Has anyone noticed how everyone around Donald Trump, whether working for him or just allying themselves to him, invariably refers to him with the deferential “Mister Trump”? Even journalists do it. Understandable, of course, if they’re speaking to him in an interview setting but a little strange, actually, when reporting on him.
It’s a sort of affectation that places Trump on a higher level than others around him. One gets the feeling it’s not done by accident either but is actually expected of those who surround him, demanded by none other than The Donald himself. Given the awkwardness of the locution in certain settings it sure doesn’t feel like something voluntarily undertaken by others — though the demand for the prefix may not be explicitly required in exchange for an audience with the great man. It’s more like a custom, one that occurs in Trumpian culture among his hangers-on and which the Grand Trumpeter himself is keen to see spread more widely.
Even if not explicitly demanded, the message for those around him is that Donald Trump likes to be referred to with R-E-S-P-E-C-T and not, as the old Aretha Franklin song had it, just a little, either. Even the famously blunt-talking governor of New Jersey, his Honor Chris Christie, bends the knee, in both word and — given his performance not so long ago on the stage with the Nation’s Greatest Real Estate Mogul — in deed. In America we kicked royalty out of the land a couple of centuries ago but now The Donald wants to bring it back with his glittery family of loyal princes and princesses and the dukes and duchesses and barons who ring him in, protecting him from the odd aggressive journalist or two lest they get too close to his sacred person.
While we have traditionally referred to our presidents as “Mister President,” to recognize the lack of a title of noblity in our system, we have now found, in Trump, someone who has taken that presumptively yeoman-style honorific we once used as a concession to the democratic nature of our system and converted it, through excessive use by those around him into a title of nobility in its own right. It’s hard to believe he doesn’t actually demand it of his people and those who wish to be. No everyman, our Donald, that’s for sure.
The erstwhile Mr. Trump, who gads about the country in his own lavishly appointed private jet, a retinue of personal aides and security guards at his beck and call, and who stays at places bearing his own name (soon to include the White House if he gets his way), a name wrought too often in glittering gold letters or brightly lit neons would make himself the nation’s Entrepreneur Par Excellence, Builder of a Thousand Domiciles for the Rich and Famous, and Sealer of Borders. He has done everything in his power to recall to our national public life the once discarded trappings of kings.
And now he would be ours.