I hope you’re well over there, out of all this mess. With the impeachment hearings’ full volume of welcome reaching a crescendo in D.C., I want to tell you about my visit to the Trump Presidential Library-Casino before it’s taken down next month, like its President, and files for bankruptcy.
Over there you’re not up on our politics so I’ll fill you in along the way with my excursion to Allentown today. This harkens back to that November night when thanks to a last minute rejection of what the Federal Election Commission estimated were 400,000 mainly black votes, President Trump had a squeaker of a win against Hillary. The media went nuts but rather than cause a violent rending of our nation and a reversal of hundreds of years of gentlemanly democracy, Hillary stepped aside. Then the impeachments began.
So, back to my visit this afternoon. I paid the “Patriot Discount” (for NRA members) $100 entrance fee, and entered the big gold doors.
Made of red bricks and mortar, it is really more like a set-piece of disaster. It’s a three story Library-Casino fashioned from an abandoned 1940s factory which until last year housed an EPA monitoring facility. Back when there was an EPA.
The Trump Presidential Library and Casino looks like it did the day he opened it, unusually early in March 2017. There are faux ionic columns, a huge gold spray-paint 1980s-font title above the door, and an attached Presidential Golf Course out back. And portraits. Dozens. It’s almost North Korean in its obsession with portraits of our soon to be history dear leader.
Since the gold spray paint hasn’t weathered yet it’s still snazzy. The main demolition hasn’t started so it’s lucky I came now; but they are pulling down the separate “Hall of Future Leaders” – the famous shrine to his kids. Now that’s a pile of rubble: broken concrete and rebar with “Make America Great Again” hats discarded among the piled trash. Eric Trump’s hunting trophies and portraits lie in the dust and the whole thing is a fitting metaphor of the greater catastrophe, like Don Jr. grinning atop a hunted elephant carcass – the photo glass broken.
Outside the Library-Casino, back in D.C., with the failure of his administration, the president eventually suspended the “Daily Shouts” press conferences. Being under so many indictments silenced him, but didn’t shut up Press Secretary KellyAnne Conway’s twisted justifications and non answers to what’s left of the Washington press corp. Most of its members have been blacklisted as unwelcome “In any Federal or Trump property.” But I’ll spare you Conway’s verbal dreck.
Acting President Pence is tight lipped about the Chinese raising their flag even higher over the South China Sea, and Russia’s shockingly violent invasion of Ukraine in April. There’s nary a mention of Russia’s crushing of that “suburb of St. Petersburg” – as Secretary of State Gingrich called Estonia.
It is a smaller mess here at the Library-Casino than in the wider world. I’ll leave Putin’s Latvian, Lithuanian, and Georgian “peace involvements” and the violence in Eastern Europe for my next letter. But you can’t visit there – or fly anywhere easily – thanks to the “Muslim Terrorism Exclusion and Internment Act of 2017” – and associated 300,000 person round-up of young Muslim men in the US.
With the April nuking in Syria, ISIS’s territory is unusable forever, but 20,000 surviving ISIS fighters fled Syria and took up residence in cities around the world where they periodically explode themselves. The thing is, Sis, this all happened so fast.
So I snorted at the “Treaty Room” which was obviously designed before our current, exciting international situation developed. The irony! – pictures of President Trump shaking hands with Kim Jong Un, Mugabe, and the special Putin display: “American-Russian Friendship for the 21st Century,” – all ring hollow now.
The “Trade Room” displays a variety of products with prominent “MADE IN USA” tags. It’s well air-conditioned by Carrier Air Conditioners because ultimately they did bring their factory back from Mexico. The victory was pyrrhic though because foreign countries tacked 45% tariffs on our exports, leaving a swathe of bankruptcies as our exporting economy ended. You won’t find an American product outside America where you live, Sis, for a long time. Then there’s Wall St., but you know about that catastrophe. It makes for a sad library, but let’s continue on our walk-through while it’s still here.
With the special prosecutors charges, state and federal, and the UN’s war crimes indictments, (re: the extreme extreme waterboarding and torture of terrorists’ families), it all comes home – here – to the Trump Presidential Library-Casino, Allentown.
Despite the mock up model on the grounds, ultimately there was no border wall built between the US and Mexico, just a metaphorical one built around 1950s white America. But Trump did export a lot of undocumented workers because returnees to Mexico have topped 10,000 a day.
I couldn’t miss the “Family Values Room” (Pence’s idea, apparently) near the entrance with glowing Trump family portraits in Norman Rockwell style, and an engraved frieze of Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking” with all that “Winning Personality” rubbish. Of course there’s the irony of this being a library where there are no actual books. None, other than a Warholian wall of repeating copies of The Art of the Deal – POTUS Edition. The Department of Education made local school districts put it in their compulsory curricula to get their federal funds. Back when there was a Department of Education.
Up the golden escalator to the Second Floor is “The First Lady’s Room,” rich in irony. Her self-designed “bootiful frock,” on display in a large case – which you’ll remember from the inauguration – turned out to be somebody else’s design.
There are some non-Trump portraits; there’s Surgeon General Dr. Carson, but no mention of the whole vaccine mess and resultant measles quarantine lockdowns in Northern California. There’s a huge gold framed selfie of Sec-State Gingrich (now defaced – by an Estonian visitor, perhaps?), and the new Secretary for Alien Adjustment Sarah Palin pictured jumping up the stairs of Air Force One (they don’t say it but remember what she said): “I’ll sort out those wetbacks in Tijuana, Honduras, or any other Mexican city they swarm from.” You can see it on the youtube blooper reels.
Next door is the adjoining Casino part of the complex which is still open to the public. Breitbart-Fox plays on the TVs, there are lots of slots, and (I note only white dealers for) card games. The slots are bizarre because if you win a jackpot pennies spill out to the tune of Hail to the Chief and the President’s voice shouting in that droning yell; “WINNER!” But nobody wins.
At the back of the complex is the now closed Presidential Cafe where Trump’s vanity products were on sale. Interestingly, all his failed brands were reinvigorated and resurrected by compulsory purchasing “Guidelines” for the federal government and military. Good for business. His licensed products are at every government function, embassy, and even in disaster zones. So when the climate change inundation of Southern Florida happened in February (in Winter!), there was no shortage of mandated Trump Water, Trump Vodka, caviar, and steaks in the disaster zone; lucky sunken Floridians.
But the weirdest, most ironic room in the complex would have to be the “Trumpania Room.” Taking up the entire third floor it is a large well lit pink marble space featuring a 12 ft square architectural diorama of his planned new capital city in central Florida. It’s a sight to behold, Sis, on a truly miniature imperial scale. Future Trumpania’s endless radially-expanding wide boulevards are lined by columned teeny monstrosities, luxury apartment blocks identical to his real buildings. They all lead the centerpiece; Trump Capitol. That is an immense domed superstructure where clouds would have formed in a cupola stadium for 100,000. Is lit by little LED lights and tiny (white) people models the size of match-heads.
Interestingly, I spoke with a curator who told me that in the closing days of the administration Marine One from D.C. would visit most nights. As the state and federal special prosecutors circled ever closer to an increasingly silent White House, at night President Trump would chopper in. He’d inspect the models for hours, making adjustments here, plumb-lining tiny new boulevards on the model there, and muttering to himself in that Archie Bunker accent that made so many think he was an ordinary working stiff like us.