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Waiting for Trump, an absurdist play in which nothing happens

The daily, breathless wait for Trump to get indicted is absurd, and allows him to raise money to run for president.

People took photos in front of Trump Tower on Thursday in New York City.Michael M. Santiago/Getty

I have spent the last three days watching TV news shows in which the anchors sound like breathless versions of Vladimir and Estragon, the main characters in Samuel Beckett’s absurdist play, “Waiting for Godot.”

“Waiting for Trump” is equally absurd — a motley, endless production signifying just about nothing that allows Trump to sit back and raise money from rubes who worship him.

Trump said he was going to be arrested on Tuesday, urging supporters to come out and protest.

But Tuesday came. And nothing happened.

Then Wednesday came. And nothing happened.

Then Thursday came. And nothing happened.

For 72 hours, the people on TV kept saying, Trump’s coming. The cops put up barriers outside the courthouse in New York where Trump would be arraigned.


Then, nothing.

Nothing happens in Waiting for Godot. That’s the point.

VLADIMIR: “We wait. We are bored. No, don’t protest, we are bored to death, there’s no denying it. Good. A diversion comes along and what do we do? We let it go to waste. In an instant, all will vanish and we’ll be alone once more, in the midst of nothingness.”

I want to turn off the TV. But I can’t. I’m Waiting for Trump, in handcuffs, a mug shot, a perp walk. The TV people said it will happen. We just have to wait.

How long?

We don’t know.

Maybe we should just turn away. Find something, anything, to focus on but Trump, the porn star, the payoff, and the prosecutor.



Because he’ll be here.





ESTRAGON: “Let’s go.”

VLADIMIR: “We can’t.”

ESTRAGON: “Why not?”

VLADIMIR: “We’re waiting for Godot.”

ESTRAGON: (despairingly) “Ah!”

Ah, is right. Stay tuned. He’s coming. Show the barriers, again, with no people behind them, again, outside the courthouse, again.

VLADIMIR: “He didn’t say for sure he’d come.”


ESTRAGON: “And if he doesn’t come?”

VLADIMIR: “We’ll come back tomorrow.”

ESTRAGON: “And then the day after tomorrow.”

VLADIMIR: “Possibly.”

ESTRAGON: “And so on.”

The TV anchors are merciless. Promising something that perhaps, conceivably, maybe, possibly, actually, totally, utterly, definitely, certainly, absolutely, positively might happen.

Why do I keep watching?

VLADIMIR: “That passed the time.”

ESTRAGON: “It would have passed in any case.”

VLADIMIR: “Yes, but not so rapidly.”

The people on TV are relentless. Junkyard dogs. They are, as Pozzo, another character in “Waiting for Godot,” put it, tormentors.

POZZO: “Have you not done tormenting me with your accursed time! It’s abominable. When! When! One day, is that not enough for you.”

One day is not nearly enough. Speculation trying desperately to be fact has stretched from Trump’s original claim last Saturday that he’d be arrested through a whole week.

This is how he got elected in the first place. It’s all Trump, all the time. Trump calls the tune and everybody on TV dances. And morons like me watch. Waiting.

Night changes nothing. All the prime time hosts on FOX, CNN, and MSNBC pick up where the daytime anchors left off.

He’s coming! It’s coming!

Orange hair. Orange skin. Orange jumpsuit.

They’ve put up barriers! Like the barriers Trump’s mob stormed through so easily on Jan. 6! It’s coming! He’s coming!

All the while, Trump raises money off the waiting game.

It has been said that “Waiting for Godot” is a play in which nothing happens twice.


But “Waiting for Trump” is a play in which nothing has happened three times.

Friday would make it four.

Nothing might happen forever.

ESTRAGON: “Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it’s awful.”

VLADIMIR: “Tomorrow when I wake or think I do, what shall I say of today? That with Estragon my friend, at this place, until the fall of night, I waited for Godot?”

Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at kevin.cullen@globe.com.