly puts “like” on his own Facebook post, he became a sort of gang member needing to mark his territory. As if to say, for example, “The Donald was here.”

To read the Spanish version of this article click here.