TRUMP’S LIBRARY OF WEIRD THINGS
BY Angelo Fernando
Every US president gets to have a library named after him. It’s a ‘library of things’ that defines that person’s term in office. Usually, it contains flattering material but also things that are controversial in retrospect.
For instance, The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in California has plenty of Watergate material. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston showcases artefacts from the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Curators at these libraries have attempted to appear objective. Nixon’s library even houses equipment used for those infamous secret White House recordings that led to the Watergate scandal.
Such information offers a glimpse of presidents who in hindsight look like caricatures or simply flawed humans.
So against this backdrop, what would the collection of the ‘Trump Library and Museum’ be? As we head into the virus impaired election, we could do one of two things: lower our face masks and take a nice deep breath at an impending new era; or become homebound curators of a library of things for the 45th president.
Like a physical library, I envision it with five sections: Media and Entertainment; Nonfiction; (Un)impeachment Papers; Executive Orders;
and Walls and Towers.
MEDIA MONTAGE In the lobby of this section would be a running montage of popular media personalities – both diehard supporters and acerbic critics. It would begin with Fareed Zakaria, TV host and foreign policy commentator, who explains Trump’s penchant for conspiracy theories, and how his political ascent was born of one – the claim that Barack Obama was from Kenya.
But his take would be closely followed by Fox News host Sean Hannity who is a virtual Trump PR machine. His clip would lash out at the left-wing media’s Trump derangement syndrome theory – and Trump’s suspicion of a ‘deep state’ liberal cabal out to get him.
These would be interspersed with fast cuts, CNN style, of senators questioning Trump’s claim that the coronavirus was a hoax, and takes from late-night hour comedy hosts Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah.
The lobby would lead to a large room devoted to Trump’s TV and movie appearances. A set from The Apprentice will enable visitors reenact the show and even play Trump. Screens would play movies such as Home Alone II and Wall Street where ‘The Donald’ made cameo appearances.
NONFICTION This is a well stocked section with three books worth browsing. The first is ‘Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories in the Age of Trump’ (by Daniel Hellinger). It unpacks the broader context of how Trump came to embody “tensions between global hegemony and democratic legitimacy” when power struggles inside and outside Washington bubbled up.
The next is David Rohde’s ‘In Deep: The FBI, the CIA and the Truth about America’s ‘Deep State’.’
And the third is ‘The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir’ – by John Bolton. Certainly, some pages of this book would have been carefully ripped out. Book readings take place every hour by people who include Bob Woodward, Thomas Friedman and if you’re lucky, Noam Chomsky.
Who’d want to leave this section?
(UN)IMPEACHMENT Actually, ‘Articles of Impeachment Against Donald John Trump’ is a short read of only three pages. But instead of displaying the document per se, there will be a huge digital wall of tweets archived from Trump’s Twitter feed, attacking the Articles. Holograms of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will suddenly appear to defend the Articles.
There will also be a sealed glass case with an unclassified document titled ‘Donald Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky’s Telephone Conversation Memorandum.’ It doesn’t need to be under lock and key but gives the appearance of something important.
Next will be a replica of the White House lawn strewn with dossiers on Russian election interference. Visitors can trip over these while wondering whether they were left there with strategic intent.
EXECUTIVE ORDERS This section is basically a long passage with framed executive orders. There are so many of them that they run from floor to ceiling and overflow into the men’s toilet.
The cool thing is there are replicas of fountain pens that Trump enjoys giving away to someone standing by his side. Every hundredth visitor will get to keep one after signing his or her own executive order on fake White House stationery.
WALLS AND TOWERS Similar to the piece of the Berlin Wall housed in the JFK library, there will be a piece of the US-Mexico border wall in Trump’s library. It’s impressive and about as thick as an SUV. And Trump’s voice will be heard saying the famous words: “We’re going to build a wall and Mexico is going to pay for it.”
The rest of the exhibits will be miniature replicas of Trump Towers from around the world. It will feel like Legoland – great for selfies.
So when will this library open?
It’s all under wraps – so watch out for Trump’s tweets.