There’s No Stopping the Trump Show
Republicans wish their bombastic frontrunner would go away—but they can’t figure out how to get rid of him.


LAREDO, Texas—You want the Trump show to be over. But it’s not over.

You want to ignore Donald Trump. You think maybe if you ignore him long enough, he will go away. Well, guess what? He’s not going away.

Trump is in Laredo, Texas, on Thursday, not because he wants to be, but because he is needed. “The border patrol—they’re the ones that invited me here,” he says.

Trump has just emerged from the tarmac into the private-jet terminal of the Laredo airport. His slab of a face is framed by a jostling halo of reporters. There are cameras above him, cameras in front of him, cameras practically standing on top of each other to broadcast his message, which obviously must mean he has something very big, very important to say.

So, the border patrol. Well, actually the border-patrol union, which is known for its anti-immigration views and which is not a part of the U.S. government. The union pulled out this morning, they didn’t really say why, but Trump has an idea.

Since announcing his presidential campaign a month ago, Trump has been saying things they don’t want you to know. He’s been talking about the dangers posed by illegal immigration—the criminals, the rapists, pouring over the border. This is not a popular or politically correct thing to talk about. (It is also not true, according to the official sources, but Trump has his own, more mysterious sources of information.) And so they, apparently, got to the border-patrol union. “I heard they got those orders from Washington,” Trump says, declining to elaborate.

But Trump is here nonetheless. He came here on his 757, a giant passenger plane with TRUMP on its navy-blue fuselage. There were 18 photographers waiting for him on the tarmac and at least as many inside the terminal. A couple-dozen protesters, organized by the Zapatista Council of the League of United Latin American Citizens, are making speeches under a tree outside.

Laredo is 96 percent Hispanic and heavily Democratic. “He does not belong here,” shouts Henry Rodriguez, who is wearing a Mexican flag as a headband and a red Zapatista Council T-shirt. “We don’t want him here! He is a joke.”

A 90-year-old World War II veteran, Jose Elizondo, sits on a lawn chair. He is offended on behalf of John McCain, the Arizona senator, who spent five and a half years in a prison camp in Vietnam, repeatedly refusing early release or special treatment despite being tortured. Trump, last weekend, said McCain was “not a war hero.” (Trump also said McCain was a war hero, and it is so typical of the press, when Trump says two completely opposite things, to report the bad thing he said and ignore the other, contradictory, non-bad statement.)

Elizondo’s common-law wife, 85-year-old Grace Garcia, is wearing a button that says “America con Hillary.” She says, with satisfaction, “Our Democratic Party is taking a lot of strength from this.”

Inside the terminal, the hovering reporters move with Trump like a swarm of bees. They shout questions every time he closes his mouth. Where does he get this idea that it’s dangerous on the border? “People say, ‘Oh, it’s so dangerous, Mr. Trump, it’s so dangerous what you’re doing!’” he says. “I have to do it. I have to do it.”

Trump is so big candidates are attacking him just to get themselves noticed.

The media, you may have noticed, is full of Trump—explanations of Trump, denunciations of Trump, justifications of Trump, analyses of Trump, handwringing about the coverage of Trump, and accounts of the latest outrageous thing Trump has done. He is on the front page of every newspaper, the top of every newscast. They can’t believe it; they can’t get their heads around it, that this is happening, and not only is it happening, it is the biggest thing in American politics right now. It has consumed American politics. It—Trump—is bigger than the entire rest of the Republican field, which, by the way, has 15 other people in it—governors, senators, very big, very serious people. Trump is bigger than them all.

Trump is so big they are attacking him just to get themselves noticed. Lindsey Graham, the senator from South Carolina, called Trump a “jackass,” so Trump gave out his cell-phone number on national television, and suddenly Lindsey Graham, languishing at less than 1 percent in the polls, was all anybody was talking about. You’re welcome, Lindsey Graham.

All these Republicans seemed to love Trump when they were begging him for all the money and attention he could give them (and while Trump was asking for the president’s birth certificate, which, by the way, did you notice he succeeded in getting Obama to release?). But now, Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, is giving a speech in Washington calling Trump a “cancer on conservatism.” “Rick Perry I don’t think even understands what he is saying,” Trump says.

Who are you going to believe, the pundits? The pundits said Trump would never get this far. They said he would never actually run for president, because he thought about it in 1988, and said he was thinking about it in 2004, and floated it again in 2012. They said he just wanted attention—for his reality television show, for his golf courses, his buildings, his product lines. They said he would never disclose his assets, as required by election law. They pointed out that he is a germophobe who does not like to shake hands, as if something like that would stop Trump when he believed his country was in trouble.

Then, when he did run, they said he would not get anywhere, because, according to polls, the majority of Republicans can’t stand him. Now that he has risen to the top of the field, they say he won’t last. But why should you believe them now?

What if—the most terrifying thought of all—the presidency, not approval or money or anything else, is what Trump really wants?


© 2015 Author Richard Skeet


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