The Economist (and this blog) might liken him to The Joker, but Trump disagrees. I am Batman, he told a young boy and the world.
The obvious response is to say that Trump isn’t Batman. Or, there are those who have said that yes, he kinda is Batman.
I won’t point out the obvious, like that they’re both billionaires who polarize the public, own skyscrapers, and have a tragic lack of self-awareness.
When I consider if Trump resembles Batman, I’m reminded of the characters who show up at the beginning of The Dark Knight, wielding guns but dressed as poor man’s Batmans. Or the “Sons of Batman” who show up in a variety of Batman comic books and graphic novels, including Frank Miller’s acclaimed The Dark Knight Returns.
Why do I think of these Batman imitators when I think of Donald Trump? Because he has inspired something dangerous. I’m referring to the two racist thugs who recently attacked a homeless man, citing their motivation as comments made by Trump. What they said specifically was: “Donald Trump was right. All these illegals need to be deported.”
How does this resemble Batman? Well, Batman did inspire violent vigilantism from his admirers, although it might be stretch to say that these Trump fans are committing a form of violence that can be called vigilantism.
The distinction between Bruce Wayne and Donald Trump comes in how they respond to this. When Batman found copycats carrying guns, dressed as him, he said to his butler: “There were more copycats last night, Alfred, with guns.” When Alfred responded with, “Why not hire them, take the weekend off,” Bruce responded:
“That wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I said I wanted to inspire people.”
The trouble is that Trump doesn’t respond to this the way that Wayne did. Trump’s response was first “that would be a shame.” But then he added:
“The people that are following me are very passionate. They love this country. They want this country to be great again. But they are very passionate. I will say that.”
This is a far cry from Bruce Wayne’s response. It seems there is more to being Batman than money, privilege, and passion.