46 Minutes Of Festivus Grievances

[ Posted Thursday, December 3rd, 2020 – 16:30 UTC ]

I tried, really I did. I sat down to watch President Donald Trump's new 46-minute-long video in full. But I just couldn't do it. I made it about 15 minutes in, and then just had to skip ahead to the last 10 minutes, to see the big finish.

This, I firmly believe, is precisely why Trump and his team released it as a social media video instead of choosing another route with a much larger audience -- like asking the broadcast networks to carry an Oval Office speech in primetime, for instance. Because I think Trump's advisors knew full well that going that route would have meant running a gigantic risk -- that the networks would all cut away from the speech mere minutes after it began. That would have been the ultimate snub for a president who only truly cares deeply about his own television ratings. So they must have talked him into not going that route, to avoid that particular embarrassment from happening.

The reason the networks would have cut away -- even from a primetime presidential Oval Office address -- is the same reason I couldn't sit through all 46 minutes of the video: it consisted of nothing more than warmed-over lies and half-witted and half-baked conspiracy theories. The entire thing, from beginning to end. That's what I had been warned before I tried to watch it, and that's precisely what it turned out to be. The best description I've yet heard (and I apologize because I didn't save the link to properly cite this) is that it was exactly like George Costanza's father celebrating "Festivus" by launching into "the airing of the grievances." Some old outer-borough White guy, angry at the world because it isn't the way he'd like it to be, in other words. And not the least shy about letting you know precisely how he feels about that.

You know, for all the digs Republicans used to launch at Democrats and liberals (especially young ones) for being "snowflakes," Donald Trump is truly the worst snowflake imaginable. He's the Snowflake-In-Chief. He began his presidency by complaining long and loudly to anyone who would listen that their eyes were deceiving them and that his inauguration crowd was really actually bigger than any ever seen before -- way bigger than Obama's, that's for sure. This video might be a good bookend for that, because he is leaving office just as petulant and whiny as the way he entered.

The speech had no audience, it was just Trump speaking from a presidential podium to a camera. They seem to have filmed two separate versions of the speech, which was probably necessary because in his first take he likely ad-libbed some stuff that was even crazier than all the rest of the crazy stuff that was in the script -- too crazy to air, in other words. This meant that throughout the video, it harshly and constantly cuts back and forth from two camera angles -- which is really editing two versions of the speech down into one (you can easily tell just by his voice as the cuts are made that it wasn't the same take).

Trump read off a TelePrompTer, and the only good thing -- the only good thing -- you can say about this speech was that it was without doubt the best emotional performance Trump's ever given from a prewritten speech. His normal TelePrompTer speeches sound an awful lot like one of those dead-eyed hostage videos, because Trump is obviously reading it for the first time and it's pretty obvious that he can't read and show emotion at the same time very well. He's risen slightly above this level during a few of his State Of The Union speeches, but nothing like he does in this video.

He shows raw emotion throughout. Mostly, this is anger. There's some petulance, some whining, some begging, some incredulity, and a few other random emotions mixed in, but (especially at the end) the heartfelt anger is what shows through the most.

Trump is angry, you see. Because he lost. This absolutely enrages him, because all of his toadies told him beforehand that such an outcome just wasn't possible and could never happen. Now that it has, Trump's fantasy version of the world has crashed into the brick wall of reality. And Trump still can't quite believe it, one month later.

Everything I heard Trump claim -- both in the initial 15 minutes and the part I saw at the end -- was an absolute lie. He claimed without any proof whatsoever that there had been massive election fraud on a scale never before seen, and that the election had been "stolen from him." And it took him 46 minutes to work his way through his list. Every single item on this list has already been totally and utterly debunked, proven to be absolutely impossible, or completely laughed out of court. Or all three. Everything. Because all this fraud he speaks of is all in Trump's head, and that just doesn't cut it as evidence in a court of law, no matter how much he'd really like it to.

Trump's gotten so insane on the subject that even William Barr rebelled against it all earlier this week. My guess is Barr won't still be attorney general within a week's time, and I'm not the first to think this, either. And then Trump could name anyone as an acting A.G. at all -- like maybe Rudy Giuliani?

If this weren't so serious (if it weren't a direct presidential attack on the very foundations of our democracy, in other words), it would all be hilariously funny. Trump's final swansong is him ranting and raving to a camera in an empty room, about the fact that he is now officially a loser. It was the biggest presidential tantrum in all history -- topping all the other ones Trump has previously thrown.

And as any parent whose children have gone through the "terrible twos" can tell you, the smartest thing to do when an epic tantrum is thrown is just to ignore it. Which is precisely why I couldn't watch the entire video. It was truly that bad. It will go down in history as the most shameful speech our man-baby of a president ever gave. And with him, that's saying an awful lot.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


15 Comments on “46 Minutes Of Festivus Grievances”

  1. [1] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    Well! Thanks for doing that - to the degree that you did it. And it's pretty damning testimony that you, our go-to political junkie who watches all the performances so we don't have to ... even you couldn't stomach Trump in this thing for more than fifteen minutes.

    I used to be more curious than I am now, about questions like who advised him that the first video take was somehow unacceptable in places? Who does he listen to, when he's masochistically enjoying performing the ultimate childish tantrum and meltdown for his swan song?

    This too will pass. Having smeared his warm crap all over the office's historic walls for four years, he is leaving the presidency next month. Thank God we can be sure of at least that much.

  2. [2] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    John M from Ct -

    I tried. I really did. I just couldn't...


  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I find it hard just thinking about watching it.

  4. [4] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Ooooo, what a coincidence! I couldn't fall asleep last night so I dialed up Trump on YouTube. A few minutes in I realized that if I kept listening that there'd be no way I was gonna fall asleep...probably end up pacing the room wanting to kick my dog. And I never kick my dogs!

    So I, too, fast forwarded it to the end and I remember thinking that of the half hour I'd skipped I didn't miss a damn thing. I noticed the absence of the the customary plethora of ad libs and didn't make the connection between the lack of said ad libs and the oddity of two camara angles. I guessed that maybe they were trying to dial up their production values a notch. You know, practicing up for TRUMP TV -- it's not like alternative employment opportunities will exist for a lot of Trump's enablers. Some of them will never eat lunch in this town again. Heh.

    Snowflake-in-Chief. I like that! And if you agree that "immitation is the best form of flattery" I'd like to use it, Boss.

    I'll agree. As actors go Trump doesn't have much of an emotional palette but IMO this was his best reading off a teleprompter speech yet. Even better than what I recall of his Inauguration and SOTU efforts. None of that "hostage video" sentiment (as those Glad-they-didn't-join-Operation-Iraqi-Freedom-Surrender-Monkey-Frenchies would say.)

    I see William Barr going the distance. Don't y'all think our intrepid AG knows where a lot of the bodies are buried? And Rudy as AG would be pointless -- there's just not enough time for him to be more useful to Trump than exactly what he's doing right now. Without Rudy to attract TV attention to "the Cause" these other clowns, er, attorneys would fall off the radar screen.

    It will go down in history as the most shameful speech our man-baby of a president ever gave. And with him, that's saying an awful lot.

    It was the biggest presidential tantrum in all history -- topping all the other ones Trump has previously thrown.

    I dunno. Amidst the oceans and more oceans of Trumpian awfulness there's just got to be something worst. But I
    fear I'm too exhausted to care to look for worse.

  5. [5] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    D'yall have any idea what a pain it is doing all this on a smartphone?*smh*

  6. [6] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Please recall the notion that most of Trump's communications all along have been directed first, last and foremost his base.

    Sure, he's venting. But more more importantly it keeps the money coming -- what, a $170M and counting? And it preserves and maximizes his present and future influence. He'll claim "he was robbed" for the next four years (or whenever SDNY takes him away, whichever comes first!)

  7. [7] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, found the cite. I will post this somewhere in tomorrow's article, too. It's from Philip Bump at the Washington Post:

    pertinent quote:

    It was a cri de coeur that, given the season, begs comparisons to the Festivus airing of grievances from George Costanza’s father on “Seinfeld” — another older Queens man unable to gracefully accept the nature of the world around him.

    Introducing that comparison, though, risks diminishing the danger of Trump’s commentary.

    Mea culpa.


  8. [8] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    MtnCaddy and everyone else -

    Good news! Well, not right away, but eventually.'s world headquarters (heh) will be undergoing a big computer upgrade late this month. It will likely take until some time early next year (early spring, say) for me to get everything up and running and ready for the next step -- but the next step (hopefully) will be to UPDATE THE FORMAT here totally. Drag it into the future. Upgraded WP, new template that allows for smart phone use, the whole shebang. I have wanted to do this for years, and it will soon be possible. I will keep everyone updated on the progress, as soon as possible.

    "It's a Festivus miracle!"



  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    I'll probably have to get a new computer. :(

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Seriously, though, it sounds like a lot of fun! :)

  11. [11] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Great. I'll probably have to get a new smartphone.

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I don't adapt well to change. Never have. However, my saving grace is that given just a little time with the new stuff, I forget what the old stuff was all about. Heh.

  13. [13] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    As we're at the beginnings of a tsunami of corrupt pardons this, from Glenn Kirschner, suggests that maybe our fave traitor Mike Flynn isn't out of the woods yet.

  14. [14] 
    MyVoice wrote:

    While we're speaking of pardons, here's a WaPo opinion by UC Hastings College of Law professor Aaron Rappaport on why blanket pardons may not pass muster with all the SCOTUS Originalists.

    It might not be so simple for Trump to pardon his children and Giuliani

    Sorry, I don't know whether that's behind a paywall, so here's a section from the middle:

    Most observers assume that the president is free to issue blanket pardons, believing the president’s power in this area is effectively unlimited beyond the few constraints explicitly mentioned in the Constitution (no pardons in cases of impeachment, or for state crimes). My scholarship suggests that interpretation is incorrect.

    In fact, based on the Framers’ original understanding of the pardon authority, the better reading is that, while the pardon power grants the president expansive authority, that power is not unlimited. Most importantly, the Framers would have understood that pardons must be issued for specific crimes. They were not intended to be broad grants of immunity, get-out-of-jail-free cards bestowed by presidential grace.

    The Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed that the scope of the pardon clause should be interpreted in light of its meaning at the time of the founding. This originalist methodology means looking to 18th-century English law. As the court said in an 1855 case, “when the words to grant pardons were used in the constitution, they conveyed to the mind the authority as exercised by the English crown, or by its representatives in the colonies. At that time both Englishmen and Americans attached the same meaning to the word pardon.”

    That meaning included what might be called a “specificity requirement” — a pardon would be deemed valid only if it identified the specific offenses to which it applied. As William Blackstone, the leading authority on English law at the time, declared: “A pardon of all felonies will not pardon a conviction.” Instead, the offense “must be particularly mentioned.” Blanket pardons, in other words, were invalid.

    'Tis always good to maintain hope whenever that remains a reasonable course.

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Hello, Everyone!

    I have a very special Holiday treat that I would like to share with everyone this week at the CW Sunday Night Music Festival and Dance Party

    You won't want to miss this so don't forget to drop by!

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