One look at the face of Donald Trump when he returned to the White House late Saturday evening from Tulsa, Oklahoma, said it all. He looked old, tired, and beaten. His face was wan and he couldn’t even manage a smile. He had taken off his tie and was carrying a red MAGA cap in one hand, as if it was all he had to prove the rally had taken place at all.
But while the president was no doubt disappointed that he’d been unable to fill the 19,000-seat BOK Center (the final attendance number was 6,200), his senior campaign advisers had to be worried about a much larger problem, a weakness that is becoming more obvious each and every time Trump speaks in public: His schtick has grown old. He’s boring and mundane.
As Matt Lewis notes in an article he wrote for The Daily Beast, we’ve all seen this movie before, and it has lost the ability to shock or hold our attention:
“Once upon a time, his style was shocking and horrifying and (daresay) sometimes even fun. Today, it’s just tiring. Like addicts who progressively need a bigger fix, Trump has desensitized us with four years of crazy tweets, stream-of-consciousness speeches, and rallies that are indistinguishable from a therapy session. He has flooded the zone with horribleness so that it’s harder to reach outrage now.”
Exactly! Watching Trump now is about as thrilling as watching paint dry. The act is old and worn, and the actor seems exhausted. Half the time he can barely get the words out, and the other half he’s trying to explain why he had trouble navigating the ramp at a speech he gave a week ago. As if anyone cares!
On Saturday evening in Tulsa, even the crowd looked bored as Trump rambled on for nearly two hours. Again, quoting Lewis:
“Some people started walking out at about the 90-minute mark, as he was introducing the various politicians in the house. My sense was that he kept thinking that maybe if he kept going, something would catch on—that he would capture the crowd. But he never really did. This second time around, Trump is finding that it’s always hard to try and strike lightning twice.”
Four years ago, Trump’s antics were novel and held people’s interest. Now he’s just going through the motions, and most of us have changed the channel. There’s gotta be something better on, even if it’s just a damn cornhole tournament on ESPN2.
Donald Trump has broken the cardinal rule of show business, which he should have learned a long time ago: Never bore your audience! He’s become a tired, pathetic old rerun at a time when we’re all searching for alternative programming or at least something warm and comforting to tuck us in.