The president’s disturbing fondness for telling bizarre and entirely imaginary stories was put on full display this morning when it was revealed that Donald Trump told a fundraising dinner last night about how Japanese car testers used bowling balls to test the integrity of car hoods while riffing on our close ally for taking advantage of the United States in trade.
“It’s called the bowling ball test; do you know what that is? That’s where they take a bowling ball from 20 feet up in the air and they drop it on the hood of the car,” Trump said of Japan. “And if the hood dents, then the car doesn’t qualify. Well, guess what, the roof dented a little bit, and they said, nope, this car doesn’t qualify. It’s horrible, the way we’re treated. It’s horrible.”
The Washington Post couldn’t help but note that it was “unclear what he was talking about.”
He appears to be referencing the complaints that many US automakers levy against Japan, claiming that they place undue burdens and rules on imported cars that makes it difficult to sell in Japan, but where he got this idea about “bowling balls,” nobody knows.
It’s not hard to detect the subtle racism in the joke, playing on harmful stereotypes of Japanese efficiency and their strict adherence to rules – not to mention invoking racist depictions of Japanese as being “sneaky” and “taking advantage of us.”
His speech last night was a wild one even by Trump standards. He took a harshly protectionist tone and showed an unashamed disregard for facts, even boasting to the crowd about how he had accused Canada’s Justin Trudeau of holding a trade deficit with the United States without knowing whether or not that was true.
As the weeks pass and the chaos in the White House churns without end, the President’s grasp on reality appears to grow weaker and weaker. It’s clear that Donald Trump is locked in a downward spiral as events beyond his control are made substantially worse by his impulsive decisions while the consequences of a lifetime of philandering and greedy scheming comes back to haunt him.
Between the legal challenges of former mistress Stormy Daniels and the investigation of Special Prosecutor Mueller, the president’s future is already looking bleak.
We can expect to see more and more of these bizarre outbursts in the coming weeks as the pressure mounts and Trump gives in to his instinctive need to lash out at anything and everything in order to maintain the facade of strength.