Snake Oil Salesman… in Chief

Man selling fake elixir

Surely you’ve already heard all about it, but it’s impossible not to comment on the aspiring snake oil salesman in chief. Donald Trump was, is, and always will be America’s greatest snake oil salesman, and in his vulgar way, as American as apple pie. As if his gold high-top sneakers weren’t enough, Trump is now hawking Bibles, not just any Bibles, mind you, but a “God Bless the USA Bible” (partnering with country singer Lee Greenwood) that includes the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Pledge of Allegiance. As Trump says, “Make America Pray Again.” The cost is $59.99 (plus shipping), a bargain compared to those grotesque $399 sneakers he thinks appeal to Black people. He claims the profits won’t go to his campaign, but there’s no reason to think they won’t go to pay his ever-mounting legal bills.

Alas, the man knows no bottom and his lack of respect for his Christian “base” and their faith is boundless. He has the audacity to compare himself to Jesus Christ, while failing to live a single Christian virtue. He proudly casts himself as a Christ-like martyr (“I’m being indicted for you”), and some of his loyalists even say he was “appointed” by God and that his critics are trying to “crucify” him. No matter if all this godliness is in direct contrast to his threats and boast (“I am your retribution”), the base doesn’t seem to care.

Trump portrays himself as the defender of Christianity (the Bible debuting Easter week, no less!), while he is on trial for paying off a porn star he had an affair with. He says, “Christians are under siege in this country and we must protect content that’s pro-God,” but there is nothing pro-God about either his selfish life or his cruel policies. He claims the Bible is his favorite book and he has many in his home, but when asked about his favorite verse, he’s hard-pressed to respond, because he’s obviously never read the bible and has no intention of doing so anytime soon. (What happened to “thou shalt not lie”?)

Car salesmen pedaling cars

Trump has Proclaimed Himself to Be God’s Chosen Emissary on Earth.

Putting the snake oil issue aside, inserting the text of the United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence in a “God Bless the USA Bible” is the ultimate gesture of Christian Nationalism, the very antithesis of separation of church and state. A sizeable portion of Trump’s white Christian base has decided that America was founded as a Christian nation, a notion about as valid as their belief the 2020 election was stolen. This humble spirit grew up in a devout church-going family and lived during the 19th century’s second and third “Great Awakenings,” but I’m here to tell you, these people have totally lost it!

If you look back on Trump’s life, it’s nothing but a series of grifts and frauds, and above all, a colossal failure. He has never contributed anything of value to anything or anyone, least of all the country or the MAGA supporters he so falsely purports to love. His life has played out like an over-the-top parody of the “American dream” that reminds this humble spirit of John Updike’s novels about a character named Rabbit Angstrom, a successful car salesman—Rabbit Run, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit is Rich, and Rabbit at Rest. And what has Trump given us? Rabbit Declares Corporate Bankruptcy Six Times (which includes a special bonus section, Rabbit Screws Over Atlantic City Contractors), Rabbit Grabs Women by Their P******, Rabbit Attempts a Coup, Rabbit Aspires to Becomes a Fascist Dictator, and, finally, out of desperation to stay out of prison, Rabbit Hawks Tacky Christian Nationalist Bibles.

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