Donald Trump Is the Master of Distraction
Like a seasoned con artist, the president-elect diverts attention from real issues.
Published on December 14, 2016

This week, President-elect Donald Trump said he refused to be bound by the One China policy that has kept us at peace with the world’s most populous country for decades, appointed an 11th white male to his cabinet—counting his Vice President, he has made 13 total picks—and started a war of words with the intelligence community for pointing out that Russia may have started a cyber war with us by hacking our elections. And yet, his meeting with Kanye West is somehow the biggest news on the Internet.

Kanye, who has postponed his own presidential ambitions to 2024 after his meeting with the president-elect, claims to have spoken to Trump about bullying, education, and his hometown of Chicago.

Meanwhile, as of my writing this column, 29 electors have declared that they want to be completely debriefed on Russian interference with Trump’s election day victory before they cast their votes on Dec. 19. Trump has proved time and again that his greatest strength, like every grifter and cheater before him, has been misdirection, and his Kanye West meeting—held alongside meetings with football greats Ray Lewis and Jim Brown, as well as tech giant Bill Gates—are more of the same. The only difference is that Trump has gone out of his way to get more than a single token person of color anywhere near him at one time.

As long as Twitter amuses itself with memes imagining what the pair of West and Trump might have said to each other, Trump can keep finding people to run government agencies who are either inept and seem to have been picked for their post because of Trump’s own stereotypes (Ben Carson) or hostile to the very idea of their agency (Betsy DeVos). He can continue to palm the coin and show us the back of his hand by promising to help workers and then immediately betraying the workers who helped elect him by taking away their health care.

This is a president-elect who has recently stated that he doesn’t need briefings from the intelligence community because he’s “smart” and doesn’t have the time. Meanwhile, he’s also had his proxies say that he’ll be executive producing The Apprentice in his “free time.” He’s opened up his schedule for Lewis, Brown, and Yeezy, so it follows that he must have a good reason, seeing as this is time he could be spending making money for himself. There is only one reason why Trump is suddenly and very publicly having meetings with the few celebrities of color who haven’t been openly hostile to his politics: He knows the real news is too seriously undermining his credentials as president and needs us to look away while he flips the coin back around to his knuckles, showing us his empty palm.

Tim Baker
Tim Baker is a New York-based writer and sometimes editor whose work has appeared in Newsweek, TV Guide, CBS and Discovery Special Editions, and can regularly be found at He has an MFA in creative writing from The New School and also attended Hunter College of the City University of New York.
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