The Atlantic

The ‘Pussy’ Presidency

Donald Trump ended his term in office the way he began it: by invoking a perverse vision of manliness.
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Donald Trump is a man, and he has gone to great lengths to prove it. He has tried, most recently, to steal back the presidential election he lost (democracy, which acknowledges the feelings of other people, is unfortunately feminine). And he has resorted to bullying in his effort to force others to join his war on the electorate. Here is how the president, The New York Times reported this week, tried to persuade his vice president to submit to his preferred reality: “You can either go down in history as a patriot, or you can go down in history as a pussy.”

The ultimatum was, like so many aspects of Trumpism, simultaneously cartoonish and dangerous. It was also repetitive. “Grab ’em by the pussy,” Trump had bragged of his treatment of women, in a recording just before the 2016 presidential election. The line rivals “Make America great again” as the defining motto of the Trump era. And “patriot or pussy,” with its tragicomic essentialism, now puts that era in stark relief. Trump’s invocations of —the one a boast, it began; to it has returned.

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