We know that Donald Trump spends every Saturday night glued to the television, fuming into his fast food containers as the cast of SNL gleefully lambastes him. Picturing him sitting there in his gilt easy chair, $60,000 weave akimbo, wiping the grease from his bitty paws onto the leg of his monogrammed silk pajamas is one of the few things that still brings a smile to my face in these trying times.
The SNL cast is well aware of their effect on our Supreme Ruler, and use their weekly opportunity to needle him accordingly. Kristen Stewart hosted for the first time last night, and in addition to endearingly saying “fuck” on live television, also pronounced herself “so gay.” As in:
“Donald, if you didn’t like me then, you’re really probably not going to like me now, ‘cause I’m hosting SNL and I’m like, so gay dude.”
Stewart’s sexuality has been the object of much speculation over the years, since it’s apparently impossible to date both men and women without sending a bunch of strangers into a whorl of identity-based chaos. Trump has in the past referred to himself as “a traditional guy,” meaning one who believes that marriage is between a man and a woman (on whom the man relentlessly cheats, but more on that in a minute).
Aside from placating his far-right fan base, I struggle to accept the idea that Trump is specifically, morally anti-gay. As The Hill points out, Trump has previously donated to charities focused on combating AIDS, explicitly said that sexual orientation ought to be included in the Civil Rights Act, and became among the first private club owners in Palm Beach to admit a gay couple. He is mercurial, spineless, and alarmingly susceptible to the power of suggestion, a disturbing combination considering the depths of true hatred possessed by his more steadfast right-hand gollum, Mike Pence. I have no doubt that he’ll pivot easily to homophobia if and when it suits his whims to do so.
What bothers Trump about Stewart, presumably, isn’t that she is “so gay.” It’s that she upset Trump’s perception of a traditional relationship—which again, is that men may cheat on women, but never the other way around—when she was found to be hooking up with director Rupert Sanders on the set of Snow White and the Huntsman. Boy, was Trump mad. Mad enough to write eleven tweets on what a hussy that Kristen Stewart was for daring to betray her man.
Never mind that Trump is himself a proud philanderer—look how pleased he is to recount this Aspen face-off between his then-wife, Ivana, and mistress Marla Maples back in 1994. I have no idea whether any of Trump’s collection of wives have cheated on him (seems likely!), but I cannot imagine his reaction would be anything approaching reasonable or mature.
And so as good as Stewart’s opening monologue was, the real threat to Trump’s perverse sense of traditionalism is found in the Totino’s parody ad, the latest installment in a running Super Bowl bit in which a nameless, effervescently cheerful housewife’s sole raison d’être is to get processed snack foods in front of her indifferent “hungry guys.”
This year’s edition goes deep, featuring the housewife, played by Vanessa Bayer, as she experiences a sexual and spiritual renaissance in the kitchen with Stewart’s Sabine. French is spoken. A portrait is made. A Totino is lustily brushed against a cheek. The hungry guys are ignored, left wondering what became of the woman who exists only to supply the endless trays of snacks.
In Trump’s world, women are just another in a series of objects to be showcased, along with ill-fitting Brioni suits and private jets filled with gold seat belt buckles. What likely eats at Trump isn’t that Stewart may or may not be gay, but that women have inner lives outside of Trump’s control; the possibility that they might not, in fact, exist entirely to genuflect at the altar of his every desire.
Men cheat on women as a matter of tradition. A cheating woman, though, presents Trump with the haunting possibility that women are more than just well-groomed trophies, but complex humans endowed with their own thoughts and desires. Imagine a world where a woman was allowed to indulge her desires in the same way he does—secretly, illicitly and without permission.
That must scare the shit out of him.