Whether you label it “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” “Trump-itis,” or just “Dump Trump,” there is a lot of hatred across the country for the man who occupies the White House.
It’s not just about political preference. There is something about Donald Trump that evokes rage in many people – his narcissistic personality, his biting ad hominems, and his uncanny ability to survive whatever is thrown at him. In short, he is the creature who will not die – both figuratively and literally – to those who despise him. [For the record, I am an independent voter who voted for Ralph Nader for president in 2000 and Obama in 2008. But, Trump doesn’t hit a nerve with me.]
During my career in the New York real estate industry, almost every boss I worked for was a Trump clone. I admired some of them, and tangled with some. But they all taught me survival skills and how to seize opportunities – the essence of capitalism. When you’re in building management, as I was, your personality acquires some hard edges while dealing with unions, contractors, and disagreeable tenants. Trump is the landlord many fear.
Our Italian American “community” is divided much like the rest of America in how we see Trump. It doesn’t seem to matter what party we identify with. There are Republicans who can’t stand the man. In some cases, the talk is getting ugly.
New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo has had his ups and downs with President Trump. But as the election cycle heats up, the two are exchanging accusations about the China Virus (“Trump’s fault”), NY nursing home fatalities (“Cuomo’s fault”), and increasing NYC homicides (“Cuomo’s/Mayor DeBlasio’s fault”). When Trump called for withholding federal aid to New York last week until it addresses street violence, Cuomo had enough. “He can’t come back to New York.” said Cuomo. “He’s going to walk down the street in New York? Forget bodyguards, he better have an army if he thinks he’s going to walk down the street in New York.”
A threat? Cuomo explained he was not threatening Trump, only describing his unpopularity among city residents. This tough talk from Cuomo is out of character, but his brother Chris, a host on CNN and also a Trump-hater, has been caught on tape threatening people for getting under his skin. It seems some Italian Americans, even our elite, have a tough guy buried deep within.
Our Institute has often decried the subliminal effects of Mafia movies on Italian Americans, how the films transmit acceptance of a physical response to perceived injustice. Robert DeNiro is the poster-boy of the Italic tough guy on and off screen, although he is only one-quarter Italian. How many times has he publicly yelled “Fuck Trump!” and called for his ouster? Even superstar Madonna has given vent to her Trump-itis. In 2017 at a Women Rights March, among her F-bombs, she yelled, “Yes, I’m angry. Yes, I’m outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House.” She later explained that she was really a peaceful person – Trump made her do it.
Among the Hollywood anti-Trump crowd, but less strident, is actor Mark Ruffalo who is a long-time Bernie Sanders socialist, despite having personal wealth of $30 million under capitalism. Alyssa Milano, champion of women’s rights, has been vocal in her condemnation of Trump, even discounting sexual harassment charges against Biden to support him.
Financier Anthony Scaramucci not only used to be a Trump supporter but he was Trump’s Director of Communication for eleven days. In his quest to plug up White House leaks he made instant enemies there. Another Italian American fond of the F-bomb, he gave a little too intimate tell-all to The New Yorker Magazine which got him fired. Scaramucci is now a Dump Trump Republican.
Trump’s Italian American supporters in Hollywood are scarce. I found only two TV veterans: Lou Ferrigno (The Hulk) and Scott Baio (Joanie Loves Chachi, Arrested Development). Within his immediate circle, he can count on Rudy Giuliani (personal attorney), Mike Pompeo (Secretary of State), and Kellyanne Conway (DiNatale on her mother’s side).
If Trump wins reelection the sparks will certainly fly. So, he would be wise not to invite Madonna to sing at his inaugural. -JLM