Can Howard Stern Take Down Trump?

A careful—or careless—look at The Back Door Man.

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Courtesy of Instagram

Donald Trump hates you, and so do I,” Howard Stern

“I’d love it if Donald would get on TV and take an injection of Clorox and let’s see if his theory works,” Stern said, according to cleveland.com.

This came after Trump pondered whether bleach could be used internally, something even Stern couldn’t turn into jocular comedy. Trump’s been on Stern’s show for years, enjoying the intimacy Stern shares with a variety of clever and not-so-clever sociopaths.

You have to take what they say with a grain of salt, sort of like Stern himself. Back in 1994, after helping prevent a Latin man from jumping off the George Washington Bridge, Stern said, “Would a racist pluck a Spanish brother…from a suicide plunge that would have left his wife and 18 children and 45 relatives homeless?”

Stern and Trump used to meet on a similar grid, until the grid looked like a bad carnival act. Trump claimed his coronavirus updates attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, roughly the viewership of the season finale of “The Bachelor.”

Stern, no stranger to ratings himself, decided enough was enough. Even shock jocks know you don’t mess with pandemics, especially the kind that won’t respond to remedies like bleach and fish tank cleaner.

“It’s really mind-boggling that the Chinese government won’t shut that stuff down,” Stern said when Paul McCartney called in, suggesting the wet markets in Wuhan should at least try to be sanitary. “Is Ozzy still eating bats?” Stern asked, and McCartney replied, “Yeah, blame it on Ozzy.”

They agreed this whole bat-eating thing was out of hand. Then again, if anything led to this coronavirus, it was — and is — the $20 million in worldwide revenue represented by TCM (traditional Chinese medicine).

Years ago, Hunter S. Thompson wrote that, “…one out of three Americans will experiment this year with a variety of do-it-yourself home cures and quack remedies, ranging from self-induced vomiting kits to alpha/beta brain wave scans.”

If only Hunter could see the state of home remedies today, starting with the Phoenix couple who drank fish tank cleaner (on Trump’s advice). The husband died. The wife, duly distressed, said she wouldn’t do it again.

But let’s not get off track here. Stern’s not interested in the cause of the coronavirus. He’s more worried about the people supporting Trump.

“I don’t hate Donald,” Stern said, according to the Daily News. “I hate you for voting for him, for not having any intelligence. For not being able to see what’s going on with the coronavirus…”

When someone called in, saying Trump was just being sarcastic about injecting disinfectant, Stern said,” What’s it going to take? I don’t get it.” He then suggested the caller should follow the president’s “sarcastic” advice.

You could call it the first shot over the bow, certainly one Republicans weren’t expecting. Stern isn’t like your typical Democrat or climate change advocate. It won’t be so easy swatting him down, as Donald Trump Jr. found out, accusing Stern of “acting like Hillary.” Stern loves returning fire, and so do his listeners. They also love Stern’s vapid responses, the more cutting the better.

On his show, Stern said, “Look, take it from me — I know the man. He hates all of you. Seriously, he hates you, and so do I.”

That’s a hell of an admission, and not one that falls on deaf ears. Stern’s show on SiriusXM generates around 10 million listeners a week. Based on Stern’s subject matter, you know a good percentage are Trump voters.

If Stern can turn even five percent of Trump’s voter base, it’s still 8 million people. Many of Stern’s listeners have the same hero-worshipping skills as the Trumpsters. They can be turned, in other words, and Stern knows how to play self-righteous to the hilt.

Trump has enough problems without Stern jumping into the political fray. Stern’s a natural shit disturber, especially when he feels justified. Maybe McCartney got him started, but Trump comparing his ratings to a hit reality series really blew smoke up Stern’s nose.

“It’s not your incredible reality TV show that you’re putting on for the country,” Stern said, according to The Hill. “It’s because we’re in a crisis and we’re tuning in to see what the president has to say. We’re looking for leadership, mother (expletive).”

MarketWatch decided Stern made a mistake unleashing on the president. “Stern alienated what has to be the rather larger Venn diagram overlap of Trump supporters,” they wrote, forgetting that Trump’s television ratings are no indication of his popularity. These folks are more interested in train wrecks.

Most of The Bachelor contestants were train wrecks. One committed suicide. Catastrophes obviously amuse these viewers, just as Trump is amused at his rallies. Trouble is, people change sides faster than some rose-toting Lothario with less substance than a Trump-humping porn star.

Not that Republicans can’t cause enough doubt and dissent on their own. Last week, Mitch McConnell admitted he was wrong about Obama not leaving any sort of plan for a pandemic. Obama left a 62-page book on the subject.

Then there’s press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, explaining why Trump didn’t wear a mask at a war memorial service. “Those war vets didn’t have to come,” she said, which is logical on one hand, entirely stupid on the other.

If Stern really wants to dig, the GOP isn’t short of damning material. Except Stern isn’t out to destroy his former friend. He believes Trump never wanted to be president and would be happier “golfing than serving the White House.”

That said, if there’s a “back door man” ready to bring Trump down by November, Stern’s the guy to do it. He doesn’t like pandemics or bad management—or bleach, for that matter. The situation requires a hardline approach, and God knows, Stern loves finding guilty parties—even if they’re past friends. The guilty have to pay, and Trump is definitely guilty.

This is one we can’t blame on Ozzy.

Robert Cormack is a satirist, novelist and blogger. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)” is available online and at most major bookstores. Check out Skyhorse Press or Simon and Schuster for more details.

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I did a poor imitation of Don Draper for 40 years before writing my first novel. I'm currently in the final stages of a children's book. Lucky me.

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