The president made a brief appearance in front of hundreds of supporters on Saturday, assuring them from the White House balcony that he was feeling fine after beating Covid-19. The scene could have been much more theatrical than it actually was, if the New York Times is to be believed. Citing anonymous sources, the newspaper claimed Trump considered making a publicity stunt, but for some reason never went with it.
According to the Times, the idea was as follows: “When he left the hospital, he wanted to appear frail at first when people saw him… But underneath his button-down dress shirt, he would wear a Superman T-shirt, which he would reveal as a symbol of strength when he ripped open the top layer.”
Reimagining political candidates as comic book superheroes is hardly novel in the US, and has been used by both camps during this election cycle with varying degrees of subtlety. But for some reason, the mere thought of Trump reenacting the classic costume-revealing gesture of the Man of Steel sent his opponents into a frenzy.
We are looking forward to a LEADER who can protect us, NOT INFECT us
NEW Fox Poll:
— Feckless Ivanka (@FecklessIvanka) October 7, 2020
Cartoons depicting how Trump would look in star spangled tights soon arrived en masse. Many said they wish what was described in the story had actually happened, to prove how unhinged Trump is. Incidentally, House Democrats are currently trying to unseat the president on the grounds that he is supposedly incapable of carrying out his duties as president.
(PS) My God, the memes on this… they'll never end. It'll be 2030 and they'll still be using the Trump-as-Fat-Superman meme in GIFs.
Wow. Just… wow. pic.twitter.com/4GowR9Bsr1
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) October 11, 2020
The Real Donald Trump playing Superman pic.twitter.com/ZeN4EHniaA
— Outspoken (@Out5p0ken) October 11, 2020
People with better knowledge of older Hollywood masterpieces pointed out that the hypothetical stunt would resemble the way Willy Wonka was introduced in the 1971 film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’.
Trump wanted to graduate from Oompa Loompa to Willy Wonka pic.twitter.com/gHVHYjPo5I
— Lesbe Anne (@LesbeAnne) October 10, 2020
There was also pearl-clutching aplenty over Trump spoiling the image of the embodiment of “truth, justice and the American way,” as Superman is often described. Critics said he should instead imitate one of the supervillains among Superman’s enemies, like Bizarro or General Zod.
Sayeth the NY Times, Trump wanted to emerge from Walter Reed looking frail, then pull back his shirt to reveal the Superman symbol. As someone who wrote for, and grew up with Superman, it seems to me that he has confused the house of El with that of General Zod.
— J. Michael Straczynski (@straczynski) October 10, 2020
Some, however, believe the idea was pretty good. Actor Dean Cain, who portrayed Superman in a 1990s TV show, said the scene would have been “unforgettable.” Of course, Cain is a Trump supporter and has taken flak in the past for publicly expressing his views.
It would have been unforgettable. https://t.co/bRFQpJCkf8
— Dean Cain (@RealDeanCain) October 10, 2020
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