Donald Trump loves a great deal. You know that by now, right? A great, fantastic, beautiful deal. Big-league or bigly, whichever you prefer. Huge. It was his campaign’s USP. President Trump promised to strike bigger, better deals for America. And already his supporters are seeing the fruits.
This morning, the President-elect, the man who is soon to become leader of the free world, the 45th man to lead America, emailed me with his Black Friday deal. ‘Rob, President-elect Trump loves a great deal,’ began the missive from his campaign store. ‘And in honor of Black Friday, Mr. Trump is extending a 30%-OFF DEAL at the Official Store for Trump Gear.’ Using the code BLACKFRIDAY, shoppers can get discounts on his $149 Christmas Tree ornament (that iconic red cap miniaturised in brass form and finished in 24-carat gold) or the usual assortment of hats, T-shirts, badges and mugs.
There are, of course, many reasons to fear a Trump presidency. His rhetoric on Muslims, Mexicans and women are all grounds to have serious reservations about the way he will govern. Aside from his policies, however, are the questions of style – quite literally. Will the brash billionaire bring his gilded interior design tastes to Washington, bringing a touch of Louis XV – all marble, gold leaf and Rococo fixtures? And how will he separate business from the august position of president, given that he has already claimed it is impossible for the head of state to have conflicts of interest? There are already reports that work on a much delayed project in Buenos Aires resumed soon after he spoke to Argentina’s president on the telephone.
Making the leap from TV business guru to president brings all sorts of pitfalls. Not least of which is the very real danger that Trump’s populist approach to commerce – slapping his name in giant letters on the side of planes and towers – will cheapen the highest office in the land. It is an office that projects America’s identity around the world. Its hopes, dreams and fears. And with the frightening power of the world’s biggest nuclear arsenal, come towering duties and responsibilities.
When the brash billionaire from Queens, New York, assumes the title of president, he will become a figurehead for the world’s greatest democracy, and a reflection of the values and ideals of its 320 million people. He will be the hope and inspiration for millions more living under the yolk of tyranny and oppression overseas. Is flogging giant thumbs-up foam hands with a 30% discount the way to do that?