There is nothing endearing about Donald Trump. Considering that the world is forced to look at his face and listen to his voice, read his tweets and live with the consequences of his government’s decisions anyway, our expectations are extraordinarily low when it comes to trying to find something—anything—that gives us a moment’s reprieve from despising the man. This brings us to information revealed in Sinking In The Swamp: How Trump’s Minions And Misfits Poisoned Washington, a new book from The Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng, that, for once, humanizes the president in one, very specific way: Explaining how fascinated the guy is by badgers.
In an article for Business Insider, Sonam Sheth describes how, during the short period of time when Reince Priebus worked as White House chief of staff, Trump latched onto the fact that Priebus is from Wisconsin, whose state animal is the badger.
This is detailed in Markay and Suebsaeng’s book, and excerpted in the article to provide us with quotes like this:
“’Are they mean to people?’ Trump at least twice asked Priebus in the opening months of his presidency. ‘Or are they friendly creatures?’” The president would also ask if Priebus had any photos of badgers he could show him, and if Priebus could carefully explain to him how badgers ‘work’ exactly.”
The excerpt goes on to paint the scene of the “obviously enthralled president” asking for more badger facts—he wanted to know “what kind of food they like” and how “aggressive or deadly they could be” when in danger—while his staff attempted to “gently veer the conversation back to whether we were going to do a troop surge in Afghanistan or strip millions of Americans of healthcare coverage.”
Rather than focus on that boring, inconsequential stuff that goes into defining a presidential legacy filled with hate and ruin, Trump would continue to ask questions regarding whether badgers have “a ‘personality’ or if [they’re] boring.” Perhaps concerned with national security, he was also curious “what kind of damage... a badger [could] do a person with its flashy, sharp claws.”
All of this is surprisingly relatable. Who among us does not look at the important work we need to get done and find ourselves wanting instead to just shoot the shit about badgers for a while instead?
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