Donald Trump is a hard man to really rattle.
Oh, he’s a spiky character, for sure, who often snarks. But it’s difficult to get him to explode. He’s a presidential candidate, and his people will have drilled into his consciousness just how devastating that is for the public image.
For months now, he’s been leading the line in the Republican Party primaries and stimulating the wrath of colleagues, media people and entire swathes of the US population.
But for the most part, he and his people have kept their cool.
Yet today he and they are absolutely apoplectic with rage, and that has exploded all over the airwaves, the print media and even into the Twittersphere.
It wasn’t a rival politician who goaded him, or one of the many talking heads across the water, the people who, for months, have been comparing him to a third-rate demagogue and suggesting he’s mentally ill; that had no effect on him at all. In fact, he seemed to thrive on those kind of remarks.
But someone has broken through his armour plated hide.
The person who inspired this torrent of fury was Alex Salmond.
Once again, as if I needed it, I am reminded why I love this guy.
I love Alex Salmond for every reason a lot of other people hate him; he is a craftsman and he knows it. He is probably the finest political operator this land has ever produced, and he is well aware of that fact and he doesn’t try to hide it.
Alex Salmond doesn’t do humble.
He doesn’t have to.
He wears his smarts, and his appreciation of them, right out there where everyone can see them and as far as I’m concerned that’s as it should be.
I hate false modesty.
Of all the fake traits I see in certain professions and fields of endeavour it’s the one I dislike the most and in politics it’s positively loathsome. Part of the reason I so strongly dislike it is that certain people just don’t do it well, and that becomes smugness.
Alex is often accused of that but I have never found him to be. He just has a strong sense of self, and when he outclasses someone in an argument (as he has a fine habit of doing) he enjoys it.
One of the things that makes Alex so good is that he knows the effect this has on other people, especially those who he’s locked in debate with. That smile of his, that cheeky in-your-face smirk, really blows apart their self-control at times.
To give you but one example; I used to marvel at the astonishingly unprofessional way Johann Lamont used to act at the mere mention of his name, and it never ceased delighting me that she would fall into the trap over and over again, not realising, perhaps, that it demeaned her in the eyes of the public, even those who weren’t his biggest fans.
I know a lot of people who wanted to hate Alex Salmond for his “If I were chocolate …” attitude, but whenever she opened her mouth they found they hated her more.
With me it’s not what some would refer to as “misplaced fandom” – that fictional trope whereby the audience connects with the “bad guy” more than the “good guy” because he’s so much more interesting; I like him because he’s not some arrogant git who thinks he’s better than he is. He’s all that and more. Even on Alex’s worse days, he’s a better operator than a lot of these folk are at their finest.
I voted for this guy (before I was voting SNP for their merits, I voted for the party because of him) because he sells himself, and through that he sells his ideas and by default Scotland. This benefited us tremendously over the years, and tonight I am very chuffed that he’s got the distinction of being the person who finally pushed Trump into spitting blood.
The outburst was over Salmond’s reaction to the verdict, today, on Trump’s opposition to a wind-farm which is being built in sight of his Scottish golf course. Ironically, the two had once been seen as close, with the deal for the development of the “golf resort” only going through when Salmond supported it over the head of the local council.
That was until the Scottish Government launched a legal battle against Trump’s effort to block the building of the windfarm.
They have been fighting this battle with him since, and the moment the Supreme Court in London rendered their verdict today the former First Minister was gloating, calling Trump a “triple loser” and taking him to task for his recent comments about Muslims.
Trump, and his people, exploded, issuing a remarkable press statement which was more unhinged and frothing with fury than Lamont herself would have dared put out.
“Does anyone care what this man thinks?” the statement raged, making it clear that they certainly do.
“He’s a hasbeen and totally irrelevant.”
But not so irrelevant as to warrant no comment.
“The fact that he doesn’t even know what’s going on in his own constituency says it all … He should go back to doing what he does best: unveiling pompous portraits of himself that pander to his already overinflated ego,” the communique from the billionaire, reality TV star and now Presidential candidate ended.
And oh how I laughed reading it, imagining Alex’s face when he heard about it, basking in the glory of once again having gotten right up somebody’s hooter. I love it. I love Alex Salmond.
We are lucky to have this guy.
He’s a national treasure.
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