Trump as "Child King"

Patrick Cox, H-NET President-Elect and Editor's picture

In the introduction to the latest issue of the journal Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures editor Heather Snell offers analysis of representations President Donald Trump as a child. The piece is open access, and titled "Child King." Snell sees uses of both positive and negative constructions of "the child" in how Trump is discussed, as well as a parent/child relationship in Pence/Trump that inverts representations of Obama/Biden in popular memes. Snell observes "the ease with which we were so easily tricked into believing the more civil candidate would win," raises questions about whose civility was represented, and therefore whose child is evoked in certain constructions of childhood. Trump resembles more closely Joffrey Baratheon, the child king of Game of Thrones, but with even darker tones of creepy clowns and rural rednecks, the more polite civil child who "knows better" that some of us might have wished for.

I urge H-AMSTDY-ers to take a look at Snell's piece on the discourse of the child that has swirled around Trump, which to me is noteworthy in itself. I remember the moments of childhood discourse around Trump that Snell mentions. I recall a paper from the Midwest Popular and American Culture conference last year that also expounded on the same thing. I can think of no other time when so much comparison or contrast has been drawn between a US president and a child.