The Trumptanic Hit The Iceberg This Week

By Susan Kuebler

When Donald Trump said during the campaign that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters, at first people scoffed.  But with each outrageous comment that spewed out of his mouth from “I like war heroes that weren’t captured”  to claiming he couldn’t receive a fair hearing from a federal judge with a “Mexican” name, it appeared that his campaign was unsinkable.  Just like the Titanic.

It would be fair to compare the first months of the Trump presidency to the maiden voyage of the ocean liner Titanic.  She was the epitome of glamour and luxury for her day.  Some of the wealthiest and most socially prominent people in the world travelled in her first-class cabins.  People like John Jacob Astor and his wife.  But her second and their-class cabins were also filled to capacity.  Everyone wanted to sail on the Titanic.

Her designers from the White Star Line felt confident that by designing each of her underwater sections with self-sealing, watertight doors, they ensured that the breach of any one section would not cause the ship to sink.  In theory, they were correct.  What they did not, perhaps even could not, foresee was a breach of multiple sections at the same time.  This tragic overconfidence also led to their being insufficient lifeboats aboard to save all the passengers.

Trump’s presidency also has distinct, sometimes unrelated, sections that he could afford to lose without significant damage.  These sections ranged from fearful whites to affluent businessmen.  From the KKK to the evangelical right.  Trump could afford to alienate the Hispanics because he still had the support of the rust-belt workers.  Trump could afford to alienate our allies in Western Europe because he knew he still had the support of Vladimir Putin.

Trump certainly seems to believe the legend that his presidency is unsinkable.  He has definitely tested the boundaries of nearly every single political norm in Washington without incurring any significant damage.  He has attacked, in public, his own Attorney General, the federal judiciary system, his FBI Director, the Senate Majority Leader of his own party, just to name a few.  In fact, the only person he has not gone after is Vladimir Putin.

For months political pundits and commentators have jumped on his latest outrage saying hopefully “This is it.  He has gone too far.” only to be proven wrong in the end.  But those outrages usually only affected one portion of the voters, and his henchmen (i.e., spokespeople) were able to go on national television and repair the damage.  With media hosts like Sean Hannity and Fox and Friends serving as his chief damage control operators, Trump has been able to spin his way out of any serious consequences.

But the events that occurred in Charlottesville last weekend, with Trump first defending the neo-nazis and the KKK by saying that there were bad people on “many sides” – then a forced walk-back where an obviously uncomfortable Trump condemned the racists – was concluded with an unscripted, impromptu press conference where Trump revealed his true feelings.  That there were some “good” people among the Nazis and the white supremacist, and some “bad” people who opposed them.

Trump could only see the tip of the iceberg.  He saw the media as an enemy who would denounce him no matter what he said.


He defended statues erected (mostly in the early to mid-20th century) to Confederate soldiers, even though General Robert E. Lee himself thought these types of war memorials were bad and only continue to foster bitterness in the South (he was correct, by the way).


There is a double irony here.  First, Trump’s golf course in Virginia has a memorial plaque to a Civil War battle that never occurred.

Secondly, Trump is the same man who destroyed a pair prized Art Deco friezes that the curators of the Metropolitan Museum of Art wanted to preserve when he tore down the Bonwit Teller store to make room for his Trump Tower in New York, per the Washington Post.  He was in too much of a hurry to build his namesake structure to take the time needed to preserve them.

By openly defending the white supremacists and the Confederate statues, Trump tore open a wound across the heart of America that many, including many Southerners, thought had been healed, if somewhat imperfectly.

It was the unseen portion of the iceberg that sank the Titanic.  It too ripped open a gash along the side of the ship that flooded multiple compartments at the same time, rendering the fail-safes of its design ineffective.  The captain and crew of the ship did not realize at first that their ship was doomed.  Neither did most of the passengers who only heard a scraping sound in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912.

The fallout and pushback against Trump’s support of racists has been unprecedented.  Every single commander of each of the Armed Forces: the Navy, the Marines, the Army, the Air Force, and the National Guard, issued statements separately and within hours of each other denouncing racism within their branches.

The trickle of defections that began on Saturday from Trump’s Manufacturing Council became a deluge on Tuesday.  Trump at first ignored the danger followed the resignation of the CEO of Pfizer:

But when at least seven other members also backed out, and the members of his Strategy and Policy Forum decided via teleconference to disband, Trump decided to take his ball and go home:

Then, every single member of The President’s Committee on The Arts and The Humanities resigned in a scathing denunciation of Trump’s remarks in a letter sent out by their chairman Kal Penn:

They even embedded a “secret” message in their letter, that was not apparent at first.  The first letter of each paragraph spells out the word “RESIST.”  When White House officials tried to downplay this mass resignation by saying, in effect, it doesn’t really matter, Trump was going to disband the group anyway, Mr. Penn posted the following response:

And the gash from the iceberg on the Trumptanic continued to grow as the week continued.  Prestigious groups like The Cleveland Clinic, the American Cancer Society, The Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Salvation Army, and the International Red Cross announced they were moving their annual events from Trump’s Mar-A-Lago.  In the space of less than a week, as many as 18 different organizations announced they would be relocating to other venues and the list continues to grow. Perhaps the deepest cut of all came when The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, whose annual event is the jewel in the crown of the Palm Beach social season, told its patrons on Saturday that they were moving their dinner from Mar-A-Lago “Given the current environment surrounding Mar-A-Lago, we have made the decision to move our annual dinner dance.”

It doesn’t require a college degree to understand their meaning of the word “environment.”  The Trump name has become toxic in civilized society.

This weekend President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump became the first White House couple who failed to attend the annual Kennedy Center Honors since that program began.  This announcement was greeted with obvious relief by the event organizers, who also revealed that the traditional pre-event reception at the White House had been cancelled.  This was no doubt due to the fact that three of the five honorees had said they would not go to the White House.

The Trumptanic has been mortally wounded.  It is now a question of when, not if, it sinks. Will Trump behave honorably as did the Captain of the Titanic and go down with his ship (resign) or will he push women and children out of his path to grab one of the few lifeboats remaining?  Will there be enough lifeboats for the congressmen and Senators who lent their names and support to a Trump presidency?

Trump has a base, somewhere in the low to mid-30s, of supporters who will not desert him no matter what he does. But no presidency can function with the support of only one-third of the country.  No presidency can function when the leaders across all segments of the country denounce it.  No presidency can function simply on bluster, bombast, and outright lies.

"All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well". Julian of Norwich.


  1. Oh boy, i have chills. I re-read it and your summation, where I found myself mentally scratching out the word “presidency” and put “chancellorship” in there, and remembered Hitler and his supporters got as far as they did with just about as much. Let’s hope you’re right, though, and there is enough of a difference to keep that thought just a theory at most. We live in interesting times, and they just might be too darn interesting.

    1. I think there is an old Chinese proverb that goes something like “Please spare me from living in interesting times.” Thank you for your comments. I don’t always have the time to respond, but they are greatly appreciated.

Share Your Thoughts?