By now, the image of the Easter Bunny from Sunday’s Easter celebration at the White House has surely been rooted in your psyche, haunting your dreams and subtly inflicting your waking life with paranoia and vague anxiety.
The bunny was creepy, but his “Oh, sh*t!” expression was perfect. He stood there incredulously as the president rambled on about things he really didn’t need to ramble on about in front of a crowd of mostly children. On Easter. The bunny couldn’t believe his gigantic ears.
That bunny was all of us. As much as we practically expect Trump to make a seemingly simple task, like welcoming Easter egg rollers and guests to the White House lawn, cringe-worthy and unnecessarily extravagant, we never really know how he’s going to spin things. We never know what will fly out of his mouth, however inappropriate or ill-advised, and we’re never quite sure how to react.
So…we just shake our heads, roll our eyes, shrug our shoulders, and apologize to the other parents for letting our kid off his leash.
Typical President Trump. He didn’t do or say anything particularly inflammatory or more ridiculous than most of what he says. He played some of his biggest hits. He awkwardly grabbed the Easter Bunny’s hand as if he’d just won Santa Claus’ championship belt. He proved those fake news weather people wrong with a beautiful day, despite forecasts of rain. He declared that there was no name for the White House, even though there literally is – it’s literally called the White House. He made an attempt, I’m assuming, to relate to children, saying the White House staff keeps the place in “tippy top shape.” Weird.
The country’s doing “great,” he assured us. “You look at what’s happening…” with the economy. “You see what’s happening…” with military funding. “Just think of $700 billion dollars, because that’s all going into our military this year.”
You had one job, Trump. One address to make. One minute, tops. Welcome the kids and their parents, thank everyone who made this event possible, and then…nothing else. Go roll some eggs.
Quick touch-points that don’t actually offer any insights or information aren’t necessary, but it’s not dissimilar from how Trump runs his campaigns or rallies. He riles up a crowd with superlatives and hyperbole, getting people pumped for astronomical military spending and a booming economy that’s going to be bigger and better than ever before. Whatever.
All the while, for this two-minute nonsense speech, the Easter Bunny stood there in disbelief, wide-eyed and slack-jawed, searching the crowd for any kind of reassurance that someone else was hearing this.
And he was all of us, but maybe all of us a year or two ago. At this point, most of us have gotten used to this kind of thing, and this is by far not the worst thing he’s ever said or done. It’s not even the worse thing he’s said or done this week – and it’s only Tuesday.
No, since Sunday, he’s ranted about illegal immigration. He blamed the Democrats for being too lax on border control, even though border arrests have been significantly reduced since Trump’s been in office. He asserted that dangerous “‘caravans'” are coming over from Mexico. He called on Republicans to use their “Nuclear Option” to get tougher immigration laws passed, and he declared that any DACA deal was dead, even though there really hasn’t been a deal on the table for some time now.
That was all in one tweet.
He further clarified his stance on DACA, stating that illegal immigrants were hoping to hop the border in order to take advantage of DACA protections. However, anyone with a basic understanding of the DACA program as it is currently operated – as the president should certainly have – would know that an illegal immigrant entering the country today would be ineligible for the DACA program.
Cue the Easter Bunny.
Today, he said that liberal “fake news” outlets were afraid of competition from the heavily conservative and Trump-supporting Sinclair Broadcast Group. Also, he openly mocked the American press during a press conference with Baltic leaders and asserted, “Probably nobody’s been tougher on Russia than Donald Trump.”
Yes, he referred to himself in the third-person. Seriously…where’s the Easter Bunny when you need him?
If none of this is anywhere near as terrifying or arguably newsworthy than 90% of what he says or does, why even talk about it?
Because we all shared a moment with that Easter Bunny, who by now is a celebrity in his own right. His plastered expression is the one we’ve all been wearing since 2016. While we may have gotten numb to the ridiculous things he says – whether you support him or not – he still manages to keep us confounded and anxious.
That’s the danger of a leader like Donald Trump, though. The anxiety that the entire nation, and often the world, experiences each time he carelessly threatens a nuclear war with North Korea or an arms race with Russia is taking a toll on our collective psyche. The flippancy with which he proclaims that the US military will soon be utilized to curb border crossings is irresponsible. The hypocrisy he exudes as he declares that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month is a slap in the face to the entire #MeToo movement.
All the while, there are real issues that need to be addressed. These issues – which I can’t possibly enumerate right now – are serious and complex, and they’re being overshadowed by Trump’s incessant rattling. Maybe that’s his plan, though. Maybe he’s smarter than all of us, or maybe he simply knows how to play the news media. After all, nothing he’s doing now hasn’t been done before. It’s all in some historical playbook. It’s just nothing that this generation of Americans has seen in our lifetime.
It really is unprecedented, or “unpresidented,” depending on whose dictionary you’re going by.
In the words of Trump, “who knows” where this crazy train will lead us. Mueller’s investigation seems to have hit on several smoking guns, but has been slow to progress towards possible impeachment. The nation has seen two major protests within the past few weeks, neither of which the president has acknowledged. Americans are gearing up for the midterm elections, ready to fight for control of Congress unlike ever before.
And in the meantime, we’re all looking on. Easter Bunnied.