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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Trump’s Curb Your Enthusiasm tweet sucks, but saying he doesn’t get it misses the point

Illustration for article titled Trump’s Curb Your Enthusiasm tweet sucks, but saying he doesn’t get it misses the point
Screenshot: Curb Your Enthusiasm (YouTube)

Last night, President Donald Trump tweeted out a scene from HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David’s long-running, reliably hilarious cringe comedy. In it, Larry cuts off a burly, bearded biker who furiously threatens our bald hero. But once Larry pops on a bright red MAGA hat, the biker softens, encouraging him to “be more careful next time.” Our president captioned the clip: “TOUGH GUYS FOR TRUMP!”


While some clutched their pearls at Trump tweeting out a profanity-laden clip—better than videos of actual assaults and remarks about Barney Frank’s nipples, we’d wager—others, including The Washington Post, sought to dunk on Trump by informing him that, actually, the clip is making fun of him and his supporters. And, they’re right, it is: Larry, always willing to debase himself if it means freeing him from confrontation or obligation, wears the MAGA hat for a variety of selfish reasons, chiefly to weasel his way out of a lunch date with the liberal Phil Rosenthal.

But Trump—or whoever tweeted it out; Lord knows Trump isn’t a Curb fan—knows that. His team knows they are despised by Hollywood, and one of their go-to tactics is to constantly remind Trump supporters just how deeply they’re also loathed and mocked by the coastal elite. (To this day, Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment remains one of her greatest gifts to the Trump campaign.) As such, his base wear it like a badge.

It feels weird to give the president this much credit—his party, as we know, has proven woefully inept at trying to own libs with Simpsons references—but he at least knows that it’s the biker here that matters, not Larry. Sure, Trump’s long wanted to be embraced by the Hollywood elite—just look at how he lauds the few actors that do support him—but, for his base’s sake, it’s the burly man, so butch and foul-mouthed, that Trump wants flaunted, not the rich, willowy comedian who only wears a MAGA hat to manipulate others. At rallies, he routinely calls out “Bikers For Trump” and loves to talk about the “tough guys” who come to him crying because they’re, in his words, “back.” His caption on the tweet, lest we forget, is “TOUGH GUYS FOR TRUMP.”

Is the Curb episode still good? Yes, it’s great. Does Trump’s Curb tweet still suck? Absolutely. All of his tweets suck, even the ones that call Mike Bloomberg “Mini Mike,” which, whether you like it or not, is very funny. But the smug, corrective response to his tweet just further illustrates how little people understand the Trump team’s base and strategy, even after nearly four years of the man being president.

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Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.