The Republican National Convention kicked off on Monday, with a star-studded line-up including a fossil fuels distributor, the St. Louis couple that pointed their guns at civil rights protesters, and the father of a shooting victim who says the way to stop school shootings is to arm teachers. But if you were on Twitter last night, you may have wondered why the word “cocaine” was trending during the convention. And the answer will not shock you.
The most prominent speakers of the night, like Charlie Kirk, Donald Trump Jr., and Kimberly Guilfoyle, had a particularly hate-fueled energy when delivering their speeches. They spoke of “destiny” and protecting “Western civilization.” But a handful of speakers also had a very strange vibe—something that seemed to push their unsurprisingly fascist message to the next level.
Trump Jr. in particular had glassy eyes, a bit of sweat shining on his face, and a bizarre cadence that made it look like he was struggling to act like a normal human being. Could it have been a drug that gives people a huge boost of energy and an enhanced state of wellbeing? Twitter users seemed to think so, even if it was a joke.
To be clear, Gizmodo has no insider knowledge about whether people like Donny Junior were actually using cocaine last night. It’s entirely possible—probable even—that Trump just looks like that when he gets excited. But it’s easy to see why so many social media users believe Trump got a little help with his speech. Especially since some recent appearance on Fox News and Fox Business gave rise to the same rumors about drug use.
Donald Trump Jr.’s strange behavior may explain why cocaine was trending, but why was Loch Ness also trending under the same topic? That, again, was Junior’s fault. Trump called Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden the “Loch Ness monster of the swamp,” a clumsy attempt at disparaging the former vice president while mimicking his own father’s hand gestures.
For whatever it’s worth, political commentator Jeet Heer wrote a new piece in The Nation overnight explaining that Trump’s exuberance probably wasn’t fueled by cocaine, but just desperation and a general discomfort with the spotlight.
From The Nation:
The most likely explanation is existential dread. Trump Jr. has never been comfortable in public life; he’s always tried to mimic his father (a more successful public speaker). Trump Jr. has always seemed more like a lost puppy than a grown man, someone who is never at ease with the world but anxiously trying to spy out the situation. Added to this natural discomfort are his likely worries about his fate if his father loses.
Heer also notes that Donald Trump Jr. has a lot to lose if he’s held responsible for his unsavory dealings during the 2016 presidential election. Perhaps Junior is just worried about going to jail if Biden ascends to the White House. Plenty of other Trump cronies, from General Michael Flynn to Steve Bannon, have been arrested for less, it would seem.
Either way, it was weird to watch last night.
Guilfoyle, who’s currently dating Trump Jr., didn’t appear particularly drug-addled, she just seemed unhinged for the normal reasons that Republicans seem deranged in the Age of Trump. They firmly believe that the country will be destroyed if Biden, a political centrist, becomes president.
Are the Republicans using cocaine or is it just the mass delusion of a death cult that has little to offer beyond tax cuts for the wealthy and whining about how they’re the real victims? As Jeer points out, the latter is just as likely as any other explanation.
But, yes, we watched Junior’s speech and couldn’t help but think of that guy from the 1988 movie Die Hard who was over-confident when trying to negotiate with terrorists. You know the one.
It doesn’t end very well for him either.