From the time Donald Trump descended that fake gold staircase at Trump Tower to announce his run for President — Jeez, has it been two years already? — everything he’s done has been pure fakery. That was the speech about building the wall to keep out Mexican rapists and murderers, you’ll recall; “. . . and a few, I assume, are good people.” Not only would he build that wall, he’d bring back our lost jobs, and end all drugs and crime. And that was just the first day! His entire campaign was fake, full of fake promises. After a fake election marred by fake news, Russian interference, and unprecedented voter suppression, the nation had its first orangutan president.
    During the campaign he held an event to raise money for veterans charities, and bragged that he’d raised $6 million. Later, the charities said they still hadn’t seen any of the money. We also found out during the campaign that Trump had posed as his own publicist, calling the media and using either the name John Miller or John Barron. In a court testimony he admitted he might have used the name Barron on occasion.
    At his first post-election press conference Jan. 11th, he talked about all the great things he was going to do to make America great again, whatever that means. He pointed to a table on the stage piled up with folders and folders and folders. These were the policies and goals he would be undertaking, and for once he wasn’t lying through his teeth. Camera close-ups revealed that the folders were empty, the papers inside brand new and unruffled. The cheering, applauding people in back of the room turned out to be paid staffers (He’s paying the help now? That’s a new one). It was all a fake, a show. Whatever you can say against him, and I could go on for volumes, you must admit he’s a master showman. But then, he’s a star of “reality” TV.
    We heard him go on and on about the size of his inauguration crowd, despite photographic evidence to the contrary. He tweeted a backshot of him standing in front of that crowd, but it was a shot of Obama’s 2009 inauguration. Fake.
    As he entered office, he was in the middle of 75 ongoing lawsuits, including the now infamous fake Trump University scam, odd goings on at the Trump Foundation, and of course the numerous women accusing him of piggery.
    The next day, Jan. 21st, he visited CIA Headquarters, and in front of the wall commemorating the 117 agents that have died in service, he bragged again about the size of his inauguration crowd. I think he can’t stand it that Obama’s was bigger than his. You know what I mean. Again, the standing and cheering people in the back were White House staffers he’d brought along. The CIA employees weren’t quite so impressed.
    Remember when he was in Saudi Arabia recently, and there was this big signing ceremony over a $110 billion arms deal? That was fake, too, as we later learned there was no deal; no contracts were signed at all. Those papers were all “decision memos,” letters of intent. Later on the same trip, after scolding NATO members for not ponying up enough cash for defense, there was a dinner with Trump and NATO officials. One of them described the dinner as “a total shitshow.” You may also remember him shoving the PM of Montenegro out of his way, so he could get to the front for a photo-op. He stepped out, his gorgeous tail feathers fanned out in full male display. He adjusted his suit and puffed out his chest like a big rooster, and looked around, all leaderly. For the first time, I was no longer embarrassed by my country; I was ashamed.
    This guy is nothing but a bullshit artist, a con man, a shyster, a swindler, a flim-flam man. The only things genuine about him are his belly and his ass. Have you seen him since the election? He looks like he’s gained fifty or sixty pounds. That’s all bullshit, building up, swelling and bloating, and when he pops, there’s gonna be bullshit all over the place. We should all be wearing those plastic tarps like people in the front rows of a Gallagher show. Big successful business man. The truth is, he’s a terrible business man, and has been all his life. He blew through $50 million of his father’s money by the time he was 35. He’s made bad deal after bad deal, and used the bankruptcy system to bail himself out. There isn’t a single American bank that will have anything to do with him. This guy is a Loser with a capital L. I’m becoming more and more convinced that the reason he won’t release his tax returns is because they would show that he’s broke. Ivanka tells a story about years ago, during one of his multiple bankruptcies. They were walking down a New York street when they saw a homeless man. “See that guy?” he said. “He’s worth $8 billion more than I am.” Back when I was growing up in Wyoming, we had an expression for people like him: big hat,   big horse, no cattle. And yet he seems to have pulled off one of the greatest cons in history. How does he do it? How does he get people to believe all that rubbish?
    The term ‘con man’ is short for confidence man. That’s how the huckster does it; he gains people’s confidence. He may not be very bright, but he’s got that knack for persuasion, for telling people what they want to hear. That’s how he sold his ideas to all those banks and people who lent him money. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Maria Konnikova is a writer with a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University. Her latest book, out last year, is The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for it . . . Every Time. She talks about the dark triad of traits the con man possesses: psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism. He has no remorse or conscience, he’s skilled in the arts of persuasion and manipulation, and it’s all about him — always. The only goal of the con artist is personal profit. She writes that if Trump were a con artist, he would have no interest in politics or policies except as a means to some other end. In Trump’s case, that means enriching himself. I don’t think he ever intended to become the party’s nominee, let alone win the election. He was simply trying to build up his brand. Talk about confidence. I don’t think there’s ever been a man more confident in himself, maybe in all our history. He actually thinks he’s always the smartest guy in the room. So you can’t tell him anything, because his mind is already made up. Maybe that’s what makes him such a great salesman. Art of the Deal? It should have been called Art of the Steal.
    As for his marks, I mean supporters, they are true believers. Their minds are made up, too, so you will not be able to confuse them with the facts. They don’t dare not believe, because they’ve invested too much in the illusion that Trump really will bring back the jobs and all that other stuff. It’s called magical thinking; believing something one wishes, or needs, to be true. It’s also wading hip-deep in that famous Egyptian river, denial. I’m tempted to call that fake belief.
    So when you boil it all down, you’ve got a fake candidate who, after a fake campaign, won a fake election. Now we have a fake president with a fake cabinet, fake hair, fake tan, fake wife, fake university, fake foundation, and excoriates the “fake” media by having fake beliefs of his own. He’s just the thing for a fake democracy.

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