One of the most mystifying and disturbing cultural aspects of the Trump presidency is the way in which a generation of Republican men, urged on by populist GOP pundits, have pushed him forward as an avatar of strength and masculinity. It’s always been a strange fit: A New York playboy who luxuriated in inherited wealth and dodged military service with a fleeting bone spur diagnosis doesn’t match the normal profile of true conservative manliness.
But you still see it all the time. Especially here in the South, the good ole boys sure do love Trump. They hear words like Dan Bongino’s below—that Trump is the “apex predator” or the “lion king” or the “shark in the ocean”—and believe they capture the essence of the man and his appeal:
But was Trump the “lion king” or was he just trying to bully Biden? There’s a profound difference, and the difference goes back to the very definition of toughness itself.