‘I understand the industry,’ he said. ‘I love the farmers. I think, maybe, if I wasn’t doing this, I might like farming better than anything.’
Much like a child who dreams of being an astronaut, or Tony Blair’s aspirations of being the next Mick Jagger, there is no chance that Trump will swap the Oval Office for acres and acres of soybeans in Ohio.
The closest Trump came to being a farmer was during a primetime appearance at the 2005 Emmy Awards. Dressed in blue dungarees and a jaunty straw hat, the current president, joined by Megan Mullally, sang the opening theme of the beloved Sixties sitcom Green Acres.
Trump was competing in something the shows producers were calling ‘Emmy Idol’. Other participants included Macy Gray, Gary Dourdan, William Shatner and Kristen Bell, which goes a long way to understanding Trump’s place in the culture in 2005: adjacent to Captain Kirk and a guy off of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
As with other clips from Trump’s decadent celebrity years – consider the Home Alone cameo or his oddly moving review of Citizen Kane – to watch the future 45th President of the United States perform at the Emmys is to be filled with a curious weightlessness.
However remotely, you are at once aware that serious people – biographers, archivists, intellectuals, historians – will dedicate entire careers to the study of this man and his actions. Will it be possible for those who did not live through the 2005 Emmys and other events to understand the broader zeitgeist of these years? Will they be able to document the growth of the irrational, the unembarrassable and the magical, to the extent that they dominated not only the culture but the politics of the world’s most powerful nation?
Let it never be taken for granted that of all the branching histories we could have ended up living in, the one we have taken is by far the strangest.