Politics & Media
Mar 09, 2023, 05:55AM

Donald Trump and Italy’s Post-Roman German Monarchy

For nerds and maybe not them.

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Donald Trump, embattled king of the Republicans, chief of the MAGA tribe, erstwhile senior administrator of his stricken land’s federal executive branch, today announced… I used to play with formulations of this sort. The trick was to avoid letting president anywhere near the big jerk’s name; instead, convert the old title into a choo-choo train of a substitute and use that creation as payoff to a made-up series of Trump titles, a multi-tier bunch collectively suggesting post-Roman Italy and its barbarian-imposed monarchy. So there you have it: president-free, nerd-roasted.

Hoping that better-informed nerds won’t see need to shoot me down, I’ll say that the post-Roman kings were noteworthy for not calling themselves kings of Italy. A king was styled king of the Germans in Italy, and a piece of paper from Constantinople designated him as the empire’s on-the-scene representative for governing; he was then left by the empire to do as he liked. The Germans ruled, and they did so because they had swords and were willing to fight. The paper helped though, as did the juggle about appelling the boss.

Such was the arrangement I read in a long-ago account by J. B. Bury, the perhaps forgotten expert. I note that the peninsula’s governed apparently didn’t want to see king of next to Italy, and I certainly don’t want to see president next to our national oaf. Contrivances are demanded, and I think my resulting contrivance deserves a home with compatible titles. Embattled king of the Republicans, chief of the MAGA tribe, erstwhile senior… The GOP’s in its post-Roman phase anyway. Trump knocked the place over; even now that he’s out of power, it’s still on its side and he’s squatting there. The old order hopes to drive him out by means of the redoubtable and foe-vaunted Belisarius—nerd joke. By means of Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida and non-tweeter of crazy shit, non-admirer of Vladimir Putin, non-pal of Kim Jong Un, non-pursuer of porn stars, non-grabber of pussies, and non–staunch defender of Social Security. (Jeb Bush on DeSantis: “He’s been a really effective governor. I think it’s time for a more forward-leaning, future-oriented conversation in our politics.”)

For now the chieftain squats on his throne, tweeting.

Voices of an era. Kimberly Guilfoyle said that some donors had gone over to DeSantis. “There’s one or two there, but nobody I personally handled or dealt with,” she told the reporter. So the boat’s leaking, but that’s nothing to her except where she bears responsibility for individual planks. She figures the nice person from the Times will understand as much. MAGA despises The New York Times and hopes to see it sprawl in the dust. But Guilfoyle not only agreed to talk to its representative but then appears to have confided a bit. At any rate she said the above, it’s a quote that makes her look silly, and this one quote is what surfaced from her encounter with a glamorous media microphone. I see the trustingness of egotism here. She’s so much her sun, she figures she must be everybody’s. How shines the Guilfoyle, thinks the enemy hunched over a microphone, and she tells them.


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