President Trump may have his faults, but when it comes to trolling he reigns supreme. That goes for showmanship, too. Today, Trump presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mariano Rivera in the East Room of the White House. Rivera, as you probably know, was a relief pitcher for the New York Yankees, one of the greatest pitchers of all time and by all accounts an outstanding citizen.
The East Room was crowded with reporters and others. President Trump was announced in the usual stentorian way as the 45th President of the United States, and they played the fanfare to “Hail to the Chief.” But then, as Trump and Rivera entered the room and made their way to the stage, they played a recording of Mariano Rivera’s walk-up music, the beginning of “Enter Sandman” by Metallica. (Rivera was the Sandman because he put batters to sleep.) It was a great moment:
Trump enters a room at the White House while “Enter Sandman” plays pic.twitter.com/YbJvNDDFHq
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) September 16, 2019
Two thoughts: first, Trump is a New Yorker, of course, and he lived in the city throughout Rivera’s career. He probably knew that “Enter Sandman” was Rivera’s walk-up music, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was his idea to play it today. Second, Trump’s professional understanding of showmanship is reflected in the fact that we don’t just hear a few seconds of “Enter Sandman” as Trump and Rivera come onstage from behind a curtain. Rather, the music plays for a bit before they begin their entrance, and then as they make their way through the crowd. So the fact that we are listening to Rivera’s walk-up music has an opportunity to sink in.
Trump’s knowledge of popular culture and his showmanship, honed by years of appearing on a top-rated television series, are underrated assets.
By the way, you can listen to “Enter Sandman” in its entirety here if so inclined, but I can’t really recommend it.
UPDATE: Rivera, who is from Panama, talked about immigration at today’s ceremony:
[T]he widely-respected icon recalled that baseball was not originally part of his career plans. He left high school to work on his father’s fishing boat and planned to become a mechanic in his home country of Panama.
“I was the happiest man in baseball,” Rivera said at the White House Monday. Rivera touched on one of the president’s favorite topics — immigration.
“Learning English is the first thing that we should do,” Rivera said of immigrants.