Talking into his mashed potatoes

Gail Collins addresses something I wondered about after watching a fragment of Trump’s attempted speech the other night:

Maybe all this wall obsessing makes Trump tired. He certainly seemed low-energy during his Oval Office address. “He makes Jeb Bush look like a combination of Mighty Mouse and Bruce Springsteen,” a friend of mine said after the president finished his nine-minute speech to the American people.

For every viewer whose response to the talk was “Wow, we should do something about immigration!” there must have been a hundred whose first reaction was “Why does this man keep sniffing?” Deviated septum? Nasal polyps? Trump’s breathing has actually sounded strange for a long time, but most of us have chosen to ignore it rather than engage in a national conversation about the president’s nose.

If you watched the address — and really, you could have, it was only about as long as it takes to microwave popcorn — you saw a 72-year-old guy squinting at the teleprompter and making rather alarming breathing sounds while reading a speech about how we need a wall to protect women who are “sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico.”

This is not a man who should wrap his arguments around the idea of protecting women from sexual assault. But also, gee, he sounded like Uncle Fred who you haven’t seen for a while and suddenly he shows up for Thanksgiving with weird colored hair and vacant eyes and he’s talking into his mashed potatoes.

Now we know why Trump never made a speech from the Oval Office before. He’s a guy whose great political talent is yelling applause lines to a howling mob of supporters. If they cheer, he goes back again and again.

That’s what I was wondering about – how he manages to draw those howling mobs of supporters when he is so bad at talking. I guess it’s because of the howling mobs of supporters? They inspire him? He’s not more reasonable or coherent or interesting in front of the mobs but at least he doesn’t look and sound like a store dummy hideously brought to life.

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