Donald Trump is desperate to remind people about the pee tape

Remember that one?

US President Donald Trump holds an umbrella as he speaks to the media under the rain prior to depart...
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

I’m not exactly sure when former President Donald Trump’s purported “pee tape” dropped out of the national zeitgeist, but I do know the precise date it was forcefully reintroduced into our fragile collective consciousness: Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021.

That’s the day Trump reminded a room full of Republican bigwigs of the much mythologized footage of him engaging in pee play with a room full of Russian sex workers — a video whose ambiguous providence is as clouded and tangled as the question of whether Trump will run for another term in 2024.

“I’m not into golden showers,” Trump reportedly exclaimed — entirely unbidden — during his keynote speech to the National Republican Senatorial Committee at their Palm Beach, Florida, retreat this week, audio of which was obtained by The Washington Post.

“You know the great thing,” he continued in his characteristically garbled syntax. “Our great first lady: ‘That one,’ she said, ‘I don’t believe that one.’”

Trump’s tinkle tangent, delivered amidst a familiar bout of grievance airing (“It’s so sad when you see that they are approving these windmills — worst form of energy, the most expensive,” he whined at one point), ultimately serves several very important, if not necessarily intentional, purposes:

1) It reminds people that there is an at least somewhat credible allegation out there that Trump watched several Russian sex workers micturate on a mattress as part of a deep pathological hatred for former President Barack Obama, who’d once used the same bed.

2) It forces the listener to consider that Melania Trump keeps a mental list of her husband’s alleged sexual fetishes, some of which she believes, others she rejects.

3) It reminds people (those scant few who actually need reminding) that Trump is at his core a deeply petty, self-absorbed, extremely whiny braggart whose sole motivating principle beyond financial enrichment is being able to bask in an entirely self-created nostalgia cocoon from which he can re-litigate his entire personal history as he sees fit.

That last point becomes crucial in light of Trump’s will he/won’t he game of chicken with the 2024 election. If Trump does decide to run again, it will almost certainly be a campaign based entirely upon his personal beefs and picadillos, rather than any sort of overarching view of the country. What’s more, it will be a litany of complaints that are as boring and warmed over as they are compelling. Pee tape? Wind power? “Rigged election” and “the Big Lie”? What is this, 2016 all over again? And should Trump not run in 2024 — still a distinct possibility! — he’s already staked his claim on what the GOP should, and almost certainly will, make the race about anyway, if they want to keep his base happy and prevent him from pulling the party down on their own heads.

In the meantime, there’s a cadre of Republican senatorial staffers who now have to contend with the fact that the leader of their party’s main message ahead of a potentially pivotal midterm election is protesting a bit too much that he isn’t into pee stuff. Inspiring!