The Great Trumpkin battles the reverse curse

He was becoming the opposite of everything he claimed.

photo illustration by Lesley Becker/Globe Staff; Adobe; Globe file photo

The fickle finger of fate had furrowed a frustrated frown upon the face of the Great Trumpkin.

It was as though, in these days of contagion, he had been infected with a dreaded reverse curse.

He had bragged that with him as president, victories would be so plentiful that people would get sick of winning. But these days, all he did was lose.

He had boasted of creating the best economy in history. But now, his pandemic blunders had landed the nation in a slowdown that rivaled the Great Recession.

He was desperately trying to portray Democratic opponent Joe Biden as infirm and in his dotage. But he himself had had trouble descending a ramp at West Point. And answering a softball question on Fox State News TV about his second-term agenda. He apparently had none — beyond prosecuting his feud with former national security adviser John Bolton, that is.

And then there was COVID-19. The Great Trumpkin had predicted it would miraculously disappear once the warm weather came, but the coronavirus existed in the real world, not the happy land of his imagining. Now governors who had followed his reopen-early urgings were battling a resurgence of contagion.


Defiantly dunderheaded Ron DeSantis of Florida, aggressively addlepated Greg Abbott of Texas, cavalierly clueless Brian Kemp of Georgia, and determinedly dim-witted Doug Ducey of Arizona had led the charge of the lightweight brigade. Styling themselves as intrepid conservative leaders, they were instead securing reputations as the four horsemen of the necropolis.

The country now realized that someone had blundered and, as much as the Great Trumpkin had tried to avoid any and all responsibility, his more discerning subjects knew where the blame lay.


These days, a scant 26 percent of Americans considered him a reliable source of information about the pandemic.

The country’s loss of confidence had put the Great Trumpkin in a pickle. If he were to have any chance of bouncing back to beat Biden, the economy had to rebound as well. After all, his claim that he had created the pre-COVID economic bustle was virtually the only (hot) air left in his campaign balloon.

Yet if none but America’s most gullible trusted his advice, his assurances that things were fine would have little effect.

To solve that dilemma, he’d sent Vice President Mike Pence out to play a role he had previously reserved for himself: pandemic Pinocchio. Pence had dutifully claimed that the curve had been flattened, the situation had stabilized, and reopenings were going well.

Alas, the facts stubbornly said otherwise. Why, things had gotten so bad that governors Abbott and Ducey had been forced to close their states’ bars again, while DeSantis had banned them from serving alcohol on site. Since having a drink is pretty much the point of going to a bar, that face-saving move wasn’t likely to fool anyone. At least not anyone beyond the Trump-trusting 26 percent, bless their gullible little hearts.

Kemp, at least, hadn’t beat a retreat. Even with the coronavirus surging in Georgia, he declared that his state “continues to make solid progress in the fight,” a remark that raised the interesting question of just which side Kemp believed himself to be fighting on.


As for the Great Trumpkin, he had shifted his focus to other top priorities.

Like trying to trigger a law-and-order backlash to the national rallies protesting police violence against Black people. And reminding the country’s racists just who was looking out for them.

In a classic retweet-then-delete dog whistle, he had highlighted one of his apparent supporters shouting “white power.” That would no doubt bring a nice note from Iowa congressman Steve King and perhaps a confederate-flag lapel pin. King, however, had evolved into something the Great Trumpkin disdained.

No, no, not an avowed white supremacist. They were fine people too.

But having just been trounced by a GOP primary challenger, King was now an officially certified loser. And if there was one thing Trump hated more than anything or anyone else, it was a loser.

An unaccustomed thought struck — and his frown deepened.

Unless he could somehow reverse the curse, a life of self-loathing lay ahead.

Scot Lehigh is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at scot.lehigh@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeScotLehigh