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Let Them Fight

The #AlwaysTrump MAGA-heads and the Build-the-Wall nativists have gone to war. And it is glorious.
January 29, 2019
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(Illustration by Hannah Yoest / photo credits: GettyImages / Shutterstock)

Last Friday the president of the United States trudged into the Rose Garden a torpid mess, with his tuft of hair-like substance sitting lifelessly on his head. It was a harbinger of the weekend to come. Presiding over the longest government shutdown ever had taken its toll on the president: His face looked more bloated, his eyes tired from the strain of all those days without golf. He had the walk of a defeated man. Speaking from the podium, Trump seemed both bored and irritable.

He began a freestyle monologue about women with duct tape over their mouths and then, just a few minutes later, it was all over. Donald Trump—the master negotiator, the dominance politician, the galaxy brain—had caved.

The president’s desultory weakness then touched off an entirely predictable war between his power-hungry sycophants and the anti-immigrant ideologues who previously had combined to form Trump’s unified media base.

And now, just as he split the Republican party three years ago, the president has fractured the party of Trump, too.

Ann Coulter was furious and took Trump reopening the government as a personal betrayal.

Also enraged was Coulter’s younger, dumber Mini-Me, Tomi Lahren.

And terrifying dystopian villain Lou Dobbs delivered a blistering indictment on his Fox Business show. These ideologues were shocked to find that they had been conned by the guy known for welching on his loans, cheating on his wives, and not paying his contractors. When Bill Maher asked Coulter over the weekend what “her first clue” had been that Trump was “a lying conman” she replied, “Okay, I’m a very stupid girl, fine.”

But then there were the dedicated Trump-humpers, the people in this racket not for the policies, but for the man behind the MAGA. They are the true believers, the folks for whom Trumpism is its own reward, either because it owns the libs or triggers the media or gets them a paycheck. For instance, there was Sean Hannity claiming that while “The left-wing media will say it’s a win” people shouldn’t worry, because Trump will provide. “Some of you say ‘he didn’t get any money for the wall,’” Hannity said. “No he didn’t, but he’s going to.”

Sebastian Gorka used the Trump cave as opportunity to once again pledge his undying loyalty to dear leader:

There was Bill Mitchell, the guy on Twitter with the Trump Super Bowl ring, who insisted that “The Wall is as good as built.”

And then the two sides started to go at it.

Mitchell went thermonuclear on Ann Coulter for an inability to compromise her . . . well, whatever it is that made her so eager for both Romney 2012 and Build a Wall 2016:

And then, Mitchell really dropped the hammer: He called Coulter a Democrat. And you’ll never guess who jumped up to thumb the like button.Mitchell was so hot and bothered he even took swings at Mike Cernovich and . . . Breitbart?

Charlie Kirk was also extremely triggered by the linear-thinking, fair-weathered, useful idiots who really thought they were signing up to get a wall. He did an Instagram video about how conservatives just can’t abandon Trump with a headline “so sick of people stabbing @realdonaldtrump in the back.”

Young Charlie also urged people to understand that Trump has been waging the entire fight by himself, because he is beset on all sides by enemies or the Deep State or whatever. And even the Daily Caller couldn’t take it.

The weird undercurrent in all of this is that, like courtiers serving under an egomaniacal monarch, the sycophants seemed almost pleased to have a chance to differentiate themselves from other loyalists in the eyes of the king. Newt Gingrich, for instance, rushed into a Fox studio to assure the president that he should never listen to irrelevant people like Ann Coulter because he should only listen to highly relevant people such as Newt Gingrich.

And Coulter was having none of it:The best (and worst) thing about the cult of Trumpism is that any deviation from the officially prescribed adoration is cause for ostracism. Trumpism cannot accept dissenting views from its supporters and will countenance no accountability for the dear leader. What is good is what is Trump; and whatever Trump is, is by definition good.

It turns out that not everyone who joined this cult realized what they were getting into. Sure, some people signed on for the Twitter followers and the TV contracts and the prospect of landing one last job in government. But some people signed on because they really, really wanted a wall.

Today those people are like the rubes who paid to go to Trump University. And they know it.

The two camps are going to war now, but this is just a skirmish—a limited preview of what the conservative world will look like if Trump loses reelection. It will be a war of all, against all, the likes of which American politics has not seen in a hundred years.

Molly Jong-Fast

Molly Jong-Fast is a contributor to The Bulwark and the author of three books. Follow her on Twitter @MollyJongFast.