It really cannot be emphasized enough that the Republican party is in a strange enough place that as ridiculous figure a Donald Trump could be taken seriously, however briefly, as a candidate for the party’s presidential nomination. His latest absurdity is declaring to Erin Burnett that Amanda Knox, the American university student who was acquitted yesterday of charges that she assaulted and murdered her roommate in Italy after an international media sensation and years of imprisonment, might be able to “become a big star and build some dividends from this … absolutely outrageous” experience.
In a way it’s clarifying about his values that the best thing he can think of is for Knox to make a lot of money, rather than, say, finishing her interrupted education (she’s apparently become an impressive linguist in prison), or do what she’s said she wants to do: work for the Innocence Project. If what Knox wants to do is cash in, I wouldn’t judge her for it. But no matter what the rise of reality television and famous-for-15-minutes on social media might suggest, celebrity is not everybody’s highest value. Trump’s classlessness in asserting a connection to her family is really quite impressive. That someone of his crassness was even briefly considered a viable candidate by even a small number of people speaks to a certain poverty of ideas and of values.