Columns 2016

Hoisted on his own petard

There’s an old phrase – hoisted on your own petard – which I can remember my mother quoting in my childhood every time I did something she warned me not to do and it went bad.

The quote comes from Shakespeare and, since mom was briefly an English teacher, she loved those quotes. For sure it was not something often said by any other members of our extended family. They usually used Italian phrases when yelling at us and then refused to translate what they’d just said. Didn’t matter though. We knew from the tone just how much trouble we were in.

It occurs to me that this phrase is the perfect description of the current condition of Donald Trump and his presidential campaign. Trump has sought out publicity all his life. He makes the Kardashians look like shy wallflowers in comparison. He apparently has never met a camera or microphone he didn’t like. One gets the distinct impression that he is one of those people who only really lives when the camera is rolling. The rest of the time is just for resting and reapplying makeup before the next camera arrives.

This is the way Trump has led his life and it’s now coming back to bite him in the – well, butt. I guess that’s an acceptable word for publication now given the word that Trump recently introduced into the national conversation. Everything about his life and many mistresses and wives has been documented and aired ad nauseum. From Howard Stern to Billy Bush, his interviews reek of sexism and a total disregard for women as equal human beings. He can’t even compliment his daughter without making it creepy by talking about how he’d like to date her – and I think we’ve all learned by now that Trump’s idea of a date isn’t dinner and a movie.

There is actually a video of him with wife number two, Marla Maples, discussing their 1 yr. old baby girl. Trump, when asked whether the baby was beautiful, allowed as how she had good legs. Then, while making a gesture indicating large breasts, he added, “We don’t know whether or not she’s got this part yet, but time will tell.” So I’m guessing if she didn’t have at least a 36 C cup by the time she was 13, he would not want to have much to do with her.

All this and so much more that is so sleazy and gross can be found online covering almost his entire adult life with shame. He uses and abuses women. When one wife gets too old for him, he checks out the latest roster of mistresses to choose one to marry. And when that woman gets a little old in his eyes – you know, when she starts getting into her mid thirties – he just goes back to his stable of mistresses and picks another one.

Thankfully, most people are seeing him clearly and running from him in droves. For those who continue to support him, stay tuned. Because I don’t believe the Trump show is over. Now that the news outlets have gotten the scent of the kill, you know they are all frantically searching archival footage for some other terrible thing he said that they could publish or air first.

The real question is whether there is anything he can do to turn off his core supporters. I think we all know the answer to that. So no matter what misogynistic bull do-do is found as the last weeks of this most horrible of presidential campaigns limps to its bloody, disgraceful finish, Trump has a core of followers that simply don’t care.

The people who are distancing themselves from Trump, whether his fellow Republicans or literally the rest of the country, have had the misfortune of watching the past forty years of his life being slowly and painfully revealed to us in the myriad interviews he’s done. It’s an ugly life for an ugly man.

As my mother once so wisely said to me when yet another of my grand schemes fell apart, “Hoisted on your own petard”. Sadly, given Trump’s total lack of intellect and intellectual curiosity, this quote will fall flat on his ears because I’m guessing he’s never read Shakespeare. He should try it. I suggest he start with the tragedies. They will most closely relate to how he’s going to be feeling in three weeks.