The Trump Swagger
At the 2012 Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney was a few minutes behind schedule to take the podium and accept the nomination for president. In the long walk from his private room through the corridor and behind the stage, the genteel Mitt kept whispering “Excuse me” as he wiggled his way through well-wishers or just bystanders. The uber-polite Mitt just wouldn’t move any faster, along with his equally polite security.
And Donald Trump?
At a European Union conference with all the heads of state from those countries big and small it was picture time as presidents and prime ministers jousted for the premier photo op.
The Prime Minister of Montenegro naturally assumed that he could elbow his way past his polite European counterparts to put himself and his little country in the center of the photo. But he made the audacious mistake of stepping in front of Donald Trump.
A big mistake.
The President almost physically thrust the unsuspecting Prime Minister aside and put himself -- and the United States -- front and center. Right where he belonged.
No one, least of all Mr. Montenegro, dared to say a word. After all, this was more than just the President of the United States. This was the bold, brash Donald Trump. Get in his way and he’ll steamroll you.
Donald J. Trump. A celebrity titan splashed across the tabloids and dishing it out on Entertainment Tonight long before his presidency. A Teddy Roosevelt minus the spectacles. A Ronald Reagan with an attitude.
A President who looked more badass than his Secret Service detail.
Trump returned the bully pulpit to the Oval Office and made it cool again. Pajama boy was out, Marlboro Man back.
Like JFK, President Trump was the quintessential man’s man. Men wanted to be like him, women wanted to be near him. He dressed to the nines and sported a profile as defiant and haughty as Churchill’s.
He married a supermodel because, well, he could. With looks and glamour that the press tried their best to ignore, Melania reigned as the most glamorous First Lady since Jackie Kennedy. Probably ever.
And his children?
Smart, attractive, friendly, with a loyalty to their father that would be the envy of any parent. A fixture at the Trump rallies and on the talk shows, Eric, Ivanka, and Don Jr. became part of our lives too. In large part because they were so likable, and always at their father’s side, through thick and thin.
With Trump there was never any playing for the camera, which Reagan turned into an art form. What you saw was what you got. In private or public. He was nobody’s creation but his own.
His take-charge, no-nonsense confidence was catchy, and resonated with just about every demographic in the country, minus the liberal one. But he didn’t care when the mainstream media made him their nightly piñata, and neither did we.
He dispensed with the “American exceptionalism is like Greek exceptionalism,” a la Obama. Under Trump, America was exceptional. Number one. And he made the world take notice.
He neutered North Korea. Cowed Iran. Drew a line that China and Russia dared not cross.
He wowed crowds in India. Charmed the Queen of England. Played the Art of the Deal with Canada and Mexico. Even earned grudging admiration from the usually snooty French.
More important than the world stage is what President Trump brought to the rest of us.
It is said that John Kennedy’s beaming personality prompted a national rise in confidence. Anyone who recalls Trump’s Mt. Rushmore speech last Summer at the pinnacle of his Presidency can readily attest to much the same.
He did more to bolster the morale and overall good feelings within the Republican Party that we hadn’t seen since the heyday of Ronald Reagan.
Donald Trump made us believe.
Those lucky enough to have been present at the 2016 Republican Convention during his magnificent speech left with little doubt that we would win in the Fall. After listening to that speech, how could we not? Victory was assured.
Then it happened. For real. His victory -- our victory -- shocked the media and their liberal lemmings. But not us. We knew. We were there through it all. We felt it coming.
And with the confidence and swagger of our President, we swaggered too. Brazen and unapologetic. Swaggering into that high end restaurant in a Trump campaign jacket wasn’t even a challenge. The converted smiled or thanked us, the liberals sneered but never approached us, timid wretches that they were.
Trump was in charge now. Which meant we were too. If you didn’t like it we didn’t care. And it showed. We had our President’s back, and he had ours. As we swaggered by the liberals, we let it be known we were in the Trump camp, proud and tall... see my presidential pin from my last White House visit, you Lilliputians.
In the last round he got knocked to the mat. Down for the count? No, but enough to lose the fight in the end.
Yet with Donald Trump there’s never really an end. He’s been battered and bruised and knocked down time and again, but has always picked himself up to fight another day.
The Art of the Comeback.
This is just one more setback in his tumultuous yet extraordinary life. And the biggest mistake his critics and rivals have fallen into over the years was to underestimate him. One way or another, he always comes back. The harder he falls, the bigger the comeback. And this time his comeback will be the biggest of all.
Tom Mountain is the MassGOP Vice Chair and was a 2020 Trump Campaign Regional Director
Image: White House