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All the President’s Memes

The New York Times: “On the 12th day of the federal government shutdown, the 45th president of the United States of America posted a meme on his Instagram account: an image of his half-glowering, half-smirking visage, hovering gigantically above the Southwestern desert, dwarfing the picture’s centerpiece — a rendering of his signature campaign promise — and, in a familiar font, some explanatory text: “The Wall Is Coming.” It’s an image that makes you think, That’s from HBO’s hit series “Game of Thrones” — sort of, and then makes you think about the unique privileges and burdens of living in this moment in history. There are so many unusual aspects of Donald Trump’s presidency that his willingness to communicate with the public through internet memes is often overshadowed. Typically, he retweets images made by his most enthusiastic backers — in November he shared one of the Clintons, Barack Obama, Huma Abedin, Robert Mueller, his own deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein and others, all locked up in a prison cell together — but the wall meme appears to be a White House original. It is also the second “Game of Thrones” meme the president has shared in the last two months. He does this sort of thing so often that the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, recently felt compelled to tweet, like an exasperated high school teacher, “Enough with the memes.”

It’s impossible to overstate how peculiar it is that the most powerful man in the world, who will turn 73 in June, posts memes. It’s a behavior more often associated with youth, irreverence and a surfeit of free time — though certainly plenty of old, aggrieved people have picked up the habit in recent years. In 2016, the Trump campaign united message-board trolls and Facebook boomers, and together they disseminated so many memes that some of them began to believe — both jokingly and not — that their “meme magic” had helped Trump win the election…”

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