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“How could I vote for him again? How could anyone?”

— Elizabeth Neumann, former Trump DHS official

It must have been frustrating for Donald Trump to want so badly to be a celebrity and not have any marketable talent for being noticed beyond the fact that he was handed a great deal of money by his tycoon father. Sure, he had a talent for getting his name in the papers and a knack for make-up that Elizabeth Taylor would have envied, but that isn’t quite the same as hobnobbing with big players in the entertainment industry.

Autograph hounds. His name up in lights. A seat down front at the Oscars. That sort of thing.

People forked over money to watch Emmet Kelly perform when the circus came to town. Although he had a lot in common with the famous clown, Trump didn’t seem to get much further than providing occasional gossip for the tabloids. He finally had to settle for one of those so-called reality television programs to really get noticed. It had worked for the Kardashian crew, whose shameless showing-off was captivating millions of people who set their bar for entertainment on a level that makes “Three and a Half Men” look witty and sophisticated.

I noticed an article about celebrity support for Trump recently. It is only fair that some of Mr. Trump’s famous followers speak up to counter the scathing assessments of the president by, among others, Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, John Legend, Lin-Manuel Miranda, J. K. Rowling, Chris Evans and Bette Midler.

A somewhat less glittering assemblage of supporters got an opportunity to sing his praises in a new documentary film on the subject of Trump’s appeal. The fan club included Isaiah Washington, Dean Cain, Kristy Swanson, and Scott Baio. I had vaguely heard of three of them. (I had no idea who Ms. Swanson was, never having been tempted to watch “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”)

Mr. Cain seemed to sum up the general attitude in Hollywood concerning Mr. Trump when he stated, “There’s no compassion. They’re so hypocritical, it’s unreal. They just don’t like the man.” I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I think I can speak for most people who curse the day Mr. Trump was elected when I state that hypocrisy has absolutely nothing to do with our dislike for the man. It is as rock-hard as Gibraltar.

You would think that a man whose heart is so solidly anchored in showbiz glitz and glamour would attract more sympathy from the denizens of the entertainment world, but approval from the star of an eminently forgettable television show and the revulsion publicly expressed by a three-time Academy Award winning actress pretty much sums up the general tenor of the entire nation after experiencing four years of Donald Trump playing president.

His pathetic pleas at his rallies to “please like me” are falling on deaf ears. Susan Hayward once said, “You aim at all the things you have been told that stardom means — the rich life, the applause, the parties cluttered with celebrities. Then you find that you have it all. And it is nothing, really nothing. It is like a drug that lasts just a few hours, a sleeping pill. When it wears off, you have to live without its help.”

I imagine that, for a lot of people who make their living pretending they are someone else on the stage or in films, the “wearing off” that Ms. Hayward is referring to means having to abandon pretense and confronting who they really are. The prospect of doing that probably doesn’t appeal to Donald Trump very much. I don’t think he can risk discarding the cloak of pretense he has girded himself with for most of his life and take a long, hard look at a person who has squandered or bungled every opportunity that he has been given.

History will discard that transparent cloak soon enough, but Trump never will. For all the riches he boasts about, it is something he just can’t afford to do.

The most destructive role he has been playing since the pandemic began decimating the United States is the part of Dr. Quack, our official dispenser of whack job medical advice. This nation has gone from Trump’s “no big deal” initial response to the drinking caustic disinfectant lunacy to his latest incarnation as triumphant survivor of a virus that is currently on track for killing an estimated 400,000 Americans before the end of the year. He now claims to be immune from ever contracting the virus again (which is completely false). He talks rapturously about a “glow” that emanates from him since his recovery that Jimmy Kimmel more correctly surmised was just a robust application of Hawaiian Tropics mango scented tanning mousse.

In what I sincerely hope will be among the last examples of Mr. Trump’s frustrated showbiz syndrome, he wanted to appear frail and fragile as he left Walter Reed Hospital after his bout with the virus. At one point, however, he was going to straighten up, open his shirt, and reveal the Superman logo underneath just like Christopher Reeve did in the movies. This is the president of the United States, folks, pulling a stunt that would be considered embarrassing on “Sesame Street.” A saner mind talked him out of it.

Time has proven that the only thing Donald Trump can do faster than a speeding bullet is tell a lie and the Superman wannabe is really just another super-spreader.

Final note: As a resident of North Bennington and someone who is aware of the corporate devastation inflicted upon nearby Hoosick Falls, the enthusiasm for deregulation from one of the local candidates running for state Senate borders on the mind-boggling. I am a great believer in not messing with good things. Please cast your vote for Dick Sears and Brian Campion. They have earned it.

Alden Graves writes a regular column for the Banner.


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