A couple of months ago, apropos of nothing, Donald Trump tweeted an image showing him with all-caps text that read, “Sanctions are coming.” The visual was not subtle: the president’s message was obviously intended to echo the “Winter is coming” phrase from HBO’s Game of Thrones, and the font was the same as the show’s promotional materials. The network wasn’t pleased.
And while that was odd, it was even stranger this week when a fairly large, movie-style poster of the same image was placed at the center of the table in the White House cabinet room during Trump’s cabinet meeting this week.
Adding to the oddity, the New York Times reported, “Mr. Trump did not talk about the poster. Nor did any of his cabinet members seated around him, or even Vice President Mike Pence, who was sitting directly in front of it. And he made no connection to the date on the poster – two days before Election Day.”
Yesterday, this managed to get a little stranger, still.
The president posted an image of himself on Instagram Thursday, with the words “The Wall Is Coming” in the [Game of Thrones] font, a parody of the ominous House Stark motto, “Winter Is Coming.” The slogan is over what appears to be a portion of the existing wall that sits on the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
His picture has amassed over 700,000 likes.
There is a certain irony to the president, unable to win a policy debate on the merits, relying so heavily on a fictional fantasy television show.
But more to the point, it’s hard not to get the impression that no one in the West Wing actually watches Game of Thrones.
Because if Trump and his team tuned in, they’d know that in the show, there’s a giant wall that was destroyed at the end of the seventh season. For fans of the franchise, it was kind of a big deal.
The parallels to contemporary politics in the United States are limited, but the rather obvious takeaway from the plot was that those counting on a wall for safety are making a mistake – because walls sometimes come down.
Or put another way, relying on Game of Thrones to make a point about the efficacy of walls is a bit like relying on Jurassic Park to make a point about the safety of genetic testing.
Shouldn’t a guy obsessed with watching television have some basic understanding of stuff like this?