This is really funny, from the New York Times.
I remember that bit of Trumpian theatre that Charles Noonan refers to, though at the time i was too startled to laugh. But it is laugh-out-loud funny.
Talking of Trump, Charles Noonan says:
This evening, [at a rally in Pittsburgh] he was talking about Peggy Noonan, the conservative Wall Street Journal columnist. ("She's a Bushie!" an older man next to me yelled scornfully.) Noonan had apparently written something, or (more likely) said something on cable news, where she appears often as a pearl-necklaced avatar of political normalcy, about Trump's appearing inadequately presidential. "I'm very presidential!" Trump told us, with mock indignation. Then he stiffened in his suit and adopted a stentorian tone, like a fourth grader doing an impression of his school principal. "Laaaadies and gentlemen," he intoned, "thank you for being here tonight. Rick Saccone will be a great, great congressman. He will help me very much. He's a fine man, and Yong is a wonderful wife. I just want to tell you on behalf of the United States of America that we appreciate your service. And to all of the military out there, we respect you very much. Thank you. Thank you." He broke character for a second: "And then you go, 'God bless you, and God bless the United States of America, thank you very much.' " He turned and faced the V.I.P. guests in the riser behind him, and did a sort of rigid penguin walk.
The crowd whooped and laughed — not the cruel laughter you come to know at Trump rallies but real belly laughter, for what was a genuinely funny bit. Trump, who loves nothing more than being loved, kept penguin-walking, and everyone kept laughing. It took a few more seconds for the spectacular strangeness of the moment to settle in: We were watching a sitting American president imitating an American president. [my emphasis]A bit later in the piece, Homans goes on to make the following point, despite which he still ends up hating Trump (whereas I would have thought being "radically post modern"
with no discernible difference between the private and public persona would count in Trump's favour).
I have never interviewed Trump, but people I know who have often remark on an uncanny element of the experience: the absence of any indication of an off-limits private self distinct from his public image. The phenomenon feels radically postmodern: a complete communion of the thing with its representation