The Joy of Trump

Reading Time: 4 minutes

What bothers you most when you’re in a bad mood?

You can imagine what it’s like be in a bad mood, can’t you? People go through periods of deep funk when nothing seems bright or cheerful, don’t they?

And when you’re in those moods, what’s the worst thing? That’s right, it’s being around a bunch of happy people having fun.

And that’s exactly how the left feels when they see Trump at a press conference: miserable amid the fun.

Leftists are pessimists by training. They see the dark cloud but never the silver lining. They live to find out what’s wrong with every picture. They see the world as a fixed pie and they demand their slices.

People of the Right tend to be optimists. We see the value of rain, the beauty in works of art, and the growing of the pie. We see the future as better than the recent past. Maybe we have to go through hell to reach that shiny future, but we believe it can be done and we can do it.

The right believes in shared sacrifice and shared happiness. The left believes in equal distribution of misery. It’s a subtle difference, but it makes all the difference in the world.

Understanding that, you can imagine how miserable the whole left world was yesterday. Donald Trump was so damn happy at his press conference. He was having a ball! Trump Nation stopped to share in our President’s joy. Here are some texts I sent and received during the presser:


Greatest presidential press conference in history. This is pure governance gold. One for the ages.


BEST PRESSER EVER!!!!!!! Wow!!!!!!!!!


This is awesome. I’m listening on headphones at work laughing like an idiot.


Epic!!!!


He called Schumer a lightweight!


I just stood in front of a tv in a McDonald’s for the entire presser. Truly epic.


These were real-time, live reactions to what we were seeing and hearing. These were not planned, staged reactions edited for effect. They were heartfelt responses to a moment of shared joy among friends.

Now, if you’re prone to melancholy and you see the world as a terrible place full unfairness, you hated it. You hated Trump’s joy. You hate him, not for his policies or anything he’s said in the past. You hate him because he enjoys life.

Even the Washington Post recognized his joy, as I pointed out yesterday:

he became more fiery and animated — joyful, even — when he began to banter and joust with the assembled reporters.

Remember that quote. It’s important. To the left, joy is a sin. And Trump’s joy even caught the attention of fake-news purveyor, Politico:

But he did so with a kind of gleeful abandon, even a sly playfulness at times (“Now, that’s what I call a nice question,” he said when someone asked a softball about his wife, Melania) that suggested he himself was in on the act. The sheer concentration of the performance not only probably played well with his core supporters, but seemed just another iteration of the new normal that is Trump’s Washington.

The great Jim Hoft captured our joy in the faces of Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway taken during Trump’s presser:

And no one was more depressed or angrier than CNN’s Jake Tapper. His reaction to Trump’s joyful presser was almost a suicide note caught on video. Trapper saw nothing but dark clouds.

If you are a soldier in harm’s way right now, if you are a hungry child in Appalachia or the inner city, if you are an unemployed worker in a hollow shell of a steel town, that’s not a president who seemed rather focused on your particular needs and wants,That’s a president focused on his bad press.”

A lot of Americans are going to watch that press conference and think, ‘That guy is not focused on me. I don’t even know what he’s focused on.’

Tapper proved my point about leftists perfectly. Trapper is trapped in fixed-pie thinking. And fixed-pie thinking leads to war and violence because fairness demands that we take what others have.

And we’ve been here before.

Most Republican presidents, though they embody some degree of joy, present themselves as serious, concerned, and even a little dour. Or maybe it’s my age. Maybe my psyche holds the residue of Richard Nixon as the quintessential Republican. He was the first Republican president in my life.

Ronald Reagan, though, was anything but dour. His sunny optimism and his faith in America and her people carried the nation. The left hated Reagan, not so much for his policies, as for his joy. Those cotton-headed Millennials don’t know it, but the left portrayed Reagan as an anti-women, anti-gay, anti-black, anti-Jew fascist bent on blowing up the world.

The left hated Reagan, and Reagan’s unconstrained joy only made them hate him worse. They lied about him and his cabinet. They vilified Reagan’s friends.

The leftist press has always been dishonest and vengeful. But sometimes even the leftist press comes around.

Reagan’s chief nemesis in the press was Sam Donaldson who admitted that his respect for Reagan “only grew.” In a short piece in  USAToday commemorating Reagan’s 100th birthday, Donaldson wrote:

Perhaps, above all, it was his great optimism about America and Americans and the way he carried himself through his eight years that mark his greatness. When Reagan walked into a room, he was unfailingly polite and friendly without any good ol’ boy posturing. You knew you were in the presence of the president of the United States.

Trump’s demeanor and temperament are very different from Reagan’s, of course. Trump expresses his optimism differently. Trump’s version of friendliness reflects his Queens upbringing while Reagan’s reflected Dixon, Illinois.

2/5/1981 President Reagan during an interview with Sam Donaldson of ABC News Leslie Stahl of CBS News and Judith Woodruff of NBC News with James Brady at the Cross Hall White House Library

But Reagan and Trump share an optimism and faith in America that well from the same spring. Pessimists don’t wear ball caps emblazoned with the rallying cry “Make America Great Again.” Leftists, we have learned, believe America never was great and never will be. Leftists like Tapper suffer from a pervasive pessimism that borders on the pathological. That’s why Trump’s joyful presser only increased Jake Tapper’s feelings of depression and hopelessness.

I hope Tapper got a good night’s sleep and came to his senses. America could experience a lot of joy during the Trump administration. I’d hate for all that joy to ruin Jake’s life.

But I won’t let Tapper’s psychosis get me down because it’s going to be okay.




Also published on Medium.