Minnesota-born author and public radio legend Garrison Keillor has spent nearly half a century building an image as the most laid-back man in America. His soft, lilting voice and ambling, aimless stories of quaint Midwestern life have been spoofed by comedians like Bill Hader, Harry Shearer, and Tom Scharpling over the years. Is there anything that gets this guy fired up? Yes, and it turns out to be the Donald Trump campaign. Keillor, newly retired from his Prairie Home Companion radio show, has penned a scathing editorial aimed at the flamboyant real estate mogul titled “When this is over, you will have nothing that you want.”
This is a long way from Lake Wobegon. Keillor structures the editorial as a monologue aimed directly at Trump, as if the two men were having coffee together and the GOP presidential nominee had asked for Keillor’s honest opinion. Whether or not it was requested, Keillor renders his verdict in no uncertain terms. As he sees it, the Trump campaign is the sad, silly act of a vain man who made billions but never got the respect of the Manhattan elites he spent a lifetime trying to impress. Keillor’s advice is to stop trying.
Though he himself looks rather like a cartoon owl freshly emerged from a wind tunnel, Keillor starts with some criticism of Trump’s strange current appearance. On his ubiquitous “Make America Great Again” baseball cap: “You look like the warm-up guy, the guy who announces the license number of the car left in the parking lot, doors locked, lights on, motor running.” On his hair: “People don’t want a president to be that shade of blond. You know that now.” Keillor has some sharp words, too, for the politicians who have acted as Trump’s enablers during this campaign: “Rudy and Christie and Newt are reassuring in that stilted way of hospital visitors.”
But mostly, the editorial is about how Trump is tragically obsessed with showing up his critics and detractors, such as the staff of The New York Times, a publication Keillor describes as “the Supreme Liberal Jewish Anglican Arbiter Of Who Has The Smarts And What Goes Where.” Perhaps Trump figures that, if he can never win over the elites and intellectuals, at least they’ll have to take him seriously as president and he can stop being a joke. But, as the last year has proven, this gaudy campaign has made him more of a joke than ever.