The Cynical Times’ Working Class Hero of the Week is “Plaid-Shirt-Guy.”
Also known as Montana high school student Tyler Linfesty.
What’d he do?
The 17-year-old’s candid reactions to Trump’s idiotic statements during a stage-managed speech in Billings, Mt., helped expose The Moron President’s lies and the Reality TV tactics employed at his rallies. The principled young man also showed skeptical Americans they are not alone.
In the process Tyler may have unwittingly made honesty cool again for American young people, and decent working people cool again for network news programs.
The Billings West High School senior wasn’t playing to the cameras during the rally. He was inaudible, polite, and neither interrupted the president nor attempted to grab the spotlight.
He simply refused to bow to the knowing liars who seek to shape American views via misinformation, stagecraft and censorship.
With a child seated ahead of him, the tall teenager was clearly visible in the crowd behind Donnie Trust Fund. Unlike most members of the handpicked crowd, he also was neither obscured by a sign lauding Trump or a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap.
They ranged from looks of disbelief to skeptical asides to the two classmates who accompanied him to the rally.
Here’s a list of Tyler’s greatest hits:
-Shaking his head and muttering “what?” in response to a wandering Trump metaphor.
-Shaking his head and saying “have you?” when Trump claimed he’d picked up a lot of support at time when his popularity is clearly waning.
-Shaking his head and saying “not true” to a classmate when Trump said more Americans were working now than ever before. A knowing lie when 40 percent of Americans over the age of 16 are without full-time employment.
This good natured skepticism is basically how the best journalists consume political bullshit when they’re not on camera. It’s unusual to see it in a non-journalist. Much less a 17-year-old.
Afterward, Tyler’s unpracticed interview with CNN’s Don Lemon was a painful departure from the practiced dissemble of the dueling political spin doctors the network anchor usually interviews.
“I just wanted to go to see the president and hear what he had to say,” Tyler told Lemon.
When Lemon asked if he was deliberately making faces, Tyler laughed and said: “All of those reactions were my actual reactions. I would have made those faces if anyone were to say that to me.
“I was not trying to protest,” he continued. “Those were just my actual honest reactions.”
Years ago, journalists always included the unpredictable voice of regular Americans like Tyler in their stories. The practice has fallen by the wayside as short-staffed news organizations have focused on wealthy sources, newsmakers and advertisers. Even interviewing their own staff experts and fellow journalists.
The semi-scripted exchanges have eroded some broadcast journalists’ interviewing abilities. However, Lemon was up to the challenge of drawing young Tyler out on camera.
“Each time I see one of these rallies, you know I see people behind Donald Trump clapping and cheering and being super enthusiastic,” Tyler said. “I’ve always wondered myself, you know, are those people really being genuine. So, when I got back there I knew that I was going to be genuine and I was going to give my actual reaction to the things he said.
“So whenever I disagreed with him you could tell that I disagreed, but whenever I agreed with him I clapped,” he said. “At one point he railed against NAFTA – I personally don’t like NAFTA. At one point he said he thought the primary election was stolen away from Bernie Sanders. I clapped at that as well (because) I also think the primary was stolen away from Bernie Sanders.”
NAFTA is the acronym for the North American Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico.
“There were also plenty of things I disagreed with, as you saw. You know, he talked about his tax plan a lot. You know, 82 percent of the benefits of the tax plan go to the top 1 percent of Americans. So, clearly this tax plan wasn’t for the middle class. You know, it didn’t help people like me, and people like my friends.”
Tyler and his pals were removed from the area behind The Great Leader in mid-speech by the opportunistic sellouts who lackey for Trump. He was interviewed by The Secret Service afterward.
“Some Secret Service guys escorted me into this back room area,” Tyler told Lemon. “They sat me down for 10 minutes, looked at my ID, and then told me to leave. Very respectfully, told me to leave and just not come back.”
Tyler said he was approached by Trump staffers before the rally and invited to stand behind the president with his friends. They were all asked to wear Trump’s MAGA hats – he declined – and react enthusiastically to the speech.
The political second-stringers who surround Donnie Trust Fund apparently didn’t recognize the Democratic Socialist rose pinned to Tyler’s chest.
The boy’s account is interesting, because it means there is such a paucity of young people wearing MAGA hats at Trump rallies right now that his lackeys have to vett the crowd before-hand. Just like those helping a crooked evangelical minister identify people with infirmities before a faith healing fundraiser.
It also confirms suspicions that it’s going be a long hard fall for Trump and his loyal, obedient and gullible Trumplickers. With little or no cushioning from the faltering middle class.
Say what you will about how hard things are right now for the masses, but at least we have each other and smartass kids like Tyler.
Former Trump staffers and supporters have no one. Not even eachother.
“I don’t think any of us had any idea we were going to be that big on TV, because whenever I see a Trump rally, you see Trump, you see hundreds of people behind him — that’s my experience at least,” Tyler told his hometown Billings Gazette. “In this case, there were like seven people (on screen). I did not know that I was going to be that big.”
Heading to sparsely populated states like Montana and Iowa to find a friendly venue for a political rally is a symptom of The Moron Presidency’s increasing desperation. It’s a tactic usually reserved for the start of a campaign.
Popular presidents seek out major media markets, like New York and Los Angeles. Unpopular presidents move into less populous areas seeking the political equivalent of some home cooking.
Standing before a friendly crowd in a remote community where people are elated to be around someone famous and willing to smile at even the most audacious misrepresentations is a great way for an embattled president to regain their form. It’s akin to sending a struggling major league baseball pitcher back down to the minors to work on their mechanics.
Tyler messed that up.
Well, Billings has about 167,000 residents. Look for Team Trump to slip down the circulation charts to someplace like Flagstaff, Ariz., next. Population 71,459.
Or Steamboat Springs, Colo. Population 12,600.
Then again, there’s always tiny Wasilla, Alaska, and its 7,800 Republican loving residents.
Donnie Bagadonuts’ long fall from political grace to rock bottom has begun. By the time it’s over, celebrities will think twice about parleying their fame, and ability to lie convincingly in front of a camera, into political careers.
That’s a good thing.