When my daughter was 8 or so, she and her best friend could amuse themselves for hours with endless variations of a game they made up to pass the time while being chauffeured to ballet, birthdays and beyond. One little girl would say something like, “I love chocolate pudding” and then, a half-beat later, she would raise an eyebrow, narrow her eyes to slits and add slyly, “Or do I?”
For some reason, the girls found this hilarious, and the “Or do I?” game morphed into variations that included “Or will I?” “Or did I?” and “Or should I?”
I hadn’t thought about the “Or do I?” game for years until one day, while listening to an interview with our Reality Show Producer in Chief, it occurred to me that he’s a fan of the game himself.
“I love the Dreamers.” Or do I? Hint: He doesn’t.
“I’m going to make Mexico pay us back for the wall.” Or will I? Hint: Nahhh.
“I will release my tax returns if elected. Also, lock her up.” Or will I? Hint: Nope.
Trump’s bombastic promises often have an odd “Stay tuned if you want to see how this turns out” tone to them as if we’re watching “The Voice” and only he knows if the 17-year-old banjo-playing single mom from Texas can beat the crowd favorite crooning cross-dresser from New York.
Maybe it’s meant to be comforting. He knows how things are going to turn out because he has the best brain. Or does he? There’s nothing to worry about because Trump has seen how it ends and the rose will go to the most deserving bachelorette. He’ll be right back after this or that spleen-venting tweet about the election he won nearly a year ago. Don’t touch that dial!
There is always the almost paternal language that he is going to take care of us and everything is going to be so beautiful and we all get a pony. Except the dreamers. Because, let’s be clear, you shouldn’t be rewarded with a big gift like a pony when you casually crossed the border 20 years ago when you were 3 years old. Seriously. What were you thinking?
At times, Trump just seems to be more of a Magic 8 Ball president.
I say that because his responses to questions from the press are often distressingly short and vague. It’s like when I’d shake that dumb ball at a fifth grade sleepover hoping it would reveal if Allen S. was ever going to ask me to go steady. Sadly, all I got was “cannot predict now.”
Sometimes, Trump’s answers seem to even surprise him.
Mr. President, is North Korea going to obliterate us?
Reply hazy. Try again.
Can Congress avoid a debt crisis?
Signs point to yes.
Mr. President, is that a Magic 8 ball in your pocket?
As I see it, yes.
Mr. President, is that how you’re running the country?
You may rely on it.
Mr. President, that’s nuts.
It is decidedly so.
Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.