It’s not that Donald Trump is actively trying to be an idiot literally all of the time. It’s just that he’s clearly been told his whole life to do what he knows how to do well, and the only thing he knows how to do well is put on a show.
I mean, thinking people all see through his nonsense, but performative art needn’t be believable to everyone all the time — it just needs to be believable enough to entertain the folks you’re aiming for. The problem is, not every public appearance is the time for putting on a show, and that’s something Donald Trump has never figured out. He is always on stage, which is a term I’ve only applied in the past to pretentious hipster types or this one guy I went to high school with: There is no genuine self, only the portrayed self that the performer wants you to see.
And at the funeral of George H. W. Bush, what Trump wanted people to see was him being the commander in chief.
So yeah, of course he saluted the casket, like absolutely no one ever does.
He probably could have glanced at George W. Bush, who placed his hand over his heart — appropriately — as the flag was draped over the coffin. He might even have googled (or had one of his soul-selling aides google) what the proper protocol is for the funeral of a war hero. Bush Senior was, after all, the last President to have served in active combat duty.
Trump, on the other hand, has never served. His five medical deferments due to “bone spurs” in his feet saw to that. And that’s what really stuck in people’s heads as they reacted to Trump’s breach of military protocol — which we could go into at length here, but you didn’t come to read the Flag Code or what some professor of military history says about why it was dumb for Trump to have saluted at all, let alone to a casket.
Is it even protocol for a nonmilitary person to salute at a deceased officer’s ceremony?
— Katie Wunsch (@SistaConstance) December 4, 2018
No, Katie. It’s not at all.
Watching trump surrounded by all the military personnel is so offensive. He doesn’t deserve any hand salute.
— Gracie (@GasteluzGrace) December 4, 2018
Draft dogers salute war heroes, sure thing.
— Nancy Hilliard (@nncyhllrd) December 4, 2018
He’s a coward who ran from service. He disrespects our great servicemen and women regularly. He doesn’t get to salute anyone.
— If Dirt Were Dollars (@ScreamingLiner2) December 4, 2018
The 45th President is not now, and never has been, in the military, so he’s not supposed to salute anyone unless they salute him first. Which he would know if he actually gave a shit about anything other than himself.
— Ken Fitzgerald (@loudlong) December 4, 2018
What else might the President know if he did even the most cursory of research before heading in for a funeral he’s already done his best to make all about himself? He might know how to actually salute if he’s gonna break protocol and do it anyway:
Why the salute? And last I checked the thumb doesn’t curl into the hand during a salute, inappropriate or not. Fail.
— Ҡгіʂlyn ❄️📚 (@Ricekristies_) December 4, 2018
Featured image via Twitter