The July 19 Helsinki summit opened the doors for a lot of hot takes on the relationship between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, but this is the best one I've seen by far. Stephen King came for Trump and Putin with an Animal Farm quote, and I can't stop laughing over how accurate it is. Unfortunately, Donald Trump reportedly doesn't do a lot of reading, so it's unclear if he'll understand the reference to George Orwell's novella, published in 1945.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's involvement with the 2016 general election has heated up over the last few weeks, which may or may not be related to the mass exodus of White House staffers — including stenographer Beck Dorey-Stein, who told CNN that she "felt like President Trump was lying to the American people." The Justice Department has not said there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, but Mueller's investigation continues to turn over new evidence that links people close to the then-presidential candidate with Russian intelligence agents, even as Trump continues to take every opportunity to state, unequivocally, that there was no collusion. In Helsinki, Trump even went so far as to blame the United States for Russian meddling in the 2016 election, in a move that drew criticism from many Republican senators and congressional representatives.
Suspicions over the Trump campaign's relationship with Russia led many to dub the events in Helsinki as the #TreasonSummit. Reacting to the meeting between Trump and Putin, Time magazine issued a cover that blended the world leaders' faces into one. Many takes on Trump and Putin's meeting had a homophobic bent, presenting the two men as being in a sexual relationship for insults that use being gay as the punchline. To be clear: There are many ways to take aim at the president that don't involve making homophobic jokes or mentioning his weight.
That's what makes Stephen King's take on Trump and Putin's Helsinki summit so refreshing. Not only is King's Animal Farm quote literary — and the original text, incidentally, is a commentary on 20th-century Russian politics — it also manages to insult both men without throwing anyone else under the bus. The tweet reads: "George Orwell on Trump and Putin, in 1945: 'The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.'"
That quote, the very last line of Animal Farm, describes the reaction of the animal proletariat as they peer through the windows at a meeting between their political leaders, the pigs, with the local human farmers, who had previously been demonized in the state's official discourse. The animals realize, for the first time, that the pigs have bamboozled them, and have proved themselves to be no better than the human masters they overthrew. Whether Trump's supporters can now say the same remains to be seen. What we do know is this is maybe the perfect book quote for the situation.