Donald Trump will leave a ‘permanent orange stain’ on American politics even if he loses, writes Graydon Carter

History of mutual disdain between the two men goes back more than three decades

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The Independent US

Graydon Carter, the veteran editor of Vanity Fair, is unloading on Donald Trump, using his monthly column to excoriate the White House hopeful for promoting “violence, bigotry, ignorance, intolerance, lying, and just about everything else that can be wrong with a society”.

The history of mutual disdain between the two men is well known and Mr Carter purports to be baffled that the man he once invited to the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner as a “novelty guest” could be on the brink of winning the keys to the Oval Office.

“To think that next spring Trump could be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner as the commander in chief renders one almost speechless,” Mr Carter writes, though the length and torrid vitality of his essay belies any such claim.

The Canadian-born Mr Carter, who has been atop the VF masthead since 1992 - he succeeded Tina Brown - has a few eccentricities of his own, of course. It mightn’t be wise to target what he calls the “confection” of Mr Trump’s famous hair. He has an extravagant bouffant of his own. 

Of course it is the hope of Mr Carter, who coined the description of Mr Trump as a “short-fingered vulgarian” - the question of the size of his hands and other appendages surfaced once more in the primary contests last spring - that the New York billionaire will fail on election day and that these few months in 2016 will constitute the high water-mark of his notoriety.

Mr Trump “lives off crowd approval. And at a certain point that will dim, as it always does to people like him, and the cameras will turn to some other American novelty,” he writes. “When that attention wanes, he will be left with his press clippings, his dyed hair, his fake tan, and those tiny, tiny fingers.”

His own garrulousness aside, Mr Carter says Mr Trump is second to none when it comes to dominating conversation at the dinner table. “He talks so much and with such velocity that it can make your hair flutter,” he offers. “Whatever wife he has at the time tends to say nothing. Which made his criticism of the silence of Ghazala Khan—the mother of the fallen soldier about whom her husband, Khizr, spoke at the Democratic National Convention—seem even more curious.”

If Mr Carter verges on the catty in his screed, he offers good reason: the trail of equally catty Tweets that Mr Trump has fired off in his direction in recent years as their relationship soured. In them, the Republican nominee variously called into question the quality of Mr Carter’s stewardship of VF and the quality of the fare at the Waverly Inn, his Manhattan restaurant. 

But overall, Mr Carter appears exasperated about Mr Trump having come as far as he has as a newly minted presidential aspirant.

“He has touched—embraced!—every third rail in American politics. He has offended (and I apologize if I’ve left some group out): African-Americans, Native Americans, Mexicans, Jews, Muslims, war heroes—war heroes!—families of war heroes, the disabled, women, and babies. Babies! Through word or action, Trump has promoted gun violence, bigotry, ignorance, intolerance, lying, and just about everything else that can be wrong with a society. And yet he marches on, playing to a constituency that just doesn’t seem to care.”

Even if the veteran journalist thinks Mr Trump will ultimately lose, he warns that the impact he has made on American politics may not be washed away soon.

“He is a mad jumble of a man, with a slapdash of a campaign and talking points dredged from the dark corners at the bottom of the Internet. I don’t think he will get to the White House, but just the fact that his carny act has gotten so far along the road will leave the path with a permanent orange stain.”