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While we in Britain wait for news from Chequers (plays intermission music, goes off for an ice cream) it is worth remembering that things are about to get even crazier. Next week, Donald Trump arrives in Europe.
Researching my weekly newsletter for Reaction members (out later, you can subscribe to get it) I stumbled across an item on the US site Mediaite. I had been trying to find a way to watch “highlights” of the speech Trump delivered on Thursday evening. I had hoped for the odd insight into his latest thinking on Nato and Russia.
Anyway, we got this, about Elton John and his organ. Trump said:
“I have broken more Elton John records, he seems to have a lot of records. And I, by the way, I don’t have a musical instrument. I don’t have a guitar or an organ. No organ. Elton has an organ. And lots of other people helping. No we’ve broken a lot of records. We’ve broken virtually every record. Because you know, look I only need this space. They need much more room. For basketball, for hockey and all of the sports, they need a lot of room. We don’t need it. We have people in that space. So we break all of these records. Really we do it without like, the musical instruments. This is the only musical: the mouth. And hopefully the brain attached to the mouth. Right? The brain, more important than the mouth, is the brain. The brain is much more important.”
It looks seriously weird written down, that. What is Trump talking about? This is the only musical, the mouth? Breaking Elton John records? Elton John plays the piano. Not an organ. What is Trump going on about?
Watch the full clip here and it makes more sense. As is so often the case, Trump is talking about audience size. It’s all about how many people come to see Trump. He’s talking about Elton John’s crowd sizes.
The performance is quite something. Pure New York “page 6”, with flashes of camp pronunciation and flourishes of theatrical hucksterish bravado. There’s even a hint of self-mockery. All in all, another reminder that Trump has completely dismantled and rebuilt the art of political speech-making, in the process driving his media opponents round the twist and making them so angry that they start to try and match him with vituperation. Horrible to watch. Arriving in Britain, next week.