On a visit to the Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library, I’m greeted by a screen labeled “The Trump Nickname Generator.” According to this machine, were the leader of the free world attempting to bully this particular member of the failing fake-news media, he would apparently address me as “Kooky Steve Heisler.” (Sick burn!)
Many more insults awaited within the pop-up gallery that Comedy Central’s The Daily Show—which has been taping episodes this week at the Athenaeum Theatre—has transported from New York and installed in the echo chamber that is Union Station’s Great Hall. The exhibit will be open to the public beginning Friday, October 20, through Sunday, October 22, 10 AM-10 PM.
The main exhibition area is hung with, among other curiosities, caricatures of notable figures identified by notable Trumpisms. A dim corner screens a short video of what pundits have said about the commander-in-grief, narrated by Daily Show correspondent Desi Lydic. It ends with a clip in which Trump, in an interview with Tucker Carlson, says, “maybe I wouldn’t be [president] if it wasn’t for Twitter.” (Thanks, Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams!)
The pop-up exhibit derives its comic absurdity mainly from the museumlike curation and faux-scholarly presentation of the president’s 140-character brain droppings. “Covfefe,” an apparent typo that caused bewilderment after Trump tweeted it out in May, receives an academic explanation befitting that of a Sanskrit tome. The famed Cinco de Mayo tweet in which candidate Trump is pictured with a taco bowl is mounted in an ornate gold frame worthy of an impressionist masterwork. A timeline of Trump’s tweets lays out the myriad opinions he’s expressed, abandoned, revisited, and later twisted. They’re organized by such themes as “the Diet Coke Rebellion,” a tweetstorm that the wall text notes was “instrumental in forging his theory of Twitter warfare.”
Squatting on a replica of the Donald’s fabled Trump Tower golden toilet, I began wishing I could flush away a filthy feeling—that the exhibit’s Viacom-approved satire lite inadvertently enshrines the propaganda of the most dangerous man in the world. Overcome by the urge to lash out, I moved toward an interactive portion of the show: a large magnetic board that allows visitors to craft and snap photos of their very own @realDonaldTrump tweets. When the shots are inevitably shared on Twitter and other social platforms, the fake tweets, like much of the exhibit from which they arise, will have the effect of a gentle tussle of Trump’s hair.
Who needs a shower?
The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library Fri 10/20-Sun 10/22, 10 AM-10 PM, Union Station, Great Hall, 225 S. Canal, cc.com, free.