During a visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last Saturday, Donald Trump publicly wore a mask for the first time. Many read it as what it was—a mostly hollow gesture. Trump openly denied COVID-19’s damage and has refused to wear a mask for months, even after it was widely accepted as the best method to stop the spread.
For Trump’s cronies, though, his mask-wearing was momentous.
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) July 11, 2020
Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, tweeted this picture of the president shortly after his visit. Some Trump supporters quote tweeted it fawning over how “badass” the president looked in his new mask. Some spliced the video of Trump in a mask side-by-side with a video of Joe Biden, noting the difference in how the two candidates look.
Donald J. Trump looks like a badass in a mask.
Joe Biden on the other hand… pic.twitter.com/1tf4tsEQGQ
— Kyle Martinsen (@KyleMartinsen_) July 11, 2020
Anti-Trump users, on the other hand, were quick to point out the irony of using the phrase “America First”—one of Trump’s primary campaign slogans and arguably his governing ethos—on a photo of a president of a country leading the world in COVID-19 cases and deaths by increasingly wide margins. The original photo was also punctuated by others and surfaced showing the president wearing his mask below his nose. As usual, Trump parody tends to write itself.
You have got to be kidding me. pic.twitter.com/KXo8vfkm4Y
— Chris D. Jackson (@ChrisDJackson) July 12, 2020
Trump’s mask photo and the subservient flattery is just the latest display of the downright weird cult of personality he’s built. His most ardent supporters think anything Trump does, no matter how mundane, is proof of his epicness. When he drank a glass of water at his Tulsa rally last month, his sycophantic supporters made a meme out of it and used it as evidence of Trump owning the libs yet again. Meanwhile, libs (and everyone else) either laughed or watched in bewilderment.
Fawning over Trump’s every move is the natural endgame for many of his supporters. They’re emotionally attached to his every action, regardless of how objectively wrong or evil it might be. Their Trump support is so encompassing that it has come to define their very existence. The world and everything in it only exists as it relates to Trump—good, bad, or indifferent. In that world, even an incompetent old man finally wearing a mask can seem like a badass.