Donald Trump Jr., one of the president’s top two dumbest failsons, has taken his spray-on beard and hit the road to promote a new book he claims to have written. It’s called Triggered, just like Joe Rogan’s 2016 Netflix comedy special, and while we all sit around fantasizing about a long, costly lawsuit based on this fact, Don is facing a different threat: an army of trolls he thought had his back. It’s a little complicated, but there’s a growing faction of the extremist right that’s tired of establishment Republican grifters choosing to make an easy buck instead of getting to work on the genocidal project of transforming America into a white Christian supremacist autocracy.
Donnie, of course, falls into sellout camp, not least for hawking 304 pages of what’s been described as “Fox News you can read on the toilet.” So does his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox News personality who has hitched her star directly to the Trump family’s fortunes. Same for Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA, an organization that takes money from withered old millionaires and the National Rifle Association to make dogshit memes mocking “safe spaces.” Which is how the trio wound up heckled at a UCLA event for Triggered by a group of ostensible supporters. Learning there would be no question and answer segment “due to time constraints,” they started angry chants, downing out Don’s efforts to speak. That’s when Guilfoyle took over.
It may say something about the efficacy of trying to burn the haters by saying “You’re not making your parents proud” and “I bet you engage and go on online dating” that Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle left the stage soon after this scolding. But it is even more reflective of the Trumpian style of machismo, which expresses itself through any number of hard-nosed, tough-guy clichés but collapses at the first inkling of a confrontation. Just as Trump Sr. made “You’re fired!” into his TV catchphrase, only to be revealed as a gutless coward prone to dismissing his White House flunkies by tweet, Trump Jr. presents himself as a fearless culture warrior, then lets his girlfriend shriek at the gaggle of extremely online fascists who helped his father win the presidency when they show up demanding an ethno-state. It’s the kind of constructive, open exchange you’d expect from a guy with a book subtitled “How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us” and loves to tweet absolutist free speech takes into an echo chamber of mindless agreement.
Truthfully, Don walked into a no-win situation when he made that appearance: Either sit back while Guilfoyle fought the battle for him, or start yelling back at the agitators, thereby becoming the “triggered” subject of his own half-assed polemic. The latter outcome would have been quite funny, though I’m not sure it could have matched the image of Donnie and Charlie looking sad and defeated as the only woman on stage embarrassed herself on their behalf, both these deeply uncharismatic men knowing they stood no chance of gaining control over the room.
Well, they made this bed, and they deserve to lie in it together — but it’s especially gratifying to see that when it comes to standing up for their fake principles, they can’t even muster a hint of the archaic manliness they peddle as part of their gender essentialist agenda.
Nice work, lads.