Op-ed: The theme scene

  • By Bob Franken
  • Wednesday, July 26, 2017 11:57am
  • Opinion

People, we have an attitude problem to discuss: It has come to my attention that too many of you are mocking President Donald Trump and his “Made in America” theme week. Perhaps it’s because it takes some nerve for Donald Trump to champion “Made in America,” since so much of the merchandise manufactured by his family’s many enterprises is definitely not made in America.

A little thing like that didn’t stop POTUS from turning the White House grounds into a display of domestically manufactured products. Shameless, he’s not. He even wandered around the stuff, playing with a firetruck and allowing himself to be photographed in a cowboy hat. Words cannot convey how he looked in his Stetson.

It’s not the first time this administration has concocted one of these. Who can forget “Infrastructure” week, “Technology” week or “Energy” week? “American Heroes” and “American Dreams” are up next. Weak, but lest you haters out there jump at still another opportunity to ridicule this president, he’s not the only one; George W. Bush had them all the time.

My main quibble is that they don’t reflect reality. Yes, I know that’s being picky, but the administration’s branding geniuses can come up with more cutting-edge themes that really capture the Trump experience.

First of all, it’s likely you’re scratching your head right now (or whatever you do when you have no idea what someone is talking about). Perhaps you thought that it was actually “Russia Investigation” theme week or, more specifically, “Presidential Pardon” week, since Trump and his lawyers are reportedly discussing his pardoning whomever of his associates gets accused of criminal activity in connection with the probe into whether his side sold out the American election to his buddy Vladimir Putin. Some accounts, by the way, included discussions about whether he could pardon himself. There’s a real heated debate about that one, although the Trumpster claims he has “complete” power to pardon.

Every theme week could be “Russian Collusion” week, or more accurately “Russian Collision.” But not every one could be called “Mooch.” That’s the nickname of Anthony Scaramucci, who has now become White House communications director, chosen by POTUS even though he has zero Washington or communications experience. That was such a slap in the face to Sean Spicer that Spicer resigned. Melissa McCarthy must be inconsolable. Spicer was immediately replaced as press secretary by Sarah Huckabee Sanders. In fairness, “Saturday Night Live” will need to find a man to play her.

We really should go back to the beginning though. They’ve really packed a lot into six months. Shouldn’t they have started out with a “Muslim Travel Ban” theme week, to celebrate the wild success of that initiative? And let’s not forget that other immigration triumph, “Mexican Wall” week.

It’s been a never-ending series. They’re still struggling with “Obamacare Repeal and Replace” week.

Trade policy? How about “Isolationist” theme week. That could be coordinated by Steve Bannon. In fact, various members of the administration can be in charge.

Even the man at the very top, the president himself can join the fun. I’m referring to President Vladimir Putin, of course. He could oversee “Election Theft” week. It could be a reunion, a collaboration with Donald Jr. and the rest of the gang.

This administration has so many theme songs that play ad nauseam. “Tweet” week comes to mind. “Fake News” week is another. And now we have the president mulling Mueller … Bob Mueller, the special counsel who is apparently getting too close for comfort. So Trump is publicly musing about replacing Mueller. And that’s not fake muse; he hinted just that in The New York Times. If he did that, every week would have an “Impeachment” theme. Perhaps he needs to consider doing away with theme weeks altogether, even though that would be un-themely.

Bob Franken is a longtime broadcast journalist, including 20 years at CNN.

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