This morning, Hillary Clinton had a little clapback for Donald Trump, who decided to take time out of his busy day as president of a global superpower to comment on her newly-released book What Happened. “If you didn't like that book, try this one — some good lessons in here about working together to solve problems. Happy to send a copy,” she wrote with a photo of It Takes a Village, a new illustrated children’s adaptation of a book she first published in 1996.
Of course, Clinton didn’t start this latest Twitter spat; Trump and his team have been spinning their wheels about her since Tuesday. In addition to the two tweets Trump sent ranting about an election that ended almost a year ago, not-so-gifted gabber Kellyanne Conway tweeted about how Clinton pathetically spent September 11th (the day before her book came out) “talking about Hillary.” (By the way, Clinton did tweet about the somber day in American history, just as Conway did.) Next, shocking to no one, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wasn’t ready to talk about healthcare or DACA, but she came to her briefing on Wednesday with prepared remarks about Clinton’s book, calling it “sad” and saying she ran a “negative campaign.”
A quick advanced search of Trump’s Twitter account shows he’s obsessed with Clinton, not to mention his incessant desire to mention her at numerous press conferences for absolutely no reason and without provocation. And while some may say it’s because his base really, really hates her, I actually don’t think Donald Trump personally feels the same way about Clinton. What I think he feels is envy.
Yep. Trump wants Hillary Clinton’s life.
Think about it: Right now, Hillary Clinton’s on a book tour selling mass quantities of product and talking to adoring fans willing to stand in line for hours and hours just to get 30 seconds and a selfie with her. There are people literally crying over her and hugging her every minute and telling her how wonderful she is no matter where she goes. Media outlets are falling over each other to get the latest Clinton soundbyte. Everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike, feels the need to comment on her, even as they claim that she should disappear. And through it all, she’s making gobs of money doing it. Hillary Clinton’s day-to-day reality is Donald Trump’s wet dream.
But even before she kicked off the What Happened extravaganza, Hillary Clinton was living Donald Trump’s best life: She gets to hike around the woods of Chappaqua, New York, where even more people stop to fawn over her. She lives in her own house, and people aren’t standing around waiting to comment on who goes in and out of her residence. Her schedule is her own; she can watch morning news shows without criticism if she wants to, something The Donald can’t. Her political career is no longer active fodder; it’s done. And whenever she figures out her next step, it’ll be covered widely by everyone.
So what do you do when your opponent is lounging around in sweatpants and you’re stuck doing the work she actually wanted?
While Clinton spends her days metaphorically (or hey, maybe literally) drinking martinis poolside, Donald Trump has to do annoying things, like talking to world leaders from countries he’s trying to ban from working with the U.S., dealing with First Amendment-protected negative press, taking away rights from as many marginalized groups as possible, and deciding whether to denounce white supremacy. Ugh. Such a downer.
Donald Trump and his group of devil-incarnated associates have learned a hard lesson: Campaigning and governing are two different things, which is why Trump constantly brings up Clinton at rallies, in speeches, during briefings, and especially within his tweets. There’s no doubt that Trump tapped into something on the campaign trail that Clinton has long struggled with: Connecting with voters while correctly reading the room. But on the flip side, Clinton’s strength was always in her desire to actually govern, something that Trump (not to mention, anyone who works with him) obviously has no interest in doing. So what do you do when your opponent is lounging around in sweatpants and you’re stuck doing the work she actually wanted?
No matter how badly Trump and his cronies try to write history, the fact remains: Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by three million votes, stopping any claim from the president that he was the more popular candidate by every measure. For a man made entirely of ego, that tidbit eats away at him, and as numerous examples have shown, when Donald Trump can’t manipulate history himself, he’ll keep bringing it up until someone finally tells him he’s victorious. That may work for his string of underwater businesses, but it’s not working as he faces an investigation and complete legislative failure.
As much as Team Trump tries to pretend Hillary Clinton is irrelevant, that’s not what’s actually playing out in real-time. Her role in Donald Trump’s administration is so much more than to serve a motivational punching bag for his ever-shrinking base. It’s a toxic relationship; he needs her. His administration needs her. And while Trump would love the reminder of his popular vote loss to disappear, he’s acutely aware somewhere in that dense, racist, sexist skull of his that if Hillary Clinton, or at least the idea of her, ever truly vanished, his administration would be at a serious loss.
So instead, Donald Trump both publicly and privately obsesses. He fixates. He pines. And no matter what he tweets or what garbage Kellyanne Conway or Sarah Huckabee Sanders try to hock, one thing is true: He wishes he was drinking poolside martinis instead of living his own life — the stressful, high-stakes, difficult, and necessarily grave role of the President of the United States. The rest of our lives depend on him actually rising to the occasion. Sad!