This time there were no escalators to take him down, like Zeus descending from the heavens. However, there was a crowd of worshippers. There was some family, although not all. And there were flags, lots of flags!
A veritable army of flags stood guard below the crystal chandeliers of the Mar-a-Lago Ballroom, blanketing the stage in stars and stripes as Donald Trump declared his candidacy for president in 2024 in his too-long, bright red tie, matching bright blue suit (complete with American flag lapel pin) and white shirt.
Even before he began his incoherent, accusatory speech filled with revisionist history and dire warnings about “Marxists” and “globalists,” doomsday declarations of failure that only he could rectify, and promises to “make America rich again,” the flags They were the accessories. that framed the story.
There they were, a showcase of patriotism to cover the dark cloud of impeachments, trials and failed Trump-backed midterm candidates hanging over his head. There they were, as if to erase the memories of the last flags that were flown for Trump: the Confederate flags and the MAGA flags carried by the January 6 insurgents. There they were, as if to show how much he loves his country: not just one or two flags worth, but tons of flags worth.
They were a reminder of how much Trump loved the pomp and circumstance associated with the presidency and how adept he was at manipulating the state’s scenery for his own purposes. He said he wanted to keep the evening “elegant,” but the phrase that came to mind was déjà vu. A harbinger, perhaps, of the theater to come as he prepares to “fight harder than anyone” to win back the job he lost in 2020, using every visual aid at his disposal.
Trump always had the idea that one image can be worth a whole stack of political documents. She even reminded everyone how she learned it in her speech, bragging about the “firing” of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the Republicans are about to take back the House as if she had been a candidate in “ The Apprentice”.
Still, all the flags couldn’t hide the conspicuous absence of some members of the Trump family.
In the audience were his sons Barron and Eric (whom Trump may have unknowingly compared to Al Capone and Jesse James in his speech), along with Eric’s wife, Lara. So is his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, but not Ivanka, who played a starring role during Trump’s tenure but has announced via an Instagram story that he’s pulling out of season 2. And not Don Jr., though his fiancée, Kimberly. Guilfoyle was there. As for Tiffany, she was presumably on her honeymoon after her marriage last weekend.
Her absence may be why Trump skipped the family ending, usually de rigueur after any major political statement, opting instead to invite only Melania to join him on stage. Remember when everyone thought that his marriage might end after he left office?
Between the red, white, and blue, she looked positively understated in a polka-dot blouse and white skirt, tucked in and ready for work.
That her appearance and wardrobe choice also stood in stark contrast to the recent appearance of Casey DeSantis, the wife of Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor and potential rival to Trump, who took the stage after her election victory last week in a bizarre gown prom queen style mermaid gold, it was probably no coincidence.
Most likely it was a salvo.