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At campaign's end, Trump revives 'The Snake'

There's something oddly perfect about Donald Trump reviving "The Snake" as the 2020 campaign comes to a close.
President Trump campaigns in Iowa
President Donald Trump raises his fist during a campaign rally in Dubuque, Iowa, on Nov. 1, 2020.CARLOS BARRIA / Reuters

Like a band on a farewell tour, Donald Trump is bringing back hits he hasn't played in a while as the 2020 campaign wraps up. The Hill reported overnight:

President Trump revived his use of a late left-wing activist's song called "The Snake" during a rally in North Carolina on Sunday while warning supporters his opponent would undo his immigration policies. Trump recited the song's lyrics at his Hickory, N.C., rally. Trump once regularly recited "The Snake" at his rallies to warn about what he saw as the ills of immigration but the president hasn't used it since February. He said Sunday that supporters had asked him to reprise it.

If you never saw a Trump stump speech from 2016, you may not appreciate just how much the Republican enjoys reading -- or more accurately, performing -- the parable.

As regular readers may recall, the story is simple: a "tender woman" rescues a "vicious snake," who repays her generosity by biting her. When the dying woman asks why, the snake explains with a grin, "Oh shut up, silly woman. You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in."

As the Washington Examiner noted a while back, "During the campaign, Trump regularly recited the poem as a cautionary tale against allowing Syrian refugees to take advantage of American generosity." And while that certainly explains the president's fascination with the parable, as we've discussed before, it's hard not to notice the parallels between the ballad and Trump's own presidency.

Indeed, part of me has long wondered when Trump might acknowledge his scandals, failures, and unpopularity by declaring with pride, "Oh shut up, silly country. You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in."

Postscript: It's worth noting for context that "The Snake" was a 1963 song written by civil-rights activist Oscar Brown. One of his daughters tried to get Trump to stop using the lyrics. The president apparently doesn't care.