While Eva Perón has been deified (thanks to both Patti LuPone and Madonna’s renderings of her–though, don’t tell that to the former) in the period since her co-reign with somewhat secondary figure Juan Perón, at the time of her highly publicized Rainbow Tour in 1947, she was not so unanimously lauded. There are, in certain regards, parallels to her tour of Europe and the one Donald Trump is currently floundering through. Apart from the demagogue aspect of her intermingled-with-her-husband persona, Perón was not well-received in all the countries she visited, nor were the politics of the Peróns eagerly embraced by any stretch of the imagination.
The tour stemmed from an invitation extended to Juan Perón by the last remaining authoritarian in Western Europe, Francisco Franco. However, since Argentina had only just established decent relations with the U.S. and entered the UN, it was decided that for reasons of diplomacy, Eva would go in his stead and visit a number of other European countries as a symbol of “goodwill.” Unfortunately, Trump’s wife, Melania, doesn’t quite have the same level of charisma to perform a similar move that would prevent Trump from infecting the continent with his presence. In fact, her accompaniment with him on this outing (which is, essentially, what it seems to be for them–as opposed to, you know, a major aspect of what it means to politick) has only served to make a greater fool out of him. Not that buffoons can ever be seen as otherwise.
From hand swattings and looks of disgust, there’s no denying that Melania wants her contract to be over. And it’s not just because of his physical grotesquerie so much as how embarrassing he’s behaved throughout the entire journey. Starting from the day he arrived on European soil, May 19th, Trump has ceaselessly shown his oblivion not only to the politics and cultures of other countries, but also to basic displays of human decency and decorum. Let’s review some of the more shameful acts on the part of the Orange One in the scant amount of time he’s been abroad:
Pushing the prime minister of Montenegro: We get that someone like Trump, the hyper-caricaturized embodiment of the average American, probably hasn’t even heard of Montenegro, therefore doesn’t see its prime minister as a person of relevance. And yet, even if he didn’t comprehend that Milo Đukanović is a man of importance that oughtn’t to be shoved aside simply because Montenegro has only been a faint impression in his and his followers’ minds thanks to Casino Royale, it’s rudimentary courtesy to not jostle someone to get in front of him.
Any of his interactions with the Pope: the Pope has made no secret of his disapproval of the policies of Trump–the man stands for everything the Pope does not. Chiefly, the two could never possibly agree on policies pertaining to the protection of the environment and acceptance of immigrants and refugees. To allay the contempt that a Catholic isn’t supposed to have for others, Pope Francis perhaps saw fit to throw shade at Trump’s weight by asking Melania what her husband’s favorite food was.
Shaking Macron’s hand: The handshake-off that occurred between newly elected French president Emmanuel Macron was epic, to say the least. The two world leaders shook hands until knuckles went white, with Macron ultimately winning out in what eventually seemed to amount to an arm wrestle.
Getting dodged by Macron so that he can embrace Merkel instead: Macron couldn’t conceal his feelings of antipathy once again when Trump, with hands outreached to greet him, is snubbed with Macron’s adept sidestep toward hugging Merkel instead. But in Macron’s defense, how could you resist that bangin’ coif of Merkel?
Calling the Germans “bad, very bad”: Senile or not, sometimes there really is no excusing Trump’s complete lack of filter. Commenting on their trade surplus with the U.S., particularly pertaining to cars, Trump threatened, “See the millions of cars they sell in the U.S., terrible. We will stop this.” This, of course, on the heels of repeatedly asking Chancellor Merkel for a bilateral trade deal between the U.S. and Germany as she persists in reminding him that all agreements must be made through the EU as an entire entity. But Trump probably doesn’t know that the EU is in existence or is a package deal.
As his tour concludes in Sicily, one almost hopes the mafia cliches to be true enough to see a hit taken out on this besmirchment to politics. So yes, even though Evita’s Rainbow Tour resulted in being lukewarmly received in Rome, informed that George VI would not “receive” her and getting stones thrown at her car in Switzerland (usually so neutral), it is still not half as much of a failure as Trump’s, well, Red Tour. Red being the color of shame and scandal.