Like his eponymous brand of vodka, his unlawfully shitty university, his crappy casinos, his stupid airline and two of his marriages, Donald Trump has put yet another of his branded failures out of its misery. The Donald J. Trump blog is no more. It was 29 days old. A moon cycle plus one day. It didn’t even make it three Scaramuccis.
At sometime around midday eastern time on Wednesday, From The Desk of Donald J. Trump, his first foray back into the web discourse since getting booted off of Facebook and Twitter and fired from his job disappeared without so much as a goodbye post. The entries were not archived. History vanished with the cruel click of a mouse. A beacon of freedom arises, A beacon of freedom sees its own shadow and disappears back into the little dirt hole where it lives.
Now that From The Desk of Donald J. Trump has unceremoniously vanished into the digital Acheron, where will the intelligentsia sate their thirst for incisive commentary that ignores all of the rules of grammar and punctuation? I suppose if what they want are large blocks of indecipherable text written by a confused old man, they’ll have to read any random post on Facebook or Finnegan’s Wake.
Many people joked online about how giving up on a blog was the most relatable thing that Trump has ever done, and that may be so. My first writing job was a blogging job, and I have to say, I was intrigued when I learned that the former president was starting one. Blogging was harder than people gave it credit for; it’s a constant challenge to churn out content every day that feels relevant, offers up a semi-original take, and doesn’t simply hit the same note over and over. It’s tough to cultivate and maintain an audience, to stay on top of the discourse enough to be able to jump in every day like it’s Double Dutch. I was curious to see if Trump would be able to do the work of a golden age blogger like Andrew Sullivan or Ana Marie Cox.
But blogging requires work, and Trump hates that. So of course it failed.
From the Desk of Donald J. Trump had started, like many Trump ventures, with big promises and a lot of hot air. After Trump was banned from most social media for inciting a treasonous mob on January 6th that got five people killed and many more maimed, he promised to return to the internet in glory. He didn’t need social media as much as social media needed him. His off-putting gang of be-goateed spokescreeps made the rounds in the right wing media sphere to hype the new media project. It was going to change things. It was going to disrupt social media. It was going to make monocles pop and bow ties spin around on their own accord.
Problems were apparent from the start. Trump’s new media venture wasn’t disrupting anything except for the lives of the poor reporters assigned to cover it when they could be covering literally anything else. It was just a plain old blog, like the kind you might find in the year 2007, except unlike circa 2007 blogs, readers didn’t have the ability to comment.
It also lacked visual pizzazz. There were no pictures! No videos! No .gif files of Donald Trump’s face superimposed over a professional wrestler body slamming an opponent with a CNN logo superimposed over his head– you know, the lowbrow derivative shit that his fans love. The blog required its visitors to read, and if there’s anything Americans– and specifically Trump devotees hate– it’s reading.
The Washington Post reported that the blog was struggling with traffic and social media interactions, noting in a gleeful takedown that Petfinder.com was attracting more traffic than the newest platform of the most recent former occupant of the White House. And traffic was trending downward. According to reports Wednesday, on its last day of operations, all the president’s words had only garnered 1,500 shares on social media, a number that would get a social media manager at another digital platform a glare from an editor during the weekly all-hands meeting, at the very least.
FTDODJT ended, like many Trump failures, with a declaration that the whole thing was a success. His spokesperson clarified that the blog wasn’t the point in the first place; the real show is the forthcoming Trump Media Group project, a social media network that nobody knows anything about. If the dead blog is like his other sandblasted failures or inconvenient associations, by next week, he will downplay his relationship to the blog that bore his name. By the end of the month, Trump will probably pretend that he barely even knew the guy. The blog will become his new Jeffrey Epstein.
I can’t determine if the wall-to-wall coverage of the latest Trump failure is a product of a hopeful or traumatized media. His unpredictable antics made for good ratings, drawing eyeballs in much the same way that a deranged man waving a machete around and screaming about Satan on a crowded subway platform might draw eyeballs. Some in the media who gained fame without having to suffer as a result of his policies miss him in a way they can barely conceal. It’s also possible that the degree to which the political press was wrong about 2016 with their Stupid Trump Too Stupid To Win headlines has led the political press to overcorrect in the opposite direction– Crafty Trump Planning Something That Will Work, We Just Know It, Even Though Only Like Two Of His Plans Have Actually Worked. Or maybe nobody has learned any lessons of any kind and the media is yet another group of marks, like prospective SoHo condo buyers or Atlantic City contractors.
Nevertheless, we’re in the middle of another round of headlines that goes something like this: Trump Takes Preemptive Credit For Promised Big Crazy Thing/ Big Crazy Thing Fails/ Trump Declares Big Crazy Thing A Success And Also Blames Media For Its Failure. Trump’s lackeys have promised that the Trump blog was never the endgame here, declaring even bigger and better things just around the corner. Big. Yuge. Really?
We don’t have to fall for this over and over. We already know how this one ends.