Monday, December 21, 2020


Back in June 2019, I wrote a post in which I tried to imagine a second Trump term. I assumed that if he managed to win reelection, he'd largely ignore the responsibilities of the job and focus even more than usual on golf, Twitter, and TV, while looking ahead to his legacy:
... he might start focusing on inappropriate honors. Where's my Nobel Prize? How do I get on Mount Rushmore? Do I have to be dead before they put me on money?
I thought of that post when I read this at the Daily Beast:
In the dying days of his presidency, Donald Trump has taken to asking some aides and advisers about the process of naming airports after former U.S. presidents, according to two people who’ve heard him recently inquiring on this.

... [One] knowledgeable source said that Trump had, at one point since the 2020 election, offhandedly asked what kind of “paperwork” was necessary to get an airport named after a former president....

Trump’s focus on airport namings suggests that his mind has begun to wonder towards the ceremonial elements that accompany life after the presidency.
I don't think this means that all of Trump's "election fraud" talk is an act. The human mind is complex -- we know that friends and relatives of people who commit suicide often say they were surprised because the person seemed to have been making a lot of plans for the future. I think Trump is thinking along parallel tracks in a similar way. Because he believes any crackpot theory that confirms his prior beliefs, he's certain he really won. Because he finds failure unbearable and shameful, he has to fight to the bitter end to establish the notion that he was the winner. (It's working, of course -- the vast majority of his base thinks he was robbed.) But part of him knows that no one with the power to do so has demonstrated a willingness to throw the election to him.
It also shows that his infatuation with having pieces of infrastructure emblazoned with his name hasn’t faded at all with his time occupying the single most powerful position in the world.
He's so obsessed with this that last summer I noticed he'd purchased the cleaning rights to a stretch of roadway in Manhattan, on the Upper West Side, where he's loathed, and where he didn't have a chance in hell of winning the state's electoral votes:

Another individual close to Trump told The Daily Beast that they could recall the president mentioning at least a couple times since early 2018 his desire for having a national or international airport in the United States named after “Donald J. Trump,” and that he hoped there would be an aggressive organized effort to do so....
You can laugh at this, but it will happen.

First, you don't have to be dead to have an airport named after you. Washington's National Airport was renamed in honor of Ronald Reagan in 1998, six years before Reagan died.

Beyond that, we can assume that fawning Trumpist governors and state legislators will be in a hot competition to see who can get an airport named after Trump first. I assume Florida's governor, Ron DeSantis, and South Dakota's governor, Kristi Noem, will fight hardest to get this done. I'm sure Trump would prefer having a big international airport named for him, which would seem to give Florida the advantage, but it's a purple state, and the airports there are mostly in Democratic areas, so he might encounter less popular and legislative resistance in South Dakota.

Red America loves Trump. Many things will be named after him once he's out of office. There are Ronald Reagan Schools....

So I'm sure there'll be Donald Trump Schools in a few years.


UPDATE: I'm reminded that the Trump highway sign has been there for a while -- since 2007, although it was down for about a year after it was vandalized in 2017.

No comments: