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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

“You know he’s watching,” Michael Wolff warns Stephen Colbert at the beginning of his latest “exclusive” interview. “He may have done nothing today but watch me on television.”

As the Fire and Fury author points out, there is little in his raging bestseller that we didn’t already know about the cheeseburger-inhaling infant in the White House. But the rest of the national media have soft-pedaled the bad news that Wolff delivers so bluntly.

Covering the Trump White House wasn’t easy, he says. “You have two sides that would be each others’ assassins if they could.” This administration is “a completely aberrant enterprise.”

Wolff defends his work ably with a dry sense of humor. “Was there anything that gave you hope while you were there? Is there anything they’re good at?” asks Colbert. “Remember, people have to go to sleep after this.” Wolff grunts, rolls his eyes, looks at the host. “Nothing,” he deadpans.

"Performative patriotism" is a fancy way of describing what my father — a veteran of World War II who rarely spoke about his service — called "jelly-bellied flag flappers." Dad always laughed at those phonies, but we now suffer a president who is exactly that type, only worse. And Donald Trump's flag-flapping fakery is no joke.

A performative patriot is someone who, like Trump, oversells his supposed love of country, his reverence for the Stars and Stripes and, especially, his indignation at those whom he suspects of lacking his deep fervor. Such a figure will, like Trump, attempt to market these counterfeit emotions for his own benefit. And like Trump, that loud jingo is someone whose character will lead to a betrayal of American values.

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