By all accounts, working for President Donald Trump is an absolute nightmare. On top of the obvious embarrassment one must feel being directly associated with the disastrous administration, Trump is reportedly vindictive and vicious towards his subordinates. The Washington Post recently detailed the manner in which Trump regularly insults and demeans those who work for him.
In response to the Post’s article, Hope Hicks – the White House Director of Strategic Communications – released a ridiculous statement that quickly became the subject of widespread ridicule:
“President Trump has a magnetic personality and exudes positive energy, which is infectious to those around him. He has an unparalleled ability to communicate with people, whether he is speaking to a room of three or an arena of 30,000. He has built great relationships throughout his life and treats everyone with respect. He is brilliant with a great sense of humor … and an amazing ability to make people feel special and aspire to be more than even they thought possible.”
Ignoring the flagrant mendacity of the statement, it’s impossible not to find the wording strange, if not patently absurd. It reads like a speech from an autocratic regime’s cult of personality praising their Supreme Leader or a work of satire.
In terms of content, Trump actively exudes a negative energy, not a positive one. His campaign rhetoric was focused on how bad and weak America has become, and how he was the only one could fix it. He regularly uses his social media to attack his opponents and the free press. He’s also habitually disrespectful towards women, so it’s more than a stretch for Hicks to say that he “treats everyone with respect.”
A senior writer for Shareblue made a hilarious comparison on Twitter:
i changed one thing about this statement from trump white house spokesperson hope hicks, see if you can find it pic.twitter.com/wnH0j5F7pZ
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) May 30, 2017
Another Twitter user compared the statement to a quote from The Manchurian Candidate, a film about an American politician who has been brainwashed by a foreign country:
Manchurian Candidate: “Raymond Shaw is the kindest, warmest, bravest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.”
Hope Hicks: pic.twitter.com/OUOtv9OBNt
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) May 29, 2017
Trump has a disturbing history of cozying up to dictators and foreign strongmen, so it’s unsurprising that his team’s rhetoric would mimic the grossly exaggerated praise that such leaders heap upon themselves. Subtlety – like governance – clearly isn’t Trump’s strong suit.