Trump’s betrayal of the white working class that propelled his 2016 victory now delivers him the deliciously rich denouement such treachery deserves
By Mark Cromer
At the end of the campaign trail in the middle of a cold November night and with only hours left before polling centers around the nation would open, Donald J. Trump stood in front of a crowd of thousands at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and in making his final plea for another four years in the White House unintentionally digressed into a rambling summation of why his reelection bid was in fact doomed.
Despite the late hour and the frigid air temperature as the disastrous year of 2020 rolled to a close, Trump still burned with all his patented self-enthusiasm—actually telling the crowd “You’re so lucky I agreed to be your President”—and blathered on about his ‘never seen before’ accomplishments as he regaled his flock with his boilerplate bravado: “We’re going to win the state of Michigan so easily.”
But as with so much of Trump: he was just fantasizing about himself out loud again.
By the time the dust had settled Michigan voters gave Joe Biden a close but clear victory, providing a margin of about 2.7-percent, a spread of about 150,000 ballots that was large enough that even if Trump had been allotted every third-party vote in the state—Libertarian, Green and Constitution Party combined—Biden would still have won and with tens of thousands of votes to spare. While thousands showed up that night in Kent County to watch Trump perform his last campaign show, Trump lost the county less than 24-hours later to Biden by a decisive 6-percent margin.
Considering that Michigan remains roughly 75-percent ‘white non-Hispanic’ (the U.S. Census Bureau has two designations for whites: ‘white’ and ‘white non-Hispanic’; which apparently is Uncle Sam’s bizarre way of saying ‘sorta white’ and ‘really white’) and since a large percentage of those are working class whites of the proverbial ‘non-college educated’ variety that had turned out to make the difference for Trump in 2016, it begs the question of what went wrong for him four years later?
That question might be best answered most effectively in just two words Trump shouted from the stage on that last night at his last rally in Michigan: ‘Little Pimp.’
That’s right, Little Pimp.
Trump rambled to the crowd: “And speaking of sound, music and other things, one of the big superstars of the world, Little Pimp [emphasis Trump’s]…and there he is!” It was classic stock Trump in the worst way, digressing mid-blather even further incomprehensibly into a rather Biden-esque jag of confused elder-speak about “sound, music and other things” before evoking a “big superstar” on the planet dubbed ‘Little Pimp’ and then summoning him to the stage in his patented carnival act-turned-political freak show.
It’s fair to say few if any among the throng surrounding Trump on the tarmac at Ford International knew virtually anything about 20-year-old Gazzy Garcia, the face-tatted rapper from Miami, Florida, whose actual nom de rhyme is ‘Lil Pump,’ not Little Pimp, and that Trump himself almost certainly had no idea of who Garcia was—only that Ivanka and Jared had insisted the president give him a shout-out from the stage at that final rally.
Garcia managed to comport himself rather well as he briefly took the stage to thank Trump and declare his support for ‘MAGA 2020’, but the introduction and the optics were indeed very instructive.
As America continues to buckle and burn in violently chaotic city centers even as it surrenders its suburban streets to a breed of nihilistic criminal now fearlessly operating in the bright light of day and at a meth-fueled pace, a president who has done absolutely nothing to stop the escalating mob terror attacks, the waves of mass arson and the convulsions of frenzied looting that have ripped across the nation as effectively as that iceberg laid open the belly of the Titanic, decided the cherry atop his last appeal for reelection was to bring a face-tatted thug onstage with him.
In spite of all of Trump’s previous bellicose buffoonery, he really did outdo himself with his beaming celebration of ‘Little Pimp.’
It’s just a wonder that Ivanka didn’t start spinning some of Garcia’s signature raps, blasting them from the speakers as Jared shouted “Ahhh, hells yeah! Grand Rapids get ya hands in the air! Playa’s in da house!” while Trump tossed off his coat, lost his belt, dropped his pants off the back of his ass in a display of prison-cum-ghetto ‘saggin’ and then prowled the edge of the stage ‘mad-doggin’ the audience and throwing gang signs as Garcia’s raps like ‘Gang Shit’ and ‘Ignorant’ swallowed the crowd in frenetic rhymes about thievery, assault, dope and, of course, the ‘bitches and ho’s’ that populate the comic book world rappers share with Trump.
For a presidency that has long since dissolved into something out of Tim Burton’s Batman, the display of ‘Little Pimp’ during Trump’s closing argument was simply another slug of his passive-aggressive contempt for the working and middle class white Americans who elected him, a final smiling middle finger in their face as he bellows that he is the law and order president before introducing a street urchin who had been expelled from multiple public school districts for violence and, in at least one case, inciting a riot at the continuation school where he had been shipped off to in a last-ditch effort to educate him on the taxpayer’s dime.
Trump’s repeated shanking of the white working class is, of course, old hat for the GOP ‘s leadership at large, as the Republican Party has spent the past four decades harnessing white voters to realize their corporate agenda and globalist aims all while delivering them a cultural death by a thousand cuts. But Trump’s latest iteration of political bait n’ switch is qualitatively more perverse than the Bush clan’s well-established history of high treason or such stalwart saboteurs as John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Mitt Romney and their current political road dogs as well as their legacy cadre of accomplices.
And that’s because Trump, during his 2016 run, spoke more directly with working white Americans and at least momentarily echoed their cultural and political concerns and desires more than any major party presidential candidate since the trifecta of good ol’ Southern Democrat George Wallace, California Republican Richard Nixon and that scholar, ink-slinger and happy renegade extraordinaire Patrick J. Buchanan, who would prove to be, educationally and philosophically speaking, something akin to best-in-class. Buchanan was born in Washington D.C. and cut his academic teeth at Georgetown University before earning a Master’s Degree in journalism at Columbia University that carried him first into the newspapers and then into the White House during the administrations of Nixon, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan.
Yet the difference between Buchanan and Trump extend far beyond the understandable baseline metric that Trump won in 2016 and Buchanan didn’t in 1992 or 1996—and the fundamental difference has proved to be demonstrably more profound than the vast intellectual chasm that separates the two men: Buchanan; the scholar, writer and nationalistic culture warrior actually ran a devout campaign authentically rooted in a call to figurative arms to save the nation, lest a literal call to arms befall America in the years ahead. Trump; the carpet-bagging shady real estate developer, reality television performer and perennial pro wrestling-grade braggadocious goon, did not utter a single major campaign vow with even a modicum of genuine sincerity or one he could backstop with any intellectual heft.
As the wasteland years of Trump’s one-term pony ride rolled off the calendar month after month and year after year the opportunities this revelation presented was not lost only on the Democrats’ core base of violently progressive cultists, who despite their professional hysteria were clearly delighted that Trump was either a buffoon or a fraud or both, for it also lit the lanterns of hope once more among neocon globalist circles like Bill Kristol and his hop along sidekicks like Jonah Goldberg—who remarked with a sigh of relief during an appearance on Conversations With Bill Kristol early in the Trump administration that he was so very thankful that Trump possessed absolutely none of the intellectual prowess or ideological conviction of Buchanan.
For all the weak impressions and in some instances political plagiarism that Trump has indulged over the past four years, it is clear he is not only no Wallace, Nixon or Buchanan but rather abundantly clear that he is a shylock relentlessly performing a schtick that proved to be the graveside ritual for the Republican Party.
Over the last critical months of the campaign Trump doubled-down on turning his back on the white working class that put him into office and went all-in on promoting issues that were virtually 180-degrees away from the platform he vowed to carry out during his 2015-2016 run for the White House. In between his boasts of being the champion of ‘criminal justice reform’ (i.e. releasing criminals back on the street) and completing that most urgent American national security interest of moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Trump dedicated much of the remaining time—which was slipping like precious sand through an hourglass—bragging how much he had accomplished for black Americans and Latino Americans while in office. Crowing over what he claimed were record low unemployment rates for black Americans and Latinos, Trump declared with his hubris that is impervious to actual facts that he had done more for black Americans than any president save perhaps, and only ‘perhaps,’ Abraham Lincoln.
He repeated that stomach-churning, nauseating delusion for the cameras on multiple occasions.
For someone who is pathologically self-absorbed, Trump has no self-awareness whatsoever, and thus he marched through the fall heralding himself and trumpeting all things Trump, and with increasing fervor his accomplishments for black and Latino Americans all while consistently assigning the vast swath of working white Americans into the ‘leftovers’ category to whom he only made vague and passing allusions.
Trump never dared utter a direct defense of white Americans as a people, he never thoroughly and effectively confronted the slew of damnable lies that they have been subjected to through a poisonous long-running narrative that paints them as tribe of racist troglodytes who are living off stolen goods when they aren’t out sport hunting black and brown Americans to pass their leisure time.
To the extent that Trump actually did improve various quality of life metrics for black Americans and Latinos and every other racial strata in the country, he is entitled to some political bragging rights—though considering it is his job he probably shouldn’t act like he did the country a favor—but his focus on black and Latino Americans to the effective exclusion of the working white Americans that put him in office indeed spelled his total political destruction.
But in the waning days of the campaign you wouldn’t have guessed that from the cadre of inner-circle sycophants-on-retainer around Trump that were dutifully beer-bonging the ideological Kool-Aid and burping fatally forth the campaign’s ‘criminal justice reform’ and ‘Platinum Plan’ talking points in a chorus for the cameras and crowds. As signs of the brewing electoral catastrophe grew with the long shadows of the fall, campaign assets like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham slipped into a state of pure hallucination, holding forth nightly that Trump was assembling a multiracial coalition that marked the dawn of a new Republican Party and heralded its emerging hegemony at the ballot box. FNC talking head Jesse Watters elaborated on that collective psychotic break by declaring that Trump was going to roll up a large enough swath of the black vote that it would carry him to a landslide not seen since Reagan’s 1984 rout of the Walter Mondale. As the protégé of Bill O’Reilly who has since blossomed into a Mini-Bill on FNC’s all-panel show The Five, Watters plays up an O’Reilly-esque schtick as he blusters, browbeats and bullies the show’s token black liberal Juan Williams.
And just as O’Reilly spent much of his final years at Fox News lost in an on-air fantasy world where he was president; shouting commands at guests and assembling armies of mercenaries in his mind (during one late-stage episode of The O’Reilly Factor he actually called for the creation of a 50,000-man army of ‘contractors’ to be deployed in Iraq once American combat troops had been withdrawn to ensure the Washington-approved government in Baghdad held on to power), Watters has carried O’Reilly’s torch of delusion as he barks into the camera such reality-defying declarations as Trump has built the wall and secured the border, Trump has ended the wars and brought the troops home, Trump has saved America’s heritage and restored safety to its streets and other feverish cries of fantasy.
Trump did it all, Watters routinely insisted with his perpetual smirk, and was simply now dedicating the final months of the fall campaign to building a powerhouse populist coalition of working white Americans allied with large blocs of the black electorate and even greater shares of the Latino vote.
Thus Ivanka and Kushner’s bringing black rappers Kanye West or ‘Lil Wayne’ into the White House to pose with Trump as he touted his mercurial accomplishments for black Americans, it must have appeared to Hannity, Ingraham and Watters to be moments on par with LBJ signing the Civil Rights Act in 1965. Undoubtedly, Candace Owens and the three other black guests who regularly appear on Fox News Channel also assured them that appearances of ‘Ye’ and ‘Weezy’ and ‘Lil Pump-Pimp’ with Trump indeed signaled a massive demographic realignment in party loyalties not seen for more than a half-century.
Meanwhile, back on planet Earth and in America during the fall of 2020, tens of millions of working white Americans were looking back upon the previous four years with the seething sense that they had been sold out and sold down the river once again. Many of those voters certainly focused their fury on the establishment GOP and bought at least partially into Trump’s widely peddled excuse that he had been stymied by Republican intramural sabotage throughout much of his presidency (in actual fact, he happily worked with the GOP leadership to kill his most fundamental campaign vows while delivering on their corporatist agenda), but still many others saw Trump’s presidency for what it had proved to be by the spring of 2018: a carnival act helmed by a garish shill that produced virtually none of the keystone pledges Trump had vowed to accomplish.
Considering the razor-thin margins of his 2016 victories across the industrial Midwest and Pennsylvania that served as the linchpin of his electoral victory, his failure to deliver for and subsequent abandonment of the white working class produced the only outcome it possibly could: political suicide. Working white Americans are the sole racial demographic that has been the electoral lifeblood of the entire GOP for the past 50-years, period. This is not a state secret or proprietary polling data. And it’s as simple as it is obvious: without the working class white vote, there is no Republican Party outside of the political fantasy leagues that Fox News Channel broadcasts. Period.
That doesn’t suggest that Trump and the GOP shouldn’t have played hard for every black and Latino and Asian vote that they could win—but to prioritize specific appeals to those racial voting blocs virtually to the exclusion of the white working class and particularly in the closing months of the campaign was and will remain what it could only be: insane.
And a mistake the Democrats would not make.
Imagine Sen. Kamala Harris out on the stump in the fall of 2020 and appearing at a rally that drew 15,000 or 20,000 fired-up supporters of the Biden/Harris ticket (more accurately: ‘Biden but really Harris’) and she held-forth from the dais at length and in explicit candor about all the positive policy initiatives that the Democratic ticket of 2020 had in store for working white Americans? Imagine Harris calling up to the stage Ted Nugent, Kid Rock or Hank Williams Jr. and in front of an audience that was overwhelmingly comprised of black Americans and Latinos and proclaiming:
“To our white brothers and sisters across America, let me just say that we hear you, we see you, we understand your concerns and we respect your rich history in our national story! We acknowledge the struggles you’ve faced and we admire your perseverance and we honor the dignity of your lives along with all others in our rich American mosaic. Let me be loud and clear about it: in a Biden/Harris administration working white America will always have a welcome seat at the table and a respected voice in the conversation of where our nation stands and where it should be heading.”
Yeah, imagine how that would have gone over.
Visualize, if you even can, the crowd’s reaction, the networks’ responses, The New York Times headlines and, naturally, the riots that would have ignited in cities across the country over just such a benign and obviously appropriate statement in today’s polluted political atmosphere. Swap out the word ‘white’ for any other racial group and that statement would be lauded. But put ‘white’ into and it is suddenly nitroglycerin to the power centers that now have decades invested into diminishing, dissolving and ultimately the disappearing of working white Americans. A Democrat of no less national stature than President Barack Obama would be met with a withering rebuke from his own party if he dared say something akin to that today in a forum for mass public consumption and absolute banishment if he persisted. Such a statement today would, in fact, be the political death knell of any Democratic hopeful during the party’s primaries, as the Democratic Party has assembled a racial polyglot of a coalition that’s held tenuously together at its joints by a single unifying sinew and one that can only last as long as there is enough visceral anti-white animus to feed it.
The GOP’s lifetime as a viable national party is coming to an end, but the Democratic coalition as currently constructed is also largely living on borrowed time.
Of course, Harris and Biden have had no shortage of things to say about white Americans, but nothing that would even remotely resemble an appeal to them, an outreach to them, a friendly or reassuring request for their consideration.
Trump’s abandonment of the only voting bloc that has kept the GOP alive for decades was seen in even greater relief just two weeks before that final campaign stop in Michigan during the second and final presidential debate on October 22, where Trump managed to contain himself in contrast to his unhinged performance in the first debate where he unraveled into a 90-minute tantrum onstage meant to prevent Biden from speaking (a terrible mistake) and keep all eyes on him.
When moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News steered the second debate into the topic of race relations in America 2020, Trump neither confronted or challenged the false but radioactive narrative that the country is brimming with racist white Americans who are the beneficiaries of a systemically racist nation that has made them inheritors of everything and earners of nothing. Trump didn’t call out this modern blood libel currently being waged against working white Americans for what it truly is: a toxic smear campaign that left unchecked much longer can only lead to the violent racial balkanization among the smoldering remnants of the American construct.
No, Trump did not defend working white America whatsoever.
Instead, Trump kept talking about—wait for it—himself. And he did so in his usual parlance of a 5th grader rolling on a sugar high.
“Well, you have to understand the first time I ever heard of ‘Black Lives Matter’ they were chanting ‘pigs in a blanket,’ talking about ‘pigs, pigs, pigs,’” Trump said. “I thought it was a terrible thing. As far as my relationships with all people, I think I have great relationships with all people. I am the least racist person in this room.”
Calling police officers ‘pigs,’ the men and women that Americans charge every day and night with keeping civil society safe from the violent miscreants that prowl as opportunistic thugs waiting for the chance to strike, is indeed an obscene yet intentional mischaracterization of what our men and women in blue do on their shifts standing a post to protect the American people.
But Trump should have nailed that fact home instead of digressing into a useless ramble about how he’s the least racist person in the room. Instead of prattling on yet again and for the millionth time about his ‘great relationships with all people,’ he should have pounced with cold, hard facts about the actual crime rate in America and how many black Americans are killed by police of any racial or ethnic stripe each year versus how many black Americans are killed each year by black criminals.
He should have, as the president, confronted narrative fiction with actual facts.
Yet in order to do so, he would have to acquaint himself with the facts, learn them and possess them for use in just such occasions. So no, Trump couldn’t challenge a false narrative with actual facts. He has none.
Instead, Trump kept talking about himself and spewed forth the policy positions that were absolutely antithetical to his campaign vows, betrayals that his daughter and son-in-law had diligently rehearsed him on: “I got criminal justice reform done, and prison reform. And Opportunity Zones! I took care of black colleges and universities. I don’t know what to say. They can say anything…it makes me sad, because I am the least racist person…I am the least racist person in this room.”
What’s actually sad is that America, on that night at least, didn’t have a sitting president who had enough command of historical and present-day facts to stand up for the record of this nation instead of retreating into pathetic bleating about his own mythology. What’s sad is America didn’t have a president onstage that night who could fearlessly but calmly describe a nation that is by virtually any meaningful metric the best place on the planet for not only black people to live—or anyone of any race, ethnicity, religion or creed—a fact not lost on the hundreds of millions of people from all corners of the globe who dream of coming here and the millions more who attempt to with or without a legal right to do so.
What’s sad is that America didn’t have a president onstage that night who was unafraid to say the obvious: all lives matter and the ongoing and organized efforts to diminish and demonize white Americans is a high-speed rail line that can only end in violent catastrophe for all Americans.
What’s sad is that America had Trump onstage that night instead of a president.
Yet from his pathetic self-promoting sellout on the debate stage to his final campaign appearance at the Michigan airport named for another one-term Republican president where he called someone he thought was a pimp onstage to bizarrely cavort with him, what did the betrayal of the white working class ultimately pay Trump in the end?
An electoral ass-whipping anchored in the loss of six states Trump almost certainly would have carried had he but delivered on his core campaign promises from Day One and focused on meaningful deeds versus a blizzard of Tweets; but Georgia, Arizona and Nevada slipped away as did the fatal electoral blows of losing Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Had Trump actually built a real wall appropriate for the task—a 60-foot-tall reinforced concrete blast barrier (that’s 60-feet above earth, but with another concrete pour 40-feet below ground to deter tunneling) topped with a garden of razor wire and observation posts every mile or so across America’s southern frontier within the first two years, he would have likely cruised to reelection. Had he insisted that the GOP controlled Congress immediately make E-Verify mandatory for all employers nationwide in order to ensure only those with a legal right to work in the United States were on the job or competing for jobs in the United States, he might well have coasted to reelection, in spite of the pandemic.
Had Trump ordered the Pentagon on January 21, 2017, to immediately and completely pull all combat troops and associated military personnel out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and likewise pull all American military forces completely out of Germany, Japan and Italy (70-years after the end of World War II) but to be careful to leave Berlin, Tokyo and Rome a handsome bill for services rendered on our way out the door, he would likely have waltzed to reelection.
Had Trump dedicated his weekends to the resurrection of Detroit, immersing himself in the ruins of what once was an American gemstone and harnessing the full spectrum of the federal government’s resources as well cajoling private enterprise to the table in an all-out, all-hands-on-deck, at-all-cost effort to restore Detroit as a one of America’s Great Cities, then perhaps he would have indeed earned a much larger share of black America’s vote—and the working white vote—than he actually did.
Instead, he chose to vamp with comic book rappers and spend almost every weekend in Mar-a-Lago golfing.
So how did Trump do among black voters in 2020?
Just how many votes exactly did all that posing with ‘Ye,’ ‘Weezy’ and ‘Lil Pimp’ earn him? Well, Trump garnered somewhere between 8% to 10% of the black vote in 2020, with a higher percentage of that vote total coming from younger black men than black women or overall black voters.
But more aptly put another way: somewhere between 90 and 92 out of every 100 black voters cast their ballots for Joe Biden.
Only in the dead-party-walking of the GOP today, as it now stands in the grave its leadership has been digging for decades, could losing 9 of every 10 voters of any racial group or bloc be considered a head-turning breakout success. Yet that in fact is what Fox News and what few other fragments of the media that reliably program Republican talking points are indeed continuing to herald Trump’s performance with black voters as: the dawn of a new multiracial day in the Grand Old Party.
In similar terms, the Republican’s down-ballot performance in 2020 was widely hailed as a stunning victory—never mind that the GOP lost the House, lost the Senate and lost the Presidency.
Strike one! Strike two! Strike three! It’s a homerun!
In California, where the political extermination of the GOP as a going concern has effectively been a done deal for the better part of two decades and its statewide seats of power almost certainly lost to the Democrats forever, the Republicans bumping their Congressional caucus from single digits out of the 52 seats the Golden State is allotted to 11 seats as of 2021 was likewise held up as a beacon of hope for the party, illuminating the way forward.
Again, that’s how delirious the GOP has become; where a score of 41 for the Democrats and 11 for the Republicans is seen as a pivotal win.
Donald J. Trump ran in 2016 as an alleged anti-politician who didn’t balk at giving voice to a vast swath of the American people and its electorate—white working Americans—and vowed to stand with them. Not against any other American, but with them. In 2016, white Americans without a college education constituted the single largest voting demographic in the United States and it remained the single largest voting demographic in the United States in 2020.
Yet almost from the day he was elected by their ballots alone, Trump broke his vow and betrayed their faith—over and over again. The white riot that rampaged through the Capitol was most surely a portent of more dire days ahead, but for every one of those politically-abused sister-wives-turned-Manson Family-girls that Trump inspired to grotesquely run amok in his name, his serial betrayals over four years inspired far many more working white Americans to either stay home on election day last November or write in a simple candidate’s initials as a succinct message for him: ‘F.U.’ (or ‘Ann Coulter’)
Analysts at the Council of Foreign Relations have determined that Trump effectively lost the election by a margin of about 60,000 votes spread across Georgia, Wisconsin and Arizona as well as Nebraska’s Second Congressional District. The margins of other formulas in Pennsylvania and Michigan were equally within an eyelash. But the real key to Trump’s loss is likely better discovered in the Brookings Institution analysis, which determined that while Trump’s overall popular vote performance in 2020 was significantly larger than it was in 2016, the overall total of white voters casting ballots for Trump dropped by 3% in 2020. It may not seem like much, but consider that if his 2016 share of the white turnout had held and Trump added a mere 1% more of it in but a handful of states—which he most surely could have done had he not proven himself a narcissistic buffoon and a totally incompetent fraud—the election would have been called on election night for Trump.
The share of the American electorate comprised of white men without a college education (the GOP and Trump’s bedrock vote) retracted by something on the order of 6% between 2016 and 2020. And despite the pandemic, the mass unemployment, the Fentanyl, the alcoholism and the suicide rate, those tens of millions of working white male voters have not all died—the media-entertainment complex’s wish-dreams aside.
And as the Pew Research Center’s analysis of the American electorate demonstrates, working white Americans without college degrees remain the single largest voting bloc in the divided and dissolving nation.
Trump simply could not return them to the polls in the numbers he so desperately needed to in order to clinch another upset victory. The vast majority of white Americans who did cast their ballots for Trump did so out of an understandable fear of what the Democratic Party has become versus any commitment or political affection at this stage for Trump.
The vast majority of white Americans who voted for Trump in 2020 felt they had no other choice—a desperation that Trump and the GOP had banked on.
But see, they did have a choice and they made it on Election Day.
By the time ‘Little Pimp’ took the stage with him in Michigan, enough working white Americans had made up their minds that the only fraud in the campaign of 2020 was Donald J. Trump. They understood to vote for him again would be more than just pointless, but rather would once more reward another bitter betrayal and result in nothing more than four more years of a freak show.
They’d rather see Biden elected president and face what comes head-on.
So on January 20, 2021, as Joseph R. Biden is duly sworn in as the rightful 46th President of the United States, working white America will at least have the satisfaction of telling Trump ‘Thanks for Nothing’ as he is shown the door and served his just desserts.