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Under Trump, the GOP has become a cult

President Trump.Evan Vucci/Associated Press/Associated Press

It had been a vexing few weeks for the leader of the Grand Old Cult. Or Party, as those members who harked back to a time when it was based on principles and not personality still liked to call it.

First there’d been the Great Trumpkin’s spat with the G-7, triggered by Canada’s outrageous decision to retaliate for American trade tariffs. And how cruelly he had been mocked for his suggestion that Vladimir Putin be readmitted to their group! The Europeans were still livid that Russia had snaffled Crimea from Ukraine all those decades — well, months — ago.


The Great Trumpkin scowled. Crimea, Scri-mea. They spoke Russian, so they were really part of Russia, he had told the other G-7ers. Whereupon he had heard a snide whisper: You guys speak English, so I guess you’re really part of England or Scotland.

Not England. Not since the War of Jenkins’ Ear. He’d gone to the best schools, and he knew his history. But Scotland — were they trying to trick him? Didn’t they speak Scotch there? Anyway, with all Pootie had done for him, he was ready to forgive and forget.

Then he had gone to Singapore to meet — Dear Leader to Dear Leader — with Kim Jong Un. The Great Trumpkin’s propaganda team had made a glittering film about their historic summit, and the two Dear Leaders had issued a grand statement promising a lofty denuclearized nirvana, one that had no timeline or details or prospect of actually happening. As such, it had made the Great Trumpkin nostalgic for his campaign promises! He’d felt very good indeed — until analysts began noting that Kim had played him the way Fonzie did the jukebox.


And now the country was up in arms because he was ripping families apart at the border and putting kids in detention centers. Dear Little Rocketman, that talented and estimable fellow, could toss people in jail for years and nobody in his country said a word. And look at Pootie. When that girl band — Grab Them By The . . . no, that wasn’t it, but something like that — had mocked him, he had slapped them in prison.

The Great Trumpkin had hoped to rally the entire cult to his side. Just follow Corey’s lead and offer a sneering “womp womp” to stories of traumatized kids. Why, the Thugwomps, with its nice 19th century ring, could even become the new nickname of the Grand Old Cult!

But only Official State Fox News TV had been regularly broadcasting the administration’s creative, nonreality-based assertion that he was merely enforcing the law, that this was really the Democrats’ fault, and that only Congress could fix the problem.

It was draining. The Great Trumpkin needed praise — and he was tired of having to supply it all himself. So he had called together the legislative members of the cult for a public praise-fest. He knew he struck fear in their hearts. He’d seen the departing Bob Corker mock the remaining Republican sycophants — um, senators — for tiptoeing around like a librarian’s ghost for fear they “might poke the bear.”


He also knew they rolled their eyes and circled their fingers round their ears and whispered “eaking-fray uts-nay” the moment he left the room. But that was just one more reason why he loved summoning them to the White House to engage in the Trumpswabbery that the Grand Old Cult’s rank-and-file demanded as a sign of fealty. And they’d come, 11 senators and five representatives, to laud his leadership.

And yet . . . it galled to be praised for cleaning up a mess of his own making. And despite his best efforts, the meeting’s real purpose was clear: To provide cover for his family-separation retreat — a retreat that highlighted his lies.

Now he’d have to double-down on his falsehoods and blame-shifting — and at a time when the Presidential Proboscis was already growing so rapidly it was hard to fit into his helicopter.

There was no upside. Well, just one.

None of that would be scrutinized on Official State Fox News TV.

Scot Lehigh can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeScotLehigh.