Donald Trump gave a speech today, discussing the country’s current relationship with Iran. He spoke about the Iranian attacks on two U.S. military bases in Iraq, saying that no Americans were harmed (Iraq has also said they saw no casualties) and that he believes Iran is “standing down” following the attacks. He said that the U.S. will increase economic sanctions on Iran. He also managed to blame Barack Obama for the Iranian attacks, praise his own work on the economy, and he seemed to imply that that the United States didn’t need to be dependent on the Middle East anymore for oil.
From the look of it, though, most people didn’t hear any of that. Instead, here’s what everyone is talking about during and following the speech:
“Teleprompter” was also trending because as nausea-inducing as it can be to hear Trump yell one of his off-the-cuff multi-hour MAGA rally rambles, it’s so jarring to hear him give a Formal Speech, because it’s the exact opposite of how he sounds the rest of the time. Every time he has to read one of Stephen Miller’s racist America First speeches or give words of condolences, he sounds like it’s the first time he’s ever seen the words he’s saying and he’s bored out of his mind.
Three years in, and he still doesn’t know how to use a teleprompter. It’s like he’s saying these words for the first time. https://t.co/Y35RShCB9P
— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) January 8, 2020
As for the rest of it, well, it’s complicated.
First off, to be totally fair, it is hard to focus on substance when this is what you’re hearing during a four-minute speech:
58 times. He sniffed 58 times during his address. Here are all of them. pic.twitter.com/GoAIfsfdLd
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 8, 2020
(It’s why I prefer transcripts.)
There are also quite a few people on Twitter sharing their own experiences of Adderall and other amphetamine abuse, which is courageous of them and also has the potential to give useful insight into a world leader whose behavior is genuinely troubling. Trump famously doesn’t drink but there have been rumors of substance abuse–specifically Adderall–for years, since long before he took office. However, they are just rumors and the last thing we all need is an entire hellsite full of unqualified armchair diagnoses.
While no one should be trying to offer a diagnosis of substance abuse over Twitter, what’s even worse is watching a legitimate medication and, by extension, the people that depend on it, being turned into a punchline.
As my husband, who himself takes Adderall (and which I’m sharing with his permission) put it, “If someone is on Adderall you shouldn’t notice because they should be functioning like everyone else. If someone is noticeably on Adderall then they’re abusing it.” Too many of the tweets in that trending topic aren’t bothering to make the distinction.
“Demonizing one of the things that keeps me from killing myself just fucking sucks,” Brock told me.
don’t do this. pic.twitter.com/rRuqivdw72
— Brock Wilbur (@brockwilbur) January 8, 2020
Trump’s offputting delivery was so distracting, it feels like one of his trademark manufactured misdirections, like when Melania wears something inappropriate and we all end up talking about that instead of, say Trump’s lack of action in Puerto Rico or his family separation policies at the southern border.
I have trouble believing that’s the case here though, just because as much as Trump likes a distraction, we know he hates looking foolish. The sniffling, slurring, excessively bored performance we saw earlier, which overshadowed some of the bold and questionable claims he made in the speech itself, seems to have just been Trump being Trump, as terrifying as that is.
(image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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