Since he came down that gold escalator, he’s pretty much dominated the news cycle and also occupied a large percentage of our brains. I may have been dropping a kid off at school, but in the back of mind I was worrying about that tweet where he declared war. I may have been walking in the park but I was thinking about his bizarre fever dream about buying Greenland and Tom Cotton’s sycophantic defense of it. For other people, of course, the threat was much more immediate: Would they be able to remain in this country another day?
It’s been more than four years of near-constant norm-busting and democracy-killing, but then that’s how slides into autocracy work. The president hasn’t just occupied the news, he’s occupied every cocktail party conversation (when we used to have those), every family dinner table conversation and every inch of our media, social or otherwise. The president has been the star in our lives, or maybe the hostage taker. Stay tuned to find out what terrible thing he’ll cook up next.
But now Donald Trump is gone. Well, not gone yet, but on his way out of power, so we’re in the lull of what Susan Glasser calls the “yeah, whatever” phase of Trump’s lame-duck Presidency.” At noon on Jan. 20, Trump will no longer be able to draft largely meaningless but still terrifying executive orders or tweet declarations of war. Our tax dollars will no longer pay for the president’s large adult failsons’ around the clock Secret Service protection. We will no longer wonder about his daughter’s initiatives intended just to help her look busy but with the power of the presidency behind them or what his son-in-law is doing in Saudi Arabia.