Vinay Menon: Donald Trump leaves his umbrella, and America, out in the rain

Whatever you think of Donald Trump, I think we can agree on this: he’d now be better off getting pelted by rain than fumbling with an umbrella.

You ever see one of those nature docs in which a researcher hands a chimp a selfie stick and all hell breaks loose? The shrieking. The jumping. The disorientation. That’s what Trump is like with an umbrella. He grips the handle as if it might suddenly burst into flames, as if he’s never seen an umbrella before.

When the rain cascades down during presidential duty, he looks like a stoned and obese Mary Poppins in drag as he floats along, his nylon moisture shield forever at the worst imaginable angle to the wet gusts and the squalls. If you used a stationary bike the way Trump uses an umbrella, your chin would be planted on the seat and you’d be pedalling backwards with your hands. To behold Trump with an umbrella is to glimpse a Neanderthal with a smartphone: he is out of his element.

It is to question evolution and human intelligence.

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Over the weekend, Trump added a new clip to his umbrella blooper reel.

And this one was a doozy. I laughed until I cried. But I’m biased. I am proudly afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome. I’m convinced this guy is a bento box without the rice, teriyaki, tempura, miso and packets of soy sauce.

He’s just a takeout dish full of narcissism and racist dog whistles.

So, ultimately, Trump’s inability to use an umbrella is not a concern for those of us who already realize he’s a charlatan who hoodwinked a segment of Americans into wrongly believing he might drain the swamp and lift up the middle class. Bollocks. Under Trump, the swamp has swelled into a toxic ocean of corruption, and the middle class has been screwed more than an experimental Billy bookcase in an Ikea lab.

That’s why it is Trump supporters who should pay heed to Saturday’s umbrella gaffe.

That’s why it is Trump supporters who should be quietly outraged by reality.

On his way to a campaign rally in Indianapolis, Trump was handed an oversized grey umbrella as he ascended the crimson stairs of Air Force One. The umbrella was in his left hand. For a few steps up, his right hand steadied himself on the banister. At one point, Trump playfully tickled the rail, like it was the belly of a newborn. Then he got to the top of the stairs.

With cameras rolling, Trump suddenly realized the umbrella couldn’t fit inside the fuselage. Why? He didn’t know how to retract the ribbed canopy. So what did he do? He dropped the umbrella outside the plane and left it there as he stepped inside.

As metaphors go, this one is tough to beat.

That umbrella, Trump supporters, the one that was left spinning in the wind, should give all of you eternal pause. It should finally open your eyes.

That abandoned umbrella is America under Trump.

It is a powerful symbol of how someone, anyone, now needs to come along and clean up his daily mess. It is an indictment of Trump’s attention to detail and capacity to know how the most basic things actually work in this world. It is proof the president can’t be trusted to execute tasks most kindergarteners can instinctively nail without instruction. Watching Trump ditch his umbrella because he doesn’t know what else to do is to feel a suffocating fear for our beloved neighbours to the south. It is to feel deeply sad for how far, and how fast, America has plunged into a torrential rain.

Make no mistake, Trump fans: that abandoned umbrella is health care. It is the economy. It is political discourse. It is gun control. It is reproductive rights. It is kindness and generosity and working together. It is the future.

It is climate control. It is consumer protection. It is disarmament and innovation and equality and every soft edge that once made America great until this chucklehead arrived and tried to make every drop of everything about him.

If the leader of the free world, a hasty and compulsive fellow with 24/7 access to the nuclear football, does not know how to collapse an umbrella, every decent person needs to brace for hypothermia. If Trump doesn’t have the brains to operate a dollar-store product that’s 4,000 years old, how can he be expected to do anything except splash around in chronic failure? If he’s stumped by an umbrella, why should he be trusted with policy?

The midterm elections are a week away, America.

Come in from the downpour of toxic incompetence. It’s time to dry off.

Vinay Menon is the Star’s pop culture columnist based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @vinaymenon

TORONTO STAR

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