The Trump-Lochte connection
From Andrew O’Hehir’s column in Salon:
. . . Trump and Lochte are amazingly American, no doubt. Taken together, they effectively provide the answer to Brooks’ incoherent question. The disgraced American swimmer and the disgraced American candidate found themselves in similar predicaments this week. It’s a marriage made in hell, or at least in purgatory: These two clowns epitomize the disordered state of the American psyche, circa 2016, almost too perfectly.
Lochte and Trump are a pair of arrogant, ignorant jerks who believe that neither conduct nor character actually matters, and who feel entitled to rescue themselves from any sticky situation through the strategic application of lies and money. They’re the white men who give white men a bad name (which is, of course, deeply unfair). They’d almost be comical, if one of them weren’t endangering the future of the republic and if they weren’t working so hard to reinforce the entire world’s negative stereotypes about Americans. (Which are, of course, deeply unfair … no, I’m sorry, I can’t say it with a straight face.)
At this point it has become a truism to describe Trump as a candidate molded by reality TV, but that doesn’t make it untrue. Lochte has also played himself on television, with considerably less success. Beyond that, both men are fundamentally creatures of the digital age, shaped by an Internet culture of pixel-thin celebrity, instantaneous “hot takes” and moronic or hateful behavior with virtually no consequences.
Lochte was compelled to hire a “crisis P.R. expert” named Matthew Hiltzik, who has previously worked for Alec Baldwin and Justin Bieber, after allegations surfaced that Lochte had vandalized a gas-station restroom in Rio de Janeiro and then invented a story about being robbed by police officers. The man now known to Twitter as “Swim Shady” — a reference to his resemblance to the rapper Eminem — subsequently issued an apology on his Instagram account, without making it entirely clear what he did to be sorry about. He should have been “more careful and candid in how [he] described the events of that early morning,” Lochte wrote. (Or, more likely, his well-compensated mouthpiece wrote.) Doesn’t that imply that some degree of care and candidness was involved in his apparently fraudulent account of a nonexistent crime? Regrettably, it was less than an optimal amount.
I feel confident that at some point in his life Donald Trump has . . .