Why I Can’t Watch the RNC

The level of Trump toxicity in my system makes it impossible for me to consume the RNC’s festival of fear and cynicism.

By Joan Walsh

I missed night one of the Republican National Convention. Deliberately. We’re all practicing some forms of self-care during the pandemic—that was mine. When I woke up, early, I saw “cocaine,” “Adderall” and “Cecily Strong” trending on Twitter, at least here in New York. In a way, that was all I needed to know.

I have no evidence that either glassy-eyed Donald Trump Jr. or his lovely companion, screaming fascist Kimberly Guilfoyle, were doing either drug. As my colleague Jeet Heer said after night one, it doesn’t matter—he blamed Trump’s strange countenance on “existential dread”; it was scary and disgraceful enough, without drugs being involved. The “Cecily Strong” suggestion—that the Saturday Night Live star play Guilfoyle—was completely on point.

It’s hard to believe the convention got worse after that, but it did. I tried to watch Tuesday night, but its cynical manipulation was even worse than Tuesday’s apocalyptic screeching. We had to watch the president of anti-Obama birtherism, the defender of Confederate statues, pardon a black man convicted of armed robbery who turned his life around. (To be fair, the man pardoned seemed genuinely moved, and grateful, but it was a political stunt nonetheless.) We had to watch a president who has made immigration tougher at every turn, who’s railed against “shithole countries,” naturalize five new citizens. I had to turn off the television and go to bed early, again.

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